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Posts tagged ‘Meditation’

Can You Hear HIM?

SOURCE:  American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC)/Tim Clinton

“The holy and most glorious God invites us to come to Him, to converse with Him, to ask from Him such things as we need, and to experience what a blessing there is in fellowship with Him.” -Andrew Murray

Conversations with my kids. One of the highlights of every day. Sometimes it is “guy talk” with Zach over dinner, in the gym, or on the way to school. He rarely gets out of the vehicle without a quick prayer spoken over him, followed by a “love you dad” thrown over his shoulder.

Megan and I talk and text every day. Granted, it is often a short phone conversation as she is studying for a college exam, or working on a class project. Usually she calls just to hear me tell her I love her. But even those few minutes are sweet precious moments of joy poured directly into my heart.

I simply cannot imagine going days or weeks without connecting with my children.

God desires no less with His children, which we are — “But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God.”John 1:12 ESV

What’s interesting is that in the English Standard Version of the Bible, the phrase,“The Lord said” is used nearly 300 times. Add to that the similar wording, “The Lord spoke” and the number goes to almost 500.

I believe God wants us to know Him and to be in touch with His ways. Personally. Intimately.

Of course He speaks to us first and foremost through His Word. The Bible is the eternal, unchanging love letter given to us by our Heavenly Father “All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness…” 2 Timothy 3:16 ESV

The Hebrew writer declared “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two—edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 ESV

It is interesting that God didn’t just speak to “special people”. He even spoke to everyday broken people like Hagar (Genesis 16) and Ananias (Acts 9).

In Jonah 2:10, God even spoke to a fish!!

Consider the following verses:

“Morning by morning He awakens; He awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.” Isaiah 50:4 ESV

Today, if you hear His voice…” Psalm 95:7 ESV

“I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me…and they will listen to my voice.” John 10:14-16 ESV

God is speaking. Can you hear Him? Maybe His voice is drowned out by the noise of what really doesn’t matter. Are we so busy asking for our “needs” that we fail to hear “I love you” spoken by God?

God connects with us through His Holy Spirit. Romans 8:16 ESV reminds us that “The spirit Himself bears witness with our spirits that we are children of God…”

Jesus reassured us that the Holy Spirit would come to be our “helper” and to “teach us all things.” John 14:26 ESV

He often also pours into us through other Christians — “that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel for which I am an ambassador…” Ephesians 6:19-20 ESV

Get someplace alone and quiet with God. Meditate on His Word and pray. Let Him speak to your heart. Come to Him with a spirit of expectation. Let Him fill you with His grace and truth.

Listen to the Spirit call. Surround yourself with others who are apt to teach you the Holy Scriptures and the things of God.

It will turn your life around.

Breath Prayers from the Bible

SOURCE:  Bill Gaultiere

[Also, see the post:  Breath Prayers: Constant Spiritual “Oxygen”]

I have found it very helpful to use beloved Bible verses as short Breath Prayers. Breathing slow and deep as you meditate on a verse of Scripture can be a special way of Abiding in Prayer that God uses to restore our souls in his peace. It has helped many people I counsel or mentor to draw closer to Christ and to overcome worry, fear, low self-esteem, or anger.

To meditate deeply on Scripture is to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16). We take God’s Word from our mind down, down, down into our heart so that our will is formed by it. Breath Prayer meditations on Scripture help us to be as the branch that abides in the Christ-Vine to bear fruit (John 15:1-7).

A Breath Prayer rhythm is simple: Breathe in slow and deep and hold your breath… Exhale. Why focus on your breathing? Because you’re using your body to engage your mind and heart, letting your breathing be an expression of prayer: Breathe in as you receive God’s peace… Let go of your stress. Breathe in as you appreciate God’s love… Share it with others. 

Here are some of my favorite Breath Prayers from the Bible (all verses are NIV unless indicated otherwise):

  • Be Still: “Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10).
  • Submitting to God:  “Father… into your hands I commit my spirit” (Psalm 31:5 & Luke 23:46).
  • Listening: “Speak Lord… for your servant hears” (1 Samuel 3:9 & 10, NKJV).
  • Psalm 23: “The Lord is my Shepherd… I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1, KJV).
  • Joining Mary’s Prayer: “Let it be to me… according to your word” (Luke 1:38, NKJV).
  • Centering on Jesus:  “Jesus… be the center” (Based on Matthew 17:6, MSG, and Matthew 21:9, NLT).
  • Living for Christ Alone: “To live is Christ… and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21, KJV).
  • Resting in Christ Alone: “In Christ alone my soul finds rest… Selah” (inspired by Psalm 62:1, 5).
  • The Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father… Hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9, KJV).
  • Kingdom Prayer: “O Lord… I want to live in your kingdom, by your power, and for your glory” (based on Matthew 6:13).
  • Prayer to Abba: “Abba, I belong to you…” (Brennan Manning’s prayer based on Romans 8:15).
  • Humility: “In Christ’s humility… consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
  • Peace: “Peace… Be still” (Mark 4:39, KJV).
  • Selah: “Se… lah” (71 times in the Psalms).
  • Love: “His love… endures forever” (26 times in Psalm 136, 41 times in the Bible).
  • Life in the Spirit: “Live by the Spirit… Keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
  • Just a Breath: “My life is a breath… Selah // I am a breath… Selah // My life is God’s breath… Selah // I am God’s breath… Selah” (inspired by Psalm 39:5, 11).

GOSPEL MEDITATION: Meeting Jesus In The Gospels

(Excerpted from The Gift Of Being Yourself by David G. Benner [37-41])

The starting point for learning to simply spend time with God is learning to do this with Jesus.  Spending time with Jesus allows us to ground our God-knowing in the concrete events of a concrete life.  We do this by means of Spirit-guided meditation on the Gospels.  Sometimes our relationship with God is based more on what we believe and know than on what we experience.  We have lots of information about God, but we must long to deepen our personal knowing and experiencing of Him.

