In our fast-paced and busy world, we are constantly rushing from one thing to another. In this article, Priscilla shares about the spiritual discipline of Meditation and invites you to slow down and go deeper into God’s presence.
by Priscilla Chua
Meditation is an approach that combines prayer with the Scriptures. It invites you to prayerfully ponder the words and events of Scripture. This is done through finding and settling on a phrase, verse, word, or image, in which you can nest and rest. In meditation, you insert yourself in the Scriptures, reflecting on the Word. Instead of reading, questioning and dissecting the Word, you allow the Word to read, question and dissect you, and insert itself in your heart.
Meditation also leads to contemplation; a place of being near the heart of God, the source of peace, as you gaze at His face with pure delight and bathe in His love. Bernard of Clairvaus called it “an inner paradise of pleasure where vision of pure truth illuminates the eye of the heart”.
In my ten years of exploring and practising these spiritual exercises, I have been awed by His glory, humbled by His presence, comforted by His voice, and transformed by His Word. I hope you will explore and discover for yourself the pure joy of meeting God face to face.
Before the Prayer Begins
Set a time and plan for it.
Find a quiet place. Enter into the inner sanctuary of your heart.
Be alone. Be unavailable to others and fully available to God.
Find a posture that helps you to be at ease and yet attentive and reverent. Once you adopt a position in prayer, remain in that posture until the period of prayer is complete.
Stay focused when you have found the posture. Begin to relax and focus on your breathing. I find that focusing on an object is often helpful. A centering prayer “Jesus, Son of the Living God, have mercy on me, a sinner” can be used to regulate breathing.
Prepare a Scripture for Prayer. It can be taken from the lectionary, daily devotions or sermon series. Texts can also be chosen from devotional literature, religious poetry, and small portions of Spiritual classics.
Beginning the Prayer
Consider how God looks at you. Offer all your will and actions to God and ask God for the intentions, desires, and actions to be according to His will. Tell God what you wish and desire in this time of prayer and meditation.
A traditional monastic practice founded in 4th century Christianity, Lectio Divina is a spiritual exercise of Scriptural reading, meditation and prayer. The following are the four movements.
1) Lectio (15 mins) Read the Scripture passage slowly, pausing between phrases and sentences until it sits comfortably in your mind; touching your deep and holy desires. For some, reading aloud or in a whisper may be preferred. You may need to read up to five times. Let the words echo and resonate in your mind, allow meanings to sink in, associations to rise, and images to surface. When this happens, you can go into prayer and not return to the Bible. Keep your journal away.
2) Meditatio (20-30 mins) Once you have heard the “word” that seems to be meant for you, start pondering on it. Why is the word for you? Be conscious of how you are moved by whatever that touches you. What is it about your life right now that needs to hear this word? How is God catching your attention? Can you identify with the word/character? Do you have trouble identifying with them? Some examples include shepherd, sheep, branch, etc. How does the word connect with your life experiences – hopes, despairs, desires, loves, hates? What do you discover about yourself in this process? You can recall past experiences and memories. The Lord speaks in and through life experiences.