People often come to me curious about how guided Christian meditation differs from other secular and religious meditation practices used worldwide. They see the positive effect guided Christian meditation has had on my life, especially after my divorce, and want to know how it can help them improve the quality of their lives, too.
Below are 12 things you should know about guided Christian meditation.
What is Christian Meditation?
Christian Meditation is an invitation to establish an internal relationship with Christ, which allows Him to heal, transform and guide us from the inside out. Through Christ, God gives us a way to ignite more light, more love, and more life within our hearts. God is Light, and Jesus is the Light of Man. When we experience this union with our own spirit, we become powerful spiritual beings, full of light.
Jesus said, “I am the light of man. I have come to enlighten every man.” Jesus also said, “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” In other words, we experience and become aware of this light within us. This is the Christian version of enlightenment. We awaken to the presence of God and the power of Jesus right inside of us.
Christian meditation is also a practice that allows us to become continuously united, consciously connected, and able to use the Light of Christ to overcome all of our challenges. We have inner challenges that require the help of an inner light.
A daily practice of being still and surrendering our soul over and over again to God brings us a life of peace and power. Jesus taught us the importance of peaceful “abiding,” which is becoming still so that we can find our true nature.
We learn to abide in God’s Spirit of peace, and we become peaceful. We abide in God’s Spirit of power, and we become powerful. We are the same nature as God and Jesus helps us to discover and develop more of His nature.
Christian meditation is intimately merging our entire being, body, soul, and spirit with the source of all life. This transforms us and brings us out of the darkness and into an abundant new life.
1. Christian Meditation is anchored in scripture.
You might be wondering how I know about Christian meditation? I was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder following my divorce, and meditation was recommended in every book I read on the subject. Being a follower of Christ, I turned to my Bible. I tried to meditate.
I’d sit for a while (maybe five minutes) and then turn to something I knew — writing and studying Bible verses. The first one was, “Be still and know that I am God” from Psalm 46:10. Stillness with God became a goal, and for sure, I began to sense God’s Presence.
I followed the directions of Jesus: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” (Luke 11:9 NIV) I also keyed into references regarding finding The Kingdom of God. I knew as a believer in Christ that He was in my heart, so that is where I began to seek, knock, and listen.
My heart became more peaceful and less anxious. I began to be able to sit for longer periods of time, enjoying God’s love that I found inside myself. “God is Love” (1 John 4:8)
Christian meditation is doing what the scriptures encourage us to do. “But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.” (James 1-2:2)
I feel 100 percent certain that we are directed, through scripture, to be alone and go within to find God and to talk to God. This is the practice of Christian meditation and prayer, which together, in my opinion, is one of the most powerful acts we can do for ourselves and others.
2. Christian meditation needs spiritual discipline.
I prefer the word practice over discipline, but perhaps like meditation and prayer, these two words are somewhat synonymous. To reap the many rewards of Christian meditation and prayer, you must discipline yourself and make it a practice. Again and again, we return to God, and we receive an abundance of providence, care, and protection.
Christian mediation is practicing the virtues and actions of Christ. As you sit still, you are disciplining yourself to practice patience, self-control, love, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, joy, and peace on yourself. These “superpowers” of Christ are in us and can continue to develop in us.
It’s a win-win situation, except that as a beginner, you will struggle within your soul (ego) to commit to a daily practice. The good news is the more you return to God, the more you will want to return to God.
We learn that God waits inside of us to heal and purify our hearts. We begin to feel lighter and more powerful. We let go of fear. Our soul or ego is afraid to let go of control to God, but once we realize who God is, we gladly accept His love and learn to discipline ourselves to work with Him, not separate from Him.
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7)
3. Christian meditation nurtures a hunger for God.
We are born with an innate hunger for God. I am a registered dietitian, and I have seen and experienced firsthand how God can feed us, nurture us, and satisfy our cravings with His peaceful and powerful presence.
For many years, I worked in recovery centers and psychiatric hospitals and helped people whose hunger and thirst drove them to addiction, anxiety, and depression. Unfortunately, if we are unaware of who we are as humans, we can be equally unaware of what we need.
