The Bible instructs us to meditate on the Word of God — it does so at least 20 times, in fact. Meditating and ruminating on the Word of God brings us closer to understanding the truth in the scripture. But prayer and meditation, while closely related, aren’t the same — so what is a meditative prayer?
Meditative Prayer Explained
I found the introductory paragraph of this article quite impressive at succinctly summarising the difference between scripture, meditation, and prayer. To paraphrase:
God speaks to us through Scripture, we speak to God through prayer, and meditation helps us to be more receptive to the former and better prepared for the latter.
Meditative prayer combines the preparatory nature of meditation with the communication with God of prayer. We think deeply on a specific passage or Word of God as a means of prayer. You may even split the session, wherein you meditate intensely, then finish off with a prayer.
This, of course, can be easier said than done. There are many ways to perform a meditative prayer, but here are two I find personally rewarding.
The first method can be done in any quiet place you find:
- Find a passage you are keen to meditate on.
- Read it several times — at least three — so that the words truly sink in.
- Meditate on what you are reading. Focus on it.
- Either continue reading or set the book aside and continue to repeat the passage. You can do this internally, in your thoughts, or out loud. Either way, the words, and their meaning are the only thing on your mind. Let other thoughts or distractions pass you by; pay them no mind.
- Write down any good thoughts and meanings you encountered.
- Thank God.
This is a simple method, using very traditional meditative techniques of extreme focus and clarity of mind.
Another method I find particularly enlightening is outlined in this article by the International House of Prayer. I’ll paraphrase it here for convenience.
- Read a verse several times, paying close attention to key phrases and words. Note specific words and their emphasis, how this affects the verse’s meaning.
- Write the verse repeatedly. Keep the Bible closed so as not to get distracted by other words. Writing the verse from memory will help to focus you on the words themselves and their meaning.
- Say the verse loud enough for you to hear. Repeat it as a mantra. Find the emphasis of different words and how they make you feel.
- Sing the verse! Song is one of the greatest gifts bestowed upon mankind, and singing activates different parts of our brain and spirit to our spoken words.
- Finally, pray the verse. When you repeat a verse with faith and conviction, you are speaking to God — and as I pointed out at the beginning, to speak to God is to pray.
Meditation is all about focusing our thoughts and achieving a state of inner clarity. When we meditate on the Word of God, we achieve greater insight into the meaning of the scripture and a better connection to God and His love.
In our busy lives, it can be easy to lose sight of our faith and our understanding of the Word. A meditative prayer helps us to regain lost insight, renew our faith, and reaffirm our belief. Through meditation, we can talk to God more effectively and at a deeper level than we ever thought possible.
Now that you know what is a meditative prayer, try it out. Just 30 minutes from your day can bring you closer to God than ever before.