Gospel Meditation provides an opportunity to enter specific moments in Jesus’ life and thereby share his experience.  Shared experience is the core of any friendship.  And Spirit-guided meditation on the life of Jesus provides the possibility.  This meditation is not the same as Bible study.  It is more an exercise of the imagination than of the intellect.  It involves allowing the Spirit of God to help you imaginatively enter an event in the life of Christ as presented in the Gospels.

1.  Take a moment to quiet yourself in God’s presence.

2.  Close your eyes and ask God to take the words of Scripture and, by the power of his Spirit, make them God’s Word to you.

3.  Ask the Lord for the gift of a few moments of Spirit-guided imaginative encounter with Jesus.

4.  Slowly read the selected Gospel account several times – preferably out loud.

5.  Now allow yourself to daydream on the Scriptural situation presented in the story.

6.  Allow the pictures of the event to come to your mind and imagination.

7.  Watch, listen, and stay attentive to Christ.  Don’t be distracted by others in the story.

8.  Don’t try to analyze the story or learn lessons from it.  Just be present to Jesus and open to your own reactions.

9.  At first, it is not unusual to have trouble visualizing things and to feel as though your imagination is stunted.  Be patient, and allow the Spirit to enrich the picture by adding other sensory details to what you have read.

10. Don’t be put off with wandering attention.  That will happen.  As you are aware of this, simply return your attention to the meditation.

11.  Sometimes this exercise can feel like a waste of time especially if our orientation is pointed toward completing tasks or being productive and efficient.  However, God simply wants our presence even if it feels unproductive to us.  That is what friends do together – they waste time just being with each other.

Let Gospel Mediation become a normal part of your prayer life.  This is a time of personally meeting with Jesus in the events of His life.  The Gospels provide wonderfully rich opportunities to meet Jesus, once we learn how to use them in this manner.

Meditating on God's Word

(Adapted from The Disciplines of The Holy Spirit by Siang-Yang Tan)

Without meditation, the ways for appropriating God’s Word will be futile and unfruitful. Prayer, as well, can be empty and devoid of the Holy Spirit’s power without meditation on the Bible.

George Muller made a significant discovery about the critical importance of meditation and the crucial connection between meditation and prayer that revolutionized his spiritual life.

Now, I saw that the most important thing was to give myself to the reading of God’s Word, and to meditation on it, that thus my heart might be comforted, encouraged, warmed, reproved, instructed, and that thus, by means of the Word of God, whilst meditating on it, my heart might be brought into experimental communion with the Lord�.Now what is food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God, and here again, not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water passes through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it and applying it to our hearts.

Meditation is pondering over Scripture verses or passages in such a way that the written Word of God becomes a living Word of God applied to our hearts by the Holy Spirit. The two primary words for meditation in the Bible mean “to murmur or mutter” and “to speak to one’s self.” Meditation is a process of thinking through language that takes place in the heart or inner life. The truth being meditated upon moves from the mouth (murmuring), to the mind (reflective thinking), and finally to the heart (outer action).

This process is sometimes referred to as lectio divina (divine reading) where we listen to Scripture deeply with the ears of our hearts. We are like Elijah, listening for the still, small voice of God, the faint murmuring sound that is God’s Word for us, the voice of the Holy Spirit touching our hearts. This gentle listening is an attunement to the Presence of God in Scripture. Once a word or passage in the Bible speaks to us in a personal way, we can take it and begin to ponder it in our hearts, soaking ourselves in the passage. We can ask, “What is happening here? What are the sounds, smells, feelings? Why is God focusing me on this verse or idea? What does He want me to understand? Why do I need this word from God? How do I respond? Is there an example for me to follow, a sin to avoid, a command to obey, a promise to claim?” In meditation, we seek to enter into the Scripture and live in it. As we move from detached observation to active participation in the Scripture, our imaginations become active. Some have objected to using the imagination out of fear of its “subjective” focus and potential for self-deception or use by the enemy. But Jesus appealed to the imaginations of His listeners as He taught and told parables. While there is reason for caution and safeguards, we believe God can sanctify the imagination, just as He does our human reason, and work His good purposes through it.

Here are some simple steps we encourage for meditating or “living into Scripture”:

1. Pray for the Holy Spirit to speak to you and guide you as you read a passage of Scripture.

2. Read through the passage you are meditating on several times, listening for the still, small voice of God and waiting upon the leading of the Spirit.

3. Ponder the verse or two that grabs your attention or touches you in some way. Picture what is happening.

4. Put yourself in the picture. Ask questions. Allow a dialogue to unfold inside of you; let your imagination and senses be instruments for revelation from the Holy Spirit.

5. Be open to the ways God may want to speak to you directly through His Word through a personal encounter as you ask questions as you place yourself in the scene, even perhaps as Jesus comes directly to you in the scene in which you have entered.

6. Take time to share what God has said to you with an accountability partner or wise friend. This provides protection by checking what comes from your time of meditation, helps to reinforce God’s Word to you, and encourages and blesses others in their journey of faith.

The Holy Spirit can speak the living Word of God to your heart. The Holy Spirit is the One who enables us to understand the thoughts and things of God. Without His ministry as Teacher of truth and Revealer of God’s mind and heart to us, we will not be able to know or understand God or spiritual things (see 1 Cor. 2:6-16). With this in mind, always begin your reading, study, and meditation by asking for the Spirit’s illumination and guidance, and throughout the process of getting into God’s Word, be sensitive to His voice speaking to you!

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