Hold Your Peace

May the words of my mouth
and the meditation of my heart
be pleasing to you,
O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

- Psalm 19:14


Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Meditation is a centuries old discipline practiced by both Western and Eastern belief systems. 

​Judaism, Catholicism, and Christianity all contain aspects of Western meditation. Their discplines focus on God, Jesus, or scripture verses depending upon the faith. The techniques used fill the mind with good, positive truths. Their end goal is for the practitioner to draw closer to God and recognize his presence and power in their life. God’s love and mercy are embraced and the practitioner's stress is replaced with divine joy and peace.

Eastern belief systems, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, use meditation to empty the mind. Their focus is on empowering oneself often through the use of chanting a particular word or phrase. The goal of their practitioners is to become one with God or the Universe and to direct their own situations and outcomes. Control of one's thoughts results in stress relief. 

Most people have at least a familiarity with Eastern Meditation, but Western Meditation seems to have fallen out of practice--or worse--into taboo territory for fear of dabbling in New Age practices. But meditation was regularly practiced by giants in the Jewish and Christian faiths. In fact, there are over twenty different instances in the Old and New Testaments where believers are directed and encouraged to practice meditation. 

Joshua was directed by God (Yahweh) himself to specifically meditate on the Book of the Law which in turn would prosper the new leader and bring him success. The book of Psalms is filled with references and directions to meditate--on God's word, his works, his characteristics. The Apostle Paul was a proponent of meditation, encouraging the Philippian church as a whole as well as his spiritual son, Timothy, to practice the discipline.

So, why don't we practice meditation? I personally believe there are two main reasons. First, most of us haven't been taught how. Sunday schools are fantastic for teaching about God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit as well as scripture memorization and how to pray,  but specific ways to grow one's faith are the responsibility of the individual--and rightly so. Faith is and should be personal, between one person and God. No two walks of faith will look the same although there will be similarities. The good news is, meditation is the perfect place to start developing your relationship with God!

Second, like most Christian discplines (Bible study, prayer, etc.) we don't priortize it our daily lives. Hey, I understand. There are bills to pay, a spouse to support, kids to raise. Then there's the job which can be time consuming and brain taxing. It's so much easier to come home and veg out to the latest on Netflix rather than open the Bible and think  more.  

Want to read more? ​​

Genesis 24:63

Joshua 1:8

Psalm 63:6

Psalm 77:12

Psalm 119:27

Psalm 145:5

Malachi 3:16

Philippians 4:8

I Timothy 4:15

But that doesn't mean you don't need to do it. The key is to break meditation down into managable chunks--and dedicate a few minutes of the day for it. Those few minutes can be found during your morning coffee before the kids wake up, on the commute to work, during a lunch break, or even in the quiet right before bed (although, if you're like me, I'll fall asleep before I get started if I wait until bedtime!).

Below are links to three different types of Western meditation practices. Contemplation is the simplest and can easily be practiced in the car or when you're out shopping. Reflection requires a bit more focus, so I would recommend the morning coffee time or right before bed. Word study is the most in depth of the three and will require setting aside a dedicated amount of time and brain power in order to get the most out of the practice. 

But whichever you choose, make it a priority in your life and faith walk. I promise, you'll be glad you did!