Millions of you make New Year’s resolutions every year – and you should. Unfortunately, the vast majority will not follow through on them. Some of you committed to losing weight, exercising more or eating a more nutritious and less toxic diet. Others resolved to worry less, spend more time with your family or get out of debt. Some of you need healing – physically and emotionally. Here is something extremely helpful that has both Biblical and scientific credibility. As a doctor and a Christian, I want to give you the facts about Christian meditation.
What Is Christian Meditation?
The word meditation appears at least 20 times in the Bible, but is implied many more times. Scripture tells us to meditate on God’s law, God’s promises, God’s mighty deeds, etc. The Psalmist asks, “May my meditation be pleasing to him.” Isaiah says to God, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you.” Meditation is actually a time tested method of entering into God’s healing and peaceful presence. I use the term meditation because of its growing use in the medical community. Like anything beneficial, it can be misunderstood and misused. Here are the basics from a medical and Christian perspective.
A growing body of scientific research supports the health benefits of meditation. Millions of doctors are recommending it to their patients. People who practice regularly are less stressed, heal more quickly and are often healthier and happier than those who don’t. Jesus talked often about letting go of all the things that hurt us physically, emotionally and spiritually. Meditation is simply a way to let go of all the things that keep you from being healthy, reaching your goals and enjoying God’s presence.
How to Mediate
The Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God.” In another place, it says again, “Be still (or rest) before the Lord and wait patiently for him.” Meditation is about being still – calmly observing the thoughts and emotions that arise in your mind and then calmly letting them go – without judging, analyzing or struggling with them. After some practice, you will learn to reach a place of deep stillness in which God’s presence can be felt and your body can de-stress, heal and strengthen.
Most of us are so stressed, it’s difficult to stop all the chatter in our constantly racing minds and to just sit or lie down in God’s peaceful presence. To accomplish this, many will find it helpful to focus on something particular like their breathing. Others may repeat a favorite Bible verse or the Lord’s Prayer over and over again until the mind is still. Finally, some in need of healing may visualize their body letting go of disease, bad habits, pain and fear. Whatever method you choose, the goal is to simply be still physically and mentally for at least 20 minutes every day – letting go of past hurts and future worries so you can be fully present here and now…accepting and being grateful for the life God has given you.
Regardless of what term you use – prayer, quiet time, contemplation, mindfulness or meditation – you need to be still in God’s presence for a little while every day. Those in need of healing will benefit from 20 minutes twice a day. A daily quiet time before God will dramatically improve your health and your mood. It will also help you reach and maintain your New Year’s resolutions.
“The Lord is my shepherd…He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me beside still waters…he restores my soul.”
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