The very word meditation can become a hindrance for people when it comes to prayer. Popular cultural images of Eastern meditation with participants sitting cross legged on the floor come to mind. “If that is meditation it’s not for me” is a natural reaction. But that is not what biblical meditation is all about. Meditation was something God’s people were instructed to do. Joshua instructs the nation…
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8)
The word Joshua uses for meditation in this passage literally means “to mutter” or “to muse.” It means giving attention to the Word of God, pondering it, chewing it over and thinking about how the Scripture can apply to our lives. It has been said that if you can worry about something then you can meditate. Worry happens because we continue to think about a situation over and over. Meditation works in the same way. We think about God over and over. Worry does not get us anywhere. Meditation, on the other hand, with a solidly biblical foundation is the best thinking in which we can engage.
Meditation slows us down and forces us to linger over Scripture. In our fast paced society this is not easy to do but the rewards are great. Just as meat that has been marinated for a long time has the flavor of the marinade throughout it meditation in God’s Word allows us to be marinated in that Word. It draws us deeper into God’s Word, which in turn draws us deeper into our relationship with God. As we draw closer to the Lord our prayer lives will reflect that closeness.
As a result, our prayers become more focused and more in line with God’s will and we find that the Scripture is more available to us because we have spent the time soaking in it. So as Paul encouraged the believers in Philippi:
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Philippians 4:8).