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I’ve written a lot about meditation. In fact, I think I may have written about it more than any other single topic.

And there’s good reason for that. Of all the ways to experience God, it has been the most profound for me. Even when I have no desire to worship, study, or teach, meditation always seems welcoming. Its comforting to me. I don’t have to prove anything. I just sit and be.

Maybe it’s the lazy man’s worship.  Or maybe the introvert’s worship. That’s probably what I like about it.

Beyond that meditation has a ton of physical and mental benefits. Meditation can:

  • Lower stress
  • Reduce risk of stress for teenagers and pregnant women
  • Help you sleep
  • Improve your memory
  • Help you focus

(Here’s a great explanation of what happens to our brains when we meditate.)

These health benefits can come from any form of meditation, but I’m encouraging forms of meditation that are specifically Christian. There are a few reasons I practice this specific kind of meditation.

So here’s why I meditate (and why you should too).

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If you read my blog regularly, you know I’ve been on a bit of a prayer kick lately.

It started with The Way of a Pilgrim and the notion of unceasing prayer. I was fascinated with the idea of “interior prayer” and wanted to find out more about that. So I turned to the book on interior prayer: The Cloud of Unknowing.

While the author of The Cloud of Unknowing is anonymous, most people assume he was a Carthusian Monk. This is, as well as the larger  Christian culture of the 14th century, are key to understanding the thinking of The Cloud of Unknowing.

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Francis de Sales MeditationIn the spiritual classic, Introduction to the Devout Life, Francis de Sales provides an astonishingly simple four step process of meditation. The book was originally undertaken as a guide to help the wife of an ambassador who struggled to find a way to live a life of devotion in the midst of court life. Because of this it is perfect for use by those who struggle with the same, finding ways to experience God in the business of modern life.

 

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Meditation is probably the most misunderstood of all Christian practices. The word just makes us think of sitting cross-legged, our hands turned up and resting on our knees, humming and floating in the air like an old man in a bad kung-fu movie.Meditation

As a result, most Christians have abandoned this ancient and beneficial practice out of fear of its connection with eastern spirituality and mysticism. We feel much safer reading devotional books or listening to sermons because it is so much more comfortable to learn about another’s experience of God than to experience him ourselves. Perhaps we read our bibles and pray prayers of intercession. These things, while beneficial, if used in isolation can confine our relationship with God to His allotted time. We seek to reduce God to some entity that can be learned without being known.

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Yesterday I gave you a list of books to use for devotion. Today I want to talk about probably the most intimidating part of devotional time, reading scripture. A lot of us have tried to read scripture and made no headway, we’re left confused or feeling as if we may have learned something but have not experienced the transforming presence of God. My experience has been that I scour it for facts like a text book. Learning to meditate on scripture has completely changed the way I read it and has, in turn, helped me grow spiritually.

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