Did you ever wonder if God listens to prayers? Pew Research Center did a study in 2016 on prayers and found out that 55% of Americans pray regularly and rely on prayer to guide them with major decisions. On the other hand, scientists have long since been trying to find proof that prayers are answered. In a study done at the San Francisco General Medical Center on cardiac patients, those who prayed suffered less and required fewer therapy treatments than the group that did not pray.
How is this important to meditation? Prayer is communicating with God while meditation is listening to God. However, you cannot listen to God unless you pray first because you have to arrive at a state of mindfulness first before you can hear a message from God. A state of mindfulness does not just happen by sitting and thinking of God. You have to respectfully and prayerfully acknowledge God. Fortunately, you don’t have to go to a church to do this. You can pray and meditate anywhere quiet where you won’t be bothered by distractions.
When you meditate to get closer to God, you usually do so because you have a question, a request, or you just want to express gratitude. Some people can meditate with a group; others do better on their own. The only way to find out is to try different environments and situations.
Here are the steps to getting closer to God:
- Start by choosing a verse in the Bible. The wonderful fact about the Bible is that you can think of a word and go straight to the end of the Bible to look it up. This will direct you to passages in the Bible that talk about that word. For example, if you want to meditate on how to find peace and happiness, look up peace and/or happiness.
- Once you have found a passage, find a quiet place where you can read and reflect on the passage. Wear comfortable clothes and take a light snack so you won’t be distracted by your clothes or your stomach.
- Start reading the passage slowly and carefully. If anything should strike you as particularly personal and you are moved, stop! Pray and ask for guidance. Go over those words again.
- If you want, you can change some of the words if it sounds like something you would say to God. For instance, “Our Father” can become “My Father” and so on.
- Say the words slowly and with deep affection for the God you are speaking to on a personal level. Take deep breathes. Say the words aloud if you feel like it. Raise your hands if you are compelled. Close your eyes when you want to paraphrase or say something from the heart.
- Then, just wait quietly. You can continue to go over key words in the passage you just read. Listen to the thoughts that enter your mind. Keep in mind that God has an evil enemy who will try to distract you and give you destructive thoughts. When something isn’t right in your head. Open your eyes and go back to the passage.
- Always end your meditation with an act of gratitude. You can say “Thank you” or “In Jesus’ name, Amen.” You want to close your meditation properly so you do not become prone to evil temptation. Meditation is opening your mind to thoughts so you need to close it properly.
If you don’t hear anything or no thought enters your mind, don’t worry. It will come with patience and diligence.