When we think of meditation, we may think of many things. Yoga. New Age. Chants. Perhaps even nothingness. Many Christians might be turned off by meditation, because of these things. And it is too bad, because meditation is perhaps one of the oldest spiritual practices of reading Scripture as recorded in the Bible.
Psalm 1:1-3 says,
Blessed is the one…
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.
(NIV, emphasis mine)
Throughout the psalms, the psalmists meditate. They meditate on God, his love, his work, his ways – all found in the Word.
“Meditation is a long, ardent gaze at God, his work and his Word.”
Out of the practice of meditation in God’s word comes:
- greater understanding of who God is,
- greater peace in his presence,
- an ability to calm oneself and focus on God’s word
- an ability to hear God’s voice and the Holy Spirit’s movement in Scripture.
Through dwelling in God’s word this way, we can begin to grasp, as Paul wished for all Christians, “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.” (Eph 3:18)
In my opinion, meditation is both the simplest and most difficult Scripture practice.
It is simple because we are not focused on quantity. Instead of reading chapters or books of the Bible, we might focus on one verse. We might read the same passage multiple times for days, weeks, or months all the while focusing in on the One who inspired it.
But it is difficult, because we are not used to sitting and focusing on one thing. We produce. We achieve. We are distracted and our heads are loud with all the other things going on in our world that we cannot stop.
This is an invitation to be still. To gaze on God by dwelling on his Word.
Here are some ways you can practice Bible Meditation:
Always begin with a simple prayer, like this: God, I desire to focus on you. To hear from your Word. To learn from You. Thank you for being with me. Please give me eyes to see and ears to hear what you have for me.
- Get a verse a day app. Or have a verse emailed to you each day by signing up at biblegateway.com. Before you read the daily verse, take a deep breath and quiet yourself. Bring your awareness to God and His presence with you. As you read, notice, what one word stands out to you? Read it again. Why did that word stand out? What does it say about God, you, or the world? Sit in that.
- Write it down. Perhaps begin with reading the Psalms and write down a verse that stands out to you. The practice of writing will slow down our minds as we focus on each letter, each word that God speaks. Place that Scripture in a prominent place where you can continue to focus on it as you go throughout your day.
- Memorize it. Is there a verse that is meaningful to you? Commit it to memory. Carry it with you and pull it out when you have a spare moment. Or tape it to your computer screen, refrigerator, or another prominent place where you can repeat it over and over to yourself.
If you are distracted while meditating on the Word, don’t be discouraged. This is new. Simply state your intention to God to focus in on Him through His word. If you need to, keep a notepad to write down a pressing to-do that you can pick up when you’re done, but for the time set aside.
While simple, the result of meditation can be profound. Psalm 1 compares one who meditates to a tree planted next to streams of water which flourishes because of unending nourishment. In the same way, those that meditate on the words of God are rooted and established in him.
 Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, Spiritual Disciplines Handbook (Downers Grove, IL: IVP 2005), 172.