Meditation and Prayer

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Stop Look and Listen

This is the second week in our series on Spiritual Disciplines. Many of you are joining me on this journey during Lent; reading through the Gospels, giving up something, and learning the disciplines. This week we are looking at the two inward disciplines of meditation and prayer.

Unlike the meditation taught by eastern religions, the meditation taught by the Bible doesn’t empty the mind but opens it to the work and presence of God. Richard Foster says that “meditation creates the emotional and spiritual space that allows Christ to construct an inner sanctuary in our heart.”

The two Hebrew words used for “meditation” in the Bible are hagah (ponder, groan, sigh, utter), and siyach (talk about, contemplate, muse, rehearse). The book of Psalms talks a lot about meditation. Psalm 1:2 says that we are blessed when we meditate on God’s law day and night.  To meditate is to think about, mull over, rehearse, and contemplate God, His Son, His creation, His word, and His work in us. It is actually a time of fellowship with God that He desires to have with us, and that He can use to transform us through his Spirit.

Some suggestions:

  • Set aside a time of quiet and solitude
  • Center your attention on Christ, and on God’s glory in His Son
  • Meditate on God, His attributes, His glory, His works
  • Meditate on a passage or verse of the Bible
  • Ask God to help you internalize the passage

We often associate prayer with desperation and crisis.  When things are going well, we tend not to pray as much. But prayer is actually one of the most important ways that God uses in our spiritual formation. It is a conversation, a relationship with God.

God wants His people to pray. Abraham, Moses, David, and Jesus modeled a life of prayer.

What is prayer like?

  • It is simple, not complicated
  • It should be direct and honest
  • We should pray in faith, believing in God’s ability to answer
  • We learn to pray by praying

This week’s application
Here’s how I’d like us to implement these two disciplines this week:

  • Find a time and a place free from distractions
  • Start with 10 minutes a day (meditate for 5 and pray for 5)
  • Possible things to pray about: CrossPoint, family, against evil and suffering, for protection, for our nation and other nations, or whatever is on your heart
  • Possible passages of the Bible to meditate on: Matthew 13:44-46 and Matthew 18:1-5 (these are in our Lent readings this week).
  • If you miss a day, don’t worry or try to catch up – just start the next day
  • Let me know how this is all working for you!

Pastor Mike

New series on Spiritual Disciplines

Beginning February 22, I am starting a sermon series entitled “Stop, Look, and Listen” – a look at spiritual disciplines. This will be a look at the classical disciplines that Christian believers have used and benefited from for thousands of years.

Stop Look and Listen

The spiritual disciplines are not formulas or tricks that people do to gain favor with God. Instead, they are practices that allow God to transform us from within through the Spirit. They help us to stop, look, and listen to God.

Ancient disciplines include silence, prayer, meditation, worship, fasting, study, confession, and many others. We will be looking at around ten of the spiritual disciplines during the season of Lent which begins next week. I will be suggesting ways that each of us can put into practice some of these spiritual disciplines each week.

Many people think more about God and Jesus during the time of Lent and Easter. This would be a great time to invite people to hear about how they can be closer to God.

During this series, there will be resources on our website to help you practice the disciplines. You can find the resources at the Sermons menu.

Pastor Mike