What Does Christian Meditation Look Like?

Devotion, Inspiration, Personal Development, Perspectives

What does the word meditation mean to you? Some see it as spiritually dangerous or discount it as simply not for them. In reality, meditation has deep roots in the Christian faith. Psalm 1 sets a precedent for Christians regarding meditation. Originally written as an encouragement to the children of Israel to meditate on the Word of God, this simple psalm reveals that there is life and fruitfulness to be found for those who meditate on the Word “day and night.”

Blessed is the one

who does not walk in step with the wicked

or stand in the way that sinners take

or sit in the company of mockers,

but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,

and who meditates on his law day and night.

That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,

which yields its fruit in season

and whose leaf does not wither—

whatever they do prospers.

Psalm 1:1-3

The word meditate used in this psalm is linked to mastication. This is chewing the cud—the process by which a cow eats grass in such a way as to extract all the nutrients. Perhaps it’s easier to think of it like a sucking a hard sweet rather than crunching it; if we suck the sweet, we allow all the flavors to coat our mouth and end up fully tasting the sweet. Sometimes in my daily Bible reading I can crunch my way through the text rather than stopping to meditate and absorb the full flavor of what I am reading.

Therefore, meditation is not an emptying of one’s mind, as some people fear, but a filling of one’s mind and thoughts with the Word of God. Repeating the Word of God, like the murmuring of a cooing pigeon, allows the Bible to fully permeate our senses and become embedded in our hearts. We can meditate on the Word of God by simple repetition of a biblical phrase, passage, or verse.

Another way to get a real sense of having the Bible embedded in your heart would be to practice lectio divina, which, translated from Latin, is simply “divine reading.” The early church pioneers practiced this as a way of getting into the text and allowing the text to get into them. This helpful ancient practice is about reading Scripture in order to encounter God. It is not really about the sort of deep theological exploration and dissection of the biblical text that you might carry out for a Bible study.

There are four movements to lectio divina: Read, Meditate, Pray, and Act. Enter into this time through the gateway of Psalm 46:10, which we talked about in the first chapter: “Be still, and know that I am God.”

1. Read.

Read the passage in a slow and measured way. Read it more than once, maybe three or four times. Try to get a sense of what is happening and who is speaking. Take your time.

2. Meditate.

Think about it, allowing the flavor of the text to seep out. Don’t try to insert too much meaning at first; mull it over and see what God draws to the surface. Approach this prayerfully, asking the Holy Spirit to be with you, trusting that illumination will come. Don’t rush it. Ponder, weigh, consider.

3. Pray.

You’ve allowed God to speak to you through the text; now it’s your turn to speak to him. Have a simple conversation with him about what you have just read: Explain how it made you feel, what you noticed as you read.

4. Act.

Identify how you might need to respond. Sometimes this will be a specific action to take; sometimes it might be a shift in attitude or behavioral pattern that needs to be addressed; sometimes it will simply be a reassurance to continue on a path you’ve already decided to follow.

This is a simple way to approach the Bible and will help in hiding God’s Word in your heart. Lectio 365 is an app developed by 24–7 Prayer, which is designed to help people go on this journey with Scripture every day. We use the acronym PRAY for this, which is incredibly similar to the process above: Pause, Reflect, Ask, Yield. I highly recommend it.

Memorizing and meditating sit very well together and often blend into one another. As we memorize Scripture, we meditate on it. And as we meditate on Scripture, we memorize it. Here are some simple steps to get started.

• Pick a Bible verse to memorize this week at the beginning of the day; see if you can remember it in the evening—rewarding yourself with sweets is optional!

• Write a Bible phrase, passage, or verse on a Post-it Note and stick it somewhere where you will see it several times during the course of your day: on your phone or computer screen, on the bathroom mirror, on the fridge door, in your car—anywhere prominent. Each time you see it, take a moment to meditate on it.

• Set aside thirty minutes of one of your quiet times this week to practice lectio divina as described above.

• Our 24–7 Prayer staff team exchange “verses of the week” in our meeting every Friday. Find someone else that you can do this with—either digitally or in person. It really is just as simple as asking each other “What was your verse of the week?”


Brian Heasley serves as 24-7 Prayer’s International Prayer Director, traveling extensively around the globe inspiring and teaching on prayer and mission. He is a global ambassador for Thy Kingdom Come, an initiative of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is also a trustee of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a charity working in the area of freedom of religious belief.

Brian and his wife, Tracy, are long-term trailblazers within the 24-7 Prayer movement with years of experience in local church and pioneer missions. Their service with 24-7 Prayer included the party area of Ibiza, Spain, where they lived for eight years. They are passionate about prayer, mission, and justice and have a heart for leading in a sustainable, life-giving way, rooted in a rhythm of devotional and prayerful responsiveness. They have been married for over twenty-seven years and have two adult sons.

Adapted from Be Still by Brian Heasley. Copyright © 2023. Used by permission of NavPress. All rights reserved. Represented by Tyndale House Publishers, a Division of Tyndale House Ministries. 


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