How to Meditate

Discussion in 'The Pilgrims Progress' started by arapahoepark, Nov 23, 2016.

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  1. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    I have been looking through Puritan works on Meditation yet, I am still sure how to do it or I wonder if I am doing it correctly.
    I see words and sentences like "stir up your affections" and such but, I am still unsure how to do that. I doubt that I am doing it right. At times I feel it is not explained well enough to me and it is typically described by the outcome or its 'sweetness' or by its opposite rather than a specifc 'how to.'
    I have been reading a lot on prayer and thinking about it and I feel more confident to go to the throne knowing that He hears me. Would that be meditation on my part?

    How do you all meditate?
  2. Stope

    Stope Puritan Board Sophomore

    Great question - I have it too and look forward to the responses
  3. Moonnerd

    Moonnerd Puritan Board Freshman

    Thomas Watson's "The Saint's Spiritual Delight, and a Christian on the Mount" devotes the second half of the book to the topic of meditation. I don't know if its one of the resources you are using, but I just purchased it from A Puritan's Mind and it looks very practical.

    Last edited: Nov 23, 2016
  4. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    Here are some works to consider, and some outlines that will help:

    The Puritan Practice of Meditation and Pondering God: Thinking Rightly Through Godly Meditation

    I've been posting some things on APM on Facebook about Quiet Time and Mediation (along with Bible reading and prayer). Consider, 1) Bible reading / study (the fuel of mediation), THEN mediation on what is studied (the reasonable (logical) pondering of the information) (the chewing on the fuel so to speak) and then 3) prayer, forming the word of God into an argument and retorting it back to God again (wielding the promises).

    This is one of the excerpts:

    Continue in your quiet time until you find some sensible benefit conveyed to your soul. Man’s nature dislikes spiritual duties. They are apt to be quickly weary of it. When they begin the duty of quiet time, they raise a few signs of smoke in their fire towards God. Then some sparks are kindled, and at last there is a flame of holy affections that goes up towards God. Christians should never ordinarily leave the work until the flame has come to fruition. There are some important seasons to have quiet time. The morning, after the body has been rested, then it is a fit time to spend with God. Christian’s should consecrate the first fruits to God. They should place their virgin thoughts on Him, and on spiritual things before they are opened up to the world and inferior objects. When Christians awake in the morning they have many distractions that attend their thoughts. They should honor the Lord with the first use of their minds, heart and affections. Solomon (speaking of the Law of God) says, “When thou awakest it shall talk with thee,” (Prov. 6:22). As servants come to their masters in the morning, and receive rules from them, so a gracious heart takes directions from God’s word in the morning as to how he should manage himself throughout the day. Another season for quiet time is the evening. For this we have the example of Isaac recorded in scripture, that he went out to meditate at even-tide, (Gen. 24:63). In the night, when we go to bed, it is a time that can be spent thinking and praying about God. We have the command of the Lord for this, “Commune with your own hearts upon your beds and be still.” (Psalm 4:4). At this time the Christian soul is sequestered from the business of the world. They are retired from all the noise and tumult of things here below, they are not distracted. (Other posts can be found here.)
  5. NickCamp

    NickCamp Puritan Board Freshman


    I too have had issues with the concept of biblical meditation and after reading quite a bit on the subject, I think it is an easy thing to over complicate. I'm one who over-analyzes and researches the death out of a topic and so I found meditation to be a bit frustrating as I know it is of great importance. I'm not an expert on the subject by any means, but I have found that meditation and the "stirring up of affections" happens organically when I reach a passage that catches my eye. Sometimes I need to read for awhile before I reach such a passage, but when I do it stands out and from there I thoroughly think about it. And sometimes I do the same on passages that I need such as some of God's promises. It doesn't have to "pop-out", but that is how I typically choose a passage to meditate on. Next, I think about its implications in all of the applicable areas of my life. I mean every implication it has on life, in history, me, family, etc. I basically think on the passage until my knowledge of its contents becomes understanding, and it is when knowledge becomes understanding that the passage becomes soaked into my being. This then leads to prayer and worship as the reality of the passage always produces a response. So I pray, focus solely on the text, read until my heart is aligned or in focus, focus on the portion of a text prayerfully, and contemplate its meaning until I really get it. I typically end up praying the passage in some shape or form.

    A loose Example: Psalm 23, "The Lord is my Shepard". While I can know the Lord is my Shepard I must understand how he is my Shepard. So I think about how he guides, watches, cares etc. over me. Of course the entire context of psalm 23 is important to be aware of. I tend to avoid isolated verses unless they are straight forward. When I understand that the Lord is my Shepard, I then pray the passage, "Father, thank you for being my Shepard, for protecting me and giving me rest where the water never dries up..." and so on.

    I found meditation difficult, because I'm not really an emotional person and so the best way for me to identify meditation was to recognize the difference between knowing the passage and understanding it. There is a big difference in knowledge and understanding and while we all know that, we must understand it. It also applies to theology, I've found, but that is a different topic. Meditation is also difficult in our world of distractions, and put that with my ADD and it became really frustrating. Ultimately, I was left with waking up a couple of hours earlier where there was nothing else going on that could possibly distract me. For example I have to be at work at 6:00 AM (five minute drive) so I wake up at 4. On weekends my daughter and wife sleep until about 8:00am, so I wake up at 5:00am. I've found it really helps distractions and morning meetings with God are biblical! :)

    Maybe this will help? I'm not sure.I do like the excerpt Matthew provided, though! I apologize for errors in my writing if there are any.

  6. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    That helps tremendously! I am quite like you. I study things to death and really like intellectual aspects so I think that hinders me. It let it soak my mind and not my heart.
  7. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    I think it was Bagshawe who defined meditation as thinking on the truth, and then settling upon it. But a simple example is used in Luke2:19. Mary had been told extraordinary things which she should be involved in, angels and shepherds testifying great things. What did she do? "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart."

    I believe pondered in the Greek means to toss about. She dwelt on the communicated truths, and tossed them around in her heart. Liken it to picking up an orange and toss it from hand to hand, and then put it down. Now smell your hands, and there is a lovely citrous fragrance being exuded. Likewise, let the word of God dwell in you richly; toss, ponder it in your heart, and there will be imparted a spiritual scent that will delight and enrich the soul. Again, Paul to the Philippians lists some beautiful subjects,and advises, "think on these things." Spiritually ponder them.
  8. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Read sommewhere that its like :chewing the cud", in that we gey focused upon aparticular passage of scripture, on on attribute of God, and just concentrate on that!
  9. NickCamp

    NickCamp Puritan Board Freshman

    My pastor used a cow as an illustration. They chew their food, swallow it, bring it back up and repeat. Pretty solid when we're "chewing" on the word!
  10. NickCamp

    NickCamp Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm glad it helps and yeah, I can relate to you on that level. It is a hard place honestly, and sometimes I still don't feel like I'm doing things "right" because I'm so technical. Then I remember that we, today, have resources that the early believers could never dream of having and if they could get along so can we. Ultimately, asking the Holy Spirit to teach us to do something is the best approach.

    God bless you!

  11. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Doctor

    Yes, like when we are reading a passage, and the Spirit directs us to a specific portionto focus and dwell upon!
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