Before we get started with some really simple, practical tips to encourage your biblical meditation practices, let’s recap what we have covered so far.
Part 1, available here, offered a real general overview of what we mean by the term biblical meditation: it’s not quite prayer and it’s not quite bible study: its a bridge between the two.
Last week, Part 2, available here, provided one example of what a full biblical meditation practice might look like. It was broken out into 6 easy-to-follow steps and was an adaptation of a much more complex method which has been around since the 6th century!
This week I am going to share tips I have found beneficial in my own prayer life and in studying/meditating scripture. Remember, I’m a working mama of three kiddos, ages 8-14, and a doctoral student so please know I wouldn’t suggest anything that I didn’t find viable enough to work into my own hectic schedule!
In no particular order, here’s my list!
Make an appointment with yourself to meditate at some set interval that seems manageable in your current season of life. This might be weekly? Maybe more? Maybe less? If you really feel too strapped & overwhelmed, try going to the Lord in prayer and asking where you might find some margin in your life to incorporate regular meditation practices. He’ll create the space for you!
Build meditation into what you are already doing. For example, if you read a devotion each morning or evening anyway, try blocking off a good hour on your calendar at whatever interval you chose for tip 1 (weekly, biweekly, etc.). In doing this, you are merely periodically extending the time you were already spending in His presence to begin with!
Whether or not you have regular time with God already part of your routine, you can certainly try pairing meditation was an activity you already enjoy. Like to walk? Enjoy audio versions of scripture while you get in that workout or enjoy nature. Love sipping on a hot cup of coffee? Incorporate your meditation into the time you spend with your favorite mug in your favorite spot of the house. You get the idea! Find an activity you enjoy and that you do often (or would like to do frequently) and do in conjunction with meditation. The only rule is that the activity should not distract from your time with the Lord!
Find a brother or sister in Christ who can hold you accountable. They do not need to meditate at the same time as you. They just need to know what your intent is so they can help encourage you and follow up. Best case scenario: your accountability partner will also be interested in this practice and you can hold one another accountable!
Choose a bible translation that you can easily understand, but be mindful that not all translations are created equally. Some versions are truer to the actual inspired Word of God than others. Personally, I alternate between the New International Version (NIV) and the English Standard Version (ESV). Both are in plain language and are widely used in bible-teaching churches. Alternatively, if some verses still stump you or you are new to reading the Bible, The Message by Eugene Peterson might be a great option for you: it reads just like a story!
Download a bible app such a You Version or access one such as Bible Gateway in your web browser. This will allow you to effortlessly switch between translations when needed for extra insight. No need to keep multiple translations around the house unless you want to!
Since it can still be helpful having a hard copy of the Bible around, consider one with room in the margins to write and/or one with footnotes. The Life Application Bible (available in different translations) has some very helpful footnotes which can help you glean more from the text. The best way to pick one out, in my opinion, is to devote some time flipping through the pages of different versions at your local bookstore. Are you comfortable with the font size? Weight? Do the extra content offerings hold any utility for you? Do you prefer having some pictures and photos? Having a Bible in a version and translation that you are comfortable reading will surely enhance your meditation practice.
After you meditate several times, you may find yourself particularly gravitating to a specific part of the practice. Push into that inclination and spend some time there. This will make the practice that much more enjoyable as you establish a habit since you are spending time doing an activity you naturally enjoy!
There you have it! Eight ideas which can be acted on as soon as today! I’m sure you may have some thoughts of your own how to better incorporate biblical meditation into your everyday lives.
Now, although these tips were created with biblical meditation in mind, feel free to generalize them to any activity at all which will bring you into the Lord’s presence more regularly. Desire more prayer time? Want time for listening to devotions…or a podcast…hint hint ;)? Yearn for more time in scripture? Any of the above tips can be applied to each of these scenarios as well!
I firmly believe that each person is EXACTLY where they are meant to be in their walk with the Lord. Wherever that is for you, try using these suggestions to get one step closer…with the help of the Holy Spirit of course!
Farther God, thank you for allowing me to live in such a time when your Word is so incredibly accessible! I know I have no excuse for not spending time with you each week or, better yet, each day. Your Word is there…on bookshelves…in apps…on the internet! I can waste so much time doing things that don’t really matter of such little consequence. Stir a hunger and thirst in my heart so that I seek to replace those times of empty solace with you and you alone. You are so worthy of my praise and adoration! Thank you for not giving up on me and still pursuing me. I am humbled, grateful, and truly yearn to spend time more wisely in your presence.
In Jesus’ Holy & Precious Name,