We are born with a spirit and a soul and these inner parts hunger and thirst for God’s Spirit. God satisfies our inner hunger.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6) Righteousness is one of the chief attributes of Jesus.
Christian meditation is a way to feed our body, soul, and spirit daily. Authors of the Bible suggest we live in a body, have a soul, and are a spirit. The Bible refers often to our spirit as “the lamp of man,” and “it searches our inner being.” (Proverbs 20:27)
What is it searching for? It finds darkness and places that need healing, but it is somewhat powerless to do the healing without God’s Spirit. Christ’s Light nourishes us and can purify our hearts giving us the power to heal ourselves.
“Oh God you are my God; early I will seek you, my soul thirsts for you, my flesh longs for you in a dry and thirsty land.” (Psalm 63:1-5)
When we practice Christian meditation, we are quite literally giving our body, soul, and spirit a lifeline to God. Our hunger is satisfied, and we need not look elsewhere.
4. Christian meditation fosters your trust in God’s provision.
This is one of the most amazing results of Christian meditation. We establish an unshakable faith and trust in God’s ability to provide all that we need. Especially when we combine meditation with prayer. In meditation, we are learning to listen to ourselves at the same time that we listen to God. In prayer, as we become vulnerable and share with God our struggles, confessing our weaknesses, and crying out to Him, we see firsthand how He steps in to help us.
The most beautiful thing is that we begin to trust ourselves. We learn how to listen to our inner truth, and it becomes a path to living a life of authenticity. God wants us to follow an authentic path. He made us all unique with a purpose of our own.
God’s provision is, at times, masked with challenging situations. However, we learn we can turn to Him and find peace in the middle of any storm. Being with God in stillness, we experience stability and predictability. We faithfully demonstrate our trust during Christian meditation.
God provides light for our circumstances and makes a way for us to learn how to be more like Him. Even in dark times, God’s plans are for us to prosper and to have hope.
Christian meditation provides a way for us to let go of trying to control everything. We sit and humbly ask for His help. We learn to let go and let God help us daily. We awaken to the truth that He does indeed intercede on our behalf.
5. Christian meditation improves your spiritual well-being.
Spiritual well-being is all about your spirit, your human spirit being at ease, relaxed, alert, awake, and free from distress. You’ve seen the pictures: a person who has an inner smile and happiness in their eyes. They exude a kind of unconditional love and level of peacefulness. These people seem to be free of life’s heavy burdens. Perhaps they already understand how to take care of their spirit.
Do you realize you are a spirit? Many of us either deny that we have a spirit or we don’t know how to contact our spirit. Christian meditation will give you an experience of your spirit. The formation of personal truth comes from experience. We can know this truth in our hearts, not just in our minds.
Christ is in us. His Spirit becomes merged with ours. Christian meditation offers the least path of resistance to experiencing the Spirit of God within us. This brings us a feeling of spiritual well-being.
James Finley, Christian monk and author of the book, “Christian Meditation: Experiencing the Presence of God,” writes, “In Christian meditation we awaken to the eternal oneness with God that Christ reveals and proclaims.”
Spiritual well-being comes from our spirit receiving the fullness of all that God is. His love grows in us and is perfected over time. We become more loving. Our outer lives change in such a way as to reflect these inner virtues of God growing in us. We experience more love, more peace, more power, and more joy.
6. Christian meditation helps us to obey God’s Commandments as we become intimate with the Word of God.
A friend said to me recently, “religious people do what they are told, they try hard to follow rules, but spiritual people know what’s right and do it.” A person who practices becoming more spiritual with practices such as Christian meditation, attains a level of right-action because they can listen to God’s Will at all times, and follow His wisdom and His righteousness.
In Christian meditation, we are practicing what Jesus called the first and greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Matthew 22:37) We sit, and we do this. We turn to God, and we love Him.
We open our lives to Christ, we experience a relationship with Him. Our two lives flow into one. We then experience the conscience of Christ guiding us. He teaches us how to act on His word in our daily lives.
