The Hebrew word translated “meditate” speaks of what a cow does after grazing all day. As she chews the cud over and over again, she extracts every nutrient. In other words, to meditate means to ponder a section of the Word, day and night, extracting more from its inexhaustible supply each time (Jon Cursor).
People sometimes meld together prayer and meditation as if they are one and the same thing. While they do work together, they are distinctly different. Prayer is a conversation with God. In any healthy relationship, proper communication is key. Prayer nurtures our relationship with God, it honors God in its reliance on Him and it connects with God in a personal way.
Meditation requires further contemplation. It seeks to know more the mind of God so that we might follow our calling to be, “United in the same mind and the same judgement” with Him (1 Corinthians 1:10). Though we could never know completely the mind of God, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9), still we are called to meditate on what He is telling us through His Word and Spirit.
The Psalmist says in Psalm 19:14, “Let the Words of My mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Meditation on God’s Word is a form of worship. It seeks to honor God by extracting meaning from what He has given us. It requires one to step back and envision God’s will for us based on what we have read, learned and experienced.
It requires a concentration on God’s ways and on the direction we have received from Him through law and Gospel, “I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on Your ways” (Psalm 110:15). It seeks to please God in its dedication, “May my meditation be pleasing to Him, for I rejoice in the Lord” (Psalm 104:34). And it is an expression of love in its discipline, “Oh how I love your law! It is my meditation all the day” (Psalm 119:97).
To be in one mind and spirit with each other as Christians, we must be in one mind and spirit with Christ. Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29-30). To do that, we must take the time through study and prayer to understand all that He wants us to know, so that we might better serve Him and our fellow man.
Meditation takes a special discipline that can only be strengthened by the work of the Holy Spirit within us. It takes a willingness to go the extra mile to better understand our place in God’s plan. Eventually we learn to exchange our thinking for God’s and for that process.
Done in faith, meditation can also be a great source of peace to those with troubled hearts. Meditation allows you in your prayers not just to think of the words but to grasp the importance of them. It helps one to take a deep breath in the realization that God is hearing every expression, taking action upon them as He has promised according to His will.
Too often we say our prayers without allowing ourselves the gift to meditate on their meaning. We forfeit the time it takes to consider all that God will do in return because we feel the need to rush through them to grab a few more minutes of sleep or get on to the next project.
In your daily life, take advantage of the ability to meditate. Don’t just read or listen to God’s Word, take the time to drink in its meaning. Don’t hurry through your prayers, allow God to speak to you through His Spirit as you meditate on His response.
Life is rushed enough. Give yourself some peace through meditation. Strengthen your relationship with the Savior and take a deep breath. God wants a deeper and more meaningful relationship with you. Meditation will help you begin that journey. Please pray with me:
Heavenly Father, thank you for giving us the ability to take a step back and meditate on all your wonders and on all the ways you work within us to bring us to completion. Strengthen our faith and slow down our lives enough to take time to know you better. Amen.