When I heard the word “meditation” I used to think of a bald monk, dressed in an orange robe, sitting alone at the peak of a mountain endlessly repeating a deep guttural OM. Now I know that there is some great word association taking place here, but this isn’t the correct way to think about meditation.
When the Bible talks about meditation, there is a practice being referenced that does not require special garments or strange sounds to be repeated. In all reality, the good news is that Biblical meditation is not an ancient secret hidden for only the hyper-spiritual – you can begin to meditate on God’s word today!
The Hebrew word used for meditation means to murmur, think, ponder, imagine, talk, and study. Notice that there is nothing strange in that list. There’s no need to pay a guru to guide you into enlightenment. The original Biblical definition for meditation demystifies what the Bible is calling us to and actually gives us an invitation to knowing God more intimately.
The trouble is that in our busy world it can feel like a chore or a challenge to actually put Biblical meditation into practice. As a society, we are overworked, sleep-deprived, and taking time to slow down is not viewed as a beneficial practice. Why then would we want to take time out of our day to think, ponder, and murmur God’s word? Simply put, the Bible tells us to!
In the book of Joshua, it reads, “This Book of the Law [The Bible] shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” (Joshua 1:8)
God promises prosperity and success through Biblical meditation and obedience to His word. That alone should be the sole reason we want to meditate every day and every night!
Here are a few practical ways you can meditate on God’s word in our busy world.
Memorize Bible Verses
Memorizing Bible verses is a great way to get the promises of God into your heart. Think of yourself like a sponge – whatever is inside of you is going to come out when you are squeezed. When the pressures of life begin to build, something is going to come out. For me, this usually looks like anxiety, worry, and anger. However, when I have Bible verses memorized they seem to rise up within me during pressing times and bring me great relief, comfort, joy, and victory.
Don’t believe the lie that you cannot memorize Bible verses. You can and I’ll prove it. What is your address? Your phone number? The first place you worked? If you can memorize these things, you can memorize God’s word.
Engage with God’s Word Day and Night
First off, I would highly recommend reading the Bible every morning and every night. It is a wonderful thing to start off your day with God’s word, and also to end the day with His word. There are many great ways to read and study the Bible, but when I read the Bible I have a particular way I like to do it.
I had a season of my life where I felt burnt out and overwhelmed by reading plans. I wasn’t reading my Bible every day. Or every week for that matter. Then one morning I felt like reading John. I opened up to John 1 and began to read. Then I felt like God had told me to stop after the first verse. I had only read 17 words and I stopped – to be honest, I wasn’t even sure if this was allowed! I felt a similar impression from God, but this time to re-read the verse. So I did.
It was as if the words I read took on a new meaning. Suddenly I was overwhelmed with thoughts and emotions about what I had just read. Again, I felt God speaking to me. This time He told me to simply “Engage His word.” So I did. I highlighted words, underlined, circled them, wrote questions, and began to write all my thoughts down about what I just read. It was as if I had this stream of consciousness flowing from the deepest wells within me through my pen and onto the page.
I have continued this practice since that day, and it has continually been a source of joy and strength and has radically drawn me closer to God.
Here are the four steps I use whenever I read the word:
- Highlight and Underline
Listen to Podcasts
Podcasts are a great way to passively take in information. I have a long list of podcasts I listen to on a regular basis. I find that the act of listening to people reading and talking about the word of God stimulates my curiosity for the more of God. I begin to think more about Him. I begin to dream of moves of the Holy Spirit more. All in all, podcasts are another medium wherein I put Him at the forefront of my thought life.
The best part about podcasts is that they are free and you can listen to them anytime. Whether I am doing the dishes, working on a new project, or anything else in-between, I know that I can listen to a podcast. There are many great podcasts on many different subjects, but here are my favorites for meditating on God’s word.
- The Bible Project Podcast
- Pastor Jerry Dirmann’s Audio Podcast
- Renewing Your Mind with R.C. Sproul
- Brilliant Perspectives with Graham Cooke
- Encounter Podcast with David Diga Hernandez
Whatever you do, make it a priority to meditate on God’s word. When we take the time to meditate, His word saturates us to the core. His Spirit permeates the very fibers of our being. This is why the Apostle Paul wrote, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16). His word needs to be our daily desire. We need to be passionate about studying and applying His word to our lives. Never let the busyness of this world keep you from passionately pursuing all the He has for you!