Do you ever find yourself hurrying through Scripture? Skimming to get it done, but not letting it soak in? Then wondering why you’re left feeling uninspired? It doesn’t have to be that way.

The Bible tells us that we’ll be blessed if we meditate on God’s word. What does it mean to meditate on Scripture? This practice can transform your faith and your relationship with God.

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Biblical meditation is not spooky, or a way of “emptying” our minds. It’s not just focusing on our breath, although that can sometimes be a calming and helpful practice. It’s not trying to empty our mind of thoughts. Rather, mediating on scripture means to fill our minds with truth. We’re meditating “on” something–God’s word, God’s love, the fruit of the spirit.

Christians have meditated for centuries, because it connects us with the Spirit of God. It infuses our lives with truth that enables us to live brave and confident.

Psalm 1 says if you meditate on God’s word, you’ll thrive. You’ll be like a tree planted by a stream. Imagine a tree on a riverbank that can easily draw up water through its roots. It lives in abundant provision. A regular practice of meditation will steep you in truth and love. It will keep you from walking with the wicked, or sitting with sinners. It literally redirects your life. The Bible says perfect love casts out fear. Mediating on that love will make us strong and courageous.

The Bible repeatedly tells us to “consider” God’s provision, God’s love for us, and his ways. To meditate on Scripture means we take our time, reflect and consider, let it soak in. We do not hurry or skim, but slow down and absorb.

I grew up memorizing Scripture–this practice was woven into the culture of our church. We didn’t call it meditation–but when you memorize, you repeat and consider until your mind retains the words and (hopefully) the ideas. Which is exactly the goal of meditation as well.

When we meditate, we think about and turn an idea over in our mind. We look at it from every angle. If that sounds difficult, consider: do you know how to worry? When we worry, we turn an idea over in our mind, examining our problem from every angle.

So if you can worry, you can meditate. Just turn the focus from your fears to the truth: you’re loved, you’re safe, God’s provision for you is abundant and sufficient.

Instead of filling your mind with worries, fill your mind with truth from the Bible, or a book that encourages your faith.

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Here’s how to meditate on Scripture:

  • Find a quiet space, by yourself. If you can’t find it at home, maybe take a walk.
  • Pick one short passage of Scripture or one truth about God. For example, in Jeremiah 31:3, God says: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” 
  • Repeat the truth to yourself: God loves me with an everlasting love. God’s love is everlasting. It never ends.
  • Think about what this means to your life and your specific situation. What do you need to let go of, or turn over to God?
  • Allow yourself to move from thinking to feeling–to experiencing God’s love. Simply be present.
  • Express your gratitude to God.

When you make a regular practice of meditating on the Bible, those words will sink deep. And in times of stress or need, they’ll come to mind. The truth will provide strength and courage for whatever you face.

If you’re new to the idea of meditating on Scripture, you might want to grab a copy of my book Deeply Loved: 40 Ways in 40 Days to Experience the Heart of Jesus, which explores the practice of meditation and several other spiritual practices. Another book that might be helpful is Oxygen: Deep Breathing for the Soul. 

Here’s an excerpt from Deeply Loved:

When I am feeling distant from Jesus, wondering if he truly cares, if he notices my dilemmas, the antidote is not sheer willful determination to have more faith. This only leads me to despairing guilt.

Instead, I turn to the truth of God’s promises. I fill my mind with the truth of all he’s promised me, and soon, that truth begins to create feelings of love in my heart. Redirected thoughts evoke loving feelings.

Did you get that? Our thoughts can change our feelings. We so often believe the opposite, and feel a loss of control–we cannot help our feelings. While it is true that we have feelings, and understanding and naming them is necessary and helpful work, we don’t have to let those feelings control our thoughts and our behavior. We can notice our feelings, feel them, but then decide to redirect our thoughts.

How can we do that? Today, try this Presence Practice: simply read through a chapter of the book of John (a theological biography of Jesus), and make note of the promises God makes within that single chapter. Then spend some time simply reflecting on those promises.

The Bible says that if we meditate on God’s word, we’ll flourish, like a tree planted alongside a stream. Noting the promises and reminding ourselves that they are true, and they are for us–that’s what it means to meditate on Scripture. To consider God’s truth and let is soak into our souls. To draw it into ourselves, like a tree draws in water through its roots.

Today, read John 14. Read slowly, reflectively. Expect God to speak to you through his word. What promises do you find in this chapter? Which one stands out to you? Which one soothes your soul, or shatters your doubt, or affirms your faith? Carry that word with you throughout your day.

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