“Trust in the Lord with all thy heart, lean not on your own understanding: in all ways acknowledge him, and he will direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
When we return daily to meditate, we can hear from the depths of our hearts when we have offended God. His conscience is at the very core of our being, and we contact this part of us in the moments of deep meditation. We know when we have broken a commandment, and we can listen to God’s Will on how to rectify our actions.
Because we love and desire to be close to God, we follow His directions, His commandments, and we make things right again, so that we receive once again the fullness of His light, love, and life.
7. Christian meditation helps us gain more insight into scriptures.
Christian meditation works best in conjunction with scriptures. Christ is known as God’s Word, and the writings of the Bible are also known as God’s Word. As we gain a deep love and understanding of Christ, we gain the ability through His Spirit to understand scripture.
Scripture is the best way to gain an understanding of God. Christian meditation promises a new level of understanding because we experience a state of oneness with Christ. And, if we know Christ, then we know God. It is the Spirit of Christ that illuminates the scripture and helps us to understand the mind of the Father.
Scripture is not always easy to understand. I think Bill Johnson in his book, “The Resting Place: Living Immersed in the Presence of God,” says it best: “None of us has a full grasp of Scripture, but we all have the Holy Spirit. He is our common denominator who will always lead us into truth. But to follow Him, we must be willing to follow off the map — to go beyond what we know. To do so successfully we must recognize His presence above all.”
Christian meditation is spending time recognizing and resting in His presence. Christ makes His home in the heart, and the heart can embrace and understand things that the mind cannot.
The mind of Christ is located in the heart. We learn to “read” all of life through the eye of our heart, and we gain insight, awareness, and a deeper understanding of God.
8. Christian meditation improves our mental health; it removes our anxiety to focus on God’s peace and faithfulness.
Anxiety is fear. Fear creates stress. Stress results in anxiety. We can get stuck in this cycle and unable to ever feel free. I call this “stuck in the soul cycle.” Christian meditation gets us out of this cycle and delivers us into the Spirit where freedom is found.
Some of our thoughts initiate anxiety or fear, then we usually react; we act to relieve the fear. This cycle repeats over and over. This is positive if there is a real threat. However, being stuck in survival mode is exhausting and can result in feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.
Christian meditation is learning to sit with the deepest, darkest, saddest, shameful, guilty, and fearful emotions and hold them in non-judgment, acceptance and love. We take the thought and or the emotion and surrender it to Christ, who waits faithfully in our hearts to heal us. These emotions become lighter.
God casts out fear. God faithfully provides a sanctuary for us and it is right in our heart. It can become a peaceful and calm place. Here, we can remember and meditate on the words of Christ:
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” (John 14:27)
A meditation practice is the complete opposite of the fear response. Meditation releases hormones that initiate a relaxation response in our body. The more we meditate, the more we understand how to attain this level of relaxation, no matter the circumstance. Our bodies become wired to stay peaceful, relaxed, and fearless.
9. Christian meditation gives us wisdom to deal with everyday situations.
Wisdom comes from the spirit. Any practice that makes the spirit stronger will result in more wisdom, including the practice of meditation. The word spirituality actually means to build the spirit. The first way to build our spirit is to connect it to Jesus.
Christian meditation is practicing allowing Christ to take over our spirit until we have His wisdom. We have all received Christ’s abilities. Christ is the wisdom of God.
We learn to have divine cooperation. As E. W. Kenyon states in his book, The Hidden Man: An Unveiling of the Subconscious Mind, “A man who has God in him will have wisdom. At every crisis of his day’s work, he has the One inside who knows all. He learns the secret of leaning back upon the One inside.”
Christian meditation is leaning in and leaning upon the One inside. When combined with meditation on the word and prayer, we awaken to a new inner power. We realize the ability we have inside of us: to connect to God’s wisdom at any time and in any circumstance.
We lean into God’s wisdom, knowing He has an answer, or when He doesn’t. We learn to wait for the words of wisdom to come.
