Mandisa is a Grammy winner and popular gospel singer who recently revealed that she likes to meditate. In spite of her success in the music industry, Mandisa was battling depression and thanks God for helping her through some difficult times. Part of her meditation and prayer is done with a free app called Abide, a guided Christian meditation series that can be found on Google Play and iTunes. This news could not have come at a more opportune time; a time when the reputation of meditation is suffering from very high expectations because of all the hype and marketing it gets.
Meditation per se is a tricky subject because there are over 20 different types and Christian meditation is not the most popular. In fact, Christian meditation is not trending compared to yoga, transcendental meditation, and the other types of meditation. This is another reason why many Christians hesitate to meditate.
In order to appreciate the value of Christian meditation, it is important to go back to the basics. Here are 4 key points that can rejuvenate your desire to pray and meditate.
#1 Prayer is done during meditation but meditation is not all prayer.
Christian meditation should be guided by Scripture but does not have to dwell on Scripture all the time. You can search for God’s truth and how it applies to your life during your meditation session. You can also focus on certain problems in your life and pray for divine intervention, blessing, or grace. The key is to depend on the Spirit of God to energize or reveal divine truths to you so your heart will feel unburdened and encouraged to live a Christian life.
Without Scripture, it is possible to become a victim of “meditation sickness,” very similar to what happened reportedly to Angelina Jolie and Emma Watson who suffered from anxiety and insomnia. In a study done by Brown University, 82% of the participants began to fear paranoia and fear while 42% experienced hallucinations. Meditation without God is dangerous!
#2 God should be the center of your meditation.
Christian meditation is paying attention to God over self. By doing this, you renew your mind and spirit and you are transformed. The transformation is not because of the meditation but because of the intervention of God in this exercise. Many people claim that they get revelations, or a solution to a problem; others feel motivated and stronger because of the Word of God. As long as you put God in the center of your meditation, you will experience something wonderful – a gift from God.
#3 Don’t be legalistic about meditation.
Yes, there are rules about meditation but some border on silliness. For instance, you don’t have to sit in a position that is uncomfortable for you and you don’t have to sit on the floor. You also don’t have to starve yourself before meditating or chant mantras. You should shut off your devices because they are distracting. You should also include prayer.
#4 Finally, follow the 4 guiding words: pray, personalize, praise and apply.
Listen to God. Talk to God. Think of ways you can see Scripture in your life and imagine how you can apply and practice it daily. Meditation should never be relegated to an abstract experience. Many people simply step into meditation and step out of it and back into their ways as if nothing happened – except relief for a little while. Apply it in your life and with the way you interact with others.