Life is full of stressors. From work pressures to family challenges, personal anxieties, and life changes, the list of things that cause stress can feel endless. While we often hear suggestions for managing these stressors, it can be hard to put them into place. Often, these things feel like one more thing to add to an overwhelming list.

Instead of focusing on a big list of things to change, you can start with one thing. Simply start small. You don’t need to make sweeping changes all at once. Those often don’t work because they are too difficult to maintain. Instead, you can choose one thing and implement it slowly. The results may not be immediate, but they are more likely to last.

Meditation is a great skill to begin introducing into your life to manage and reduce the effects of stress. Meditation is a way to “be still and know that I am God” (Ps. 46:10).

What is meditation?

There are a lot of misconceptions about meditation. Upon hearing the word meditation, people have preconceived notions about what it is without having any personal experience or education about it.

The simplest concept of meditation is a settling of the mind. While meditation can involve deeper ideas like awareness, mindfulness, training, perspective, and clarity, all these ideas go back to the root concept of intentionally settling one’s mind.

Does meditation align with Christian beliefs?

Meditation is used in many cultures and religions. This has sometimes caused people to be concerned about Christians using meditation. When people consider how a different culture or faith tradition uses meditation, it may not align with Christian beliefs.

However, when we take the definition of meditation described above and use it in a context that applies to being a Christ-follower, we discover that it supports our faith. “Meditation has been a part of the Christian tradition since its origin. We can also recall countless moments in the Old Testament in which the faithful spent time in silent, intentional prayer to grow closer to God.” (Abby Fredrickson)

For example, if you think about meditation and picture someone sitting before a statue chanting, it may not seem like it is a biblical practice. However, if you think about meditation as an opportunity to slow down, embrace peace, and be still in God’s presence, meditation is congruent with our faith.

Believing that meditation is only for other faith groups robs believers of the mental, spiritual, and physical benefits of incorporating meditation into their lives. Returning to the Word, we are reminded that meditation is an important faith-building practice.

“I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago. I will consider all your works and meditate on all your mighty deeds.” Your ways, God, are holy. What god is as great as our God? – Psalm 77:11-13, NIV

When we use meditation to settle our minds and focus instead on God’s Word, God’s promises, prayer, and the Holy Spirit in us, we experience the full benefits of meditation.

How Christian meditation differs from other forms of meditation

Some forms of meditation focus on different ideas than Christian meditation. If the core concept of meditation is settling one’s mind, non-Christian meditation emphasizes doing so by discovering peace or quiet within the self.

Christian faith-based meditation focuses on what is true in God’s Word and our relationship with Him.

Common practices in secular meditation include:

  • Mindfulness.
  • Awareness.
  • Focus.
  • Breathing.
  • Release/relaxation.
  • Gratitude.

Each of these practices can be used in a faith-based, God-seeking way. Additional practices in Christian meditation that can be used in conjunction with or in addition to those listed above:

  • Prayer.
  • Breath prayers.
  • Scripture reading.
  • Scripture memorization.
  • Focus on the promises of God.

Combining these concepts allows believers to meditate on God, developing a deeper relationship with Him as they do. Meditation is a way to put into practice what is written in Colossians: “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (Colossians 3:1-2, NIV).

Meditation is one way you can set your heart and mind on things above as Paul describes. In a Christian’s life, meditation can be how you fix your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2, NIV).

How to practice Christian meditation

Practicing Christian meditation does not need to be complicated. After all, meditation is a settling, not a complication. Here are some simple ways to try meditating.

Focus meditation

The goal of focus meditation is to shift your focus from yourself, your life, and your stress to God.

  1. Try to get comfortable, whatever this means, in your current situation. You don’t need to be lying down or even sitting. Consider comfort as relaxing in your body.
  2. Set a timer. Try starting with a minute or two.
  3. Focus on God and your relationship with Him. Think about what you know to be true about God. If you are unsure, simply pray His name: “Oh God . . . Oh Lord . . . dear Jesus . . .” If you think about something else, notice the other thought without judgment toward yourself, and go right back to focusing on God.

Scripture meditation

A Scripture meditation aims to consider a verse and allow the living Word of God to work in your heart and mind.

  • Choose a verse. Don’t make this complicated. Choose a verse from the Bible for meditation. You do not have to have it memorized. Some great verses to start with are Isaiah 41:10, John 3:16-17, 1 Peter 5:7, Matthew 6:26-27, and Proverbs 3:5-6.
  • Read the verse silently. Think about what it means in the story of God. Think about how it applies to your life and what God shows you.
  • Read the verse out loud. Notice how you feel saying these words and declaring the truth and promises of God.
  • Read the verse silently again. Let the words go deeper into your mind and heart.
  • Thank God for His Word.

Breath prayer meditation

The goal of a breath prayer meditation is to connect your body with the promises of God and your relationship with Him.

  1. Choose a simple phrase or scripture about God and His promises. This could be part of a verse or a simple phrase. Some good options are: “Jesus loves me,” “Be still and know that I am God,” or “I belong to God; He lives within me.”
  2. Get comfortable and close your eyes. You can be anywhere, but pause to close your eyes and feel as calm as you can in your body.
  3. Breathe in slowly through your nose while thinking about the first part of the phrase, such as “Jesus.” Be sure to breathe slowly and deeply, allowing your lungs to fill and your belly to expand.
  4. Pause and hold your breath for one to two seconds.
  5. Slowly release your breath through your mouth as you think about the second part of the phrase (i.e. – “loves me.” ) Release all the air from your lungs, allowing your shoulders to drop and your face to relax.
  6. Repeat steps 3 through 5 two more times.
  7. Open your eyes and notice how you feel.
  8. Articulate your love and gratitude for this experience with Him and His Word.

As you begin practicing meditation, give yourself the grace to learn and explore all God has for you.

The benefits of meditation for a Christian

Meditation benefits anyone, especially if you are experiencing stress, and the benefits go beyond a few minutes of meditation each day.

Meditation can give you a sense of calm, peace, and balance that can benefit both your emotional well-being and your overall health. You can also use it to relax and cope with stress by refocusing your attention on something calming. Meditation can help you learn to stay centered and keep inner peace. And these benefits don’t end when your meditation session ends. Meditation can help carry you more calmly through your day. – Mayo Clinic

Incorporating faith-filled meditation in your life regularly can foster physical, emotional, and spiritual wellness.

If you would like help learning more about how to handle the stress in your life, I can help you learn how to incorporate Christian meditation into your life. It will foster greater and deeper peace as you deepen your experience of God and His Word.

Fredrickson, Abby. “How to Pray Christian Meditation.” Clinic Staff. “Meditation: A Simple, Fast Way to Reduce Stress.”


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