10. Christian meditation is active engagement with scriptures.
Creating a specific place where you can meet with God and meditate actively with His Word and presence sets you up for success to do one of the most important things we can do as humans, and that is to develop our spirit.
There is more than one way to engage with scriptures so that it stays exciting and interesting. Meditation is one of them.
W. Kenyon has this to say: “You can see the necessity of your taking time to meditate, to get quiet with the Lord. You must take time to sit with His Word and let the Spirit unveil His Word to your spirit. If you will, you will know Him in reality…the most deeply spiritual men and women I know are people who have given much time to meditation.”
We can learn to meditate on a scripture, or meditate on Christ’s love, The Word of God, inside your heart. ‘O God, we meditate on your unfailing love as we worship in your Temple.’
In Christian meditation, we actively practice love, think about love, and sit in God’s love. Jesus lived in the realm of love. We develop our spirit by letting the Word of Christ dwell in us until Christ is fully formed in us.
11. Christian meditation is different from Eastern religious meditation.
One of the most obvious differences between Christian meditation and Eastern religious meditation is that Christian meditation aims to bring our body, soul, and spirit together to be united and merged with God’s Spirit, while Eastern religious mediation is primarily about the self; resting in the self, emptying the self, and focusing on the self.
I see Christian meditation as a path to increasing our spiritual power. We have a human spirit that becomes more powerful when connected to God, who is a Spirit.
I see Eastern religious meditation as a path to self improvement. Often, only the body, mind, and soul are addressed, with no focus on our spirit or the Spirit of God.
Christian meditation is about growing and strengthening our spirit, which, in turn strengthens our entire being, while Eastern religious meditation is more about strengthening the self, the soul, or the ego.
The goal of Eastern religious meditation is actually the opposite of that of Christian meditation. In Christian meditation, we are encouraged to surrender the “self” (soul, ego) to the Spirit. Often, with Eastern religious meditation practices, the focal point is the “self” (soul, ego).
In Christian meditation, we focus on God, Christ, and The Holy Spirit; the spiritual realm inside of us and around us. In doing this, we continuously become an improved version of ourselves as we receive and connect to the abilities of God.
Eastern and secular meditation focuses on the improvement of the self by becoming mindful, increasing the ability to concentrate, and letting go of incessant thoughts. While these are beneficial, Christian meditation goes beyond self improvement to spirit empowerment by becoming one with God’s Spirit.
12. Christian meditation involves practicing, personalizing, praising, and praying.
Christian Meditation is a practice. Over time, your entire inner and outer life is affected in a positive way. The way you look, talk, and act changes. You will experience better psychological, physical, and spiritual health.
Consistency in our ability to be personal, truthful, and vulnerable with Christ helps us to realize what a good relationship looks like. We establish a personal relationship based on truth and trust. When we show up for God, He shows up for us. Our trust in this relationship becomes solid as a rock.
In Christian meditation, we can learn to praise God in spirit and in truth, every day. Having a practice of thanking and praising God renews our mind and directs our thoughts towards God’s goodness. As we praise Him, we receive more goodness. God loves to be praised, and He glorifies our life when we acknowledge His work.
Praying is always a part of Christian meditation. As you sit in meditation and become surrendered to Christ’s Love and Spirit, you also connect to God, the Father. Our prayers come from our hearts directly to the heart of God. Sometimes, we are just praying from our mind to our mind. Christian meditation ensures that we are in union, spirit to Spirit, and God hears our prayers.
Christian meditation is a form of worship. We connect to God, and He sets us free. Our spirit becomes limitless and established in eternal love.
“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:24)
Tonyah Dee has studied the Bible and wisdom traditions of the world for the last 30 years and teaches about finding ways to increase inner strength, stability, and confidence through practicing spiritual disciplines and healthy habits daily. Tonyah is a nutritionist, registered dietitian (R.D.), and earned her B.S. from Loma Linda University. She also holds certifications in Christ-centered life coaching, equine therapy, and meditation. Tonyah has been published in Scary Mommy, MSN, The Mighty, Mantra Wellness, CoveyClub, Thrive Global. Follow Tonyah on her blog, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Medium.