Probably you read the Bible. Do you know how to meditate on it? Do you know how to prayerfully interact with God in his Word?
To meditate on a Scripture passage is to let it lead you to pray to the Lord from your heart. Meditating on God’s Word is about bringing our true self to Jesus to develop a growing, personal relationship with him. We have to learn to interact with the Lord in the text in this way.
Meditation on Scripture is like a cow chewing its cud. It savors the grass in its mouth before filling its stomach. Then it sits down in the meadow and quietly regurgitates it, re-working it in its mouth before swallowing it. Though it may sound gross, the process transforms grass into rich, creamy milk!
How to Meditate on Bible Passages
Years ago when I was in Ray Ortlund’s discipleship group he shared with me a method of meditation on Scripture that I like to use. It's based on Paul's encounter with the risen Christ as it’s recorded in the book of Acts (Acts 9:1-31, 22:6-15, and 26:12-18). Saul (he hadn’t yet been renamed Paul) was a zealous Pharisee who was walking on the road to Damascus to persecute and kill more Christians when suddenly Jesus appeared to Him in a flashing, blinding light that knocked him off his feet!
As Saul laid wincing and trembling on the ground the Lord spoke to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
Saul stammered, “Who are you Lord?”
Jesus revealed himself as the Son of God who died and rose again and was alive in the Christians that Saul was imprisoning and killing! Jesus also revealed to Saul that he would become the Apostle Paul, a servant and a witness for Jesus (Acts 26:16-18).
Then Saul asked, “What shall I do Lord?” and the Lord told him to get up and go visit Ananias in Damascus.
Ray taught me to interact with the Lord in Scripture by asking Saul’s same two questions of “Who are you Lord?” and “What shall I do?” I added a third a third question of “Who am I?” which is implied in the Acts accounts of Paul’s transforming encounter.
Triangles of Meditation and Life Purpose
We can use Paul’s three questions as a “Meditation Triangle” to use in our Bible reading:
• “Who are you Lord?”
• “Who am I?”
• “What shall I do?”
These three questions are the most important questions that we can ask God in our meditations. They represent the disciplines of theology, psychology, and missions, taking us right into what I call the “Worship-Grow-Serve Triangle of Life Purposes.” The purpose of our lives is to…
• Know and love God
• Grow into our “new creation” identity, becoming more like Christ
• Minister to other people the grace and truth
When we meditate on Scripture, like the cow chews its cud, it is powerful for us. We “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). Our mind is renewed and our whole person is transformed, little-by-little into the image of Christ (Romans 12:1-2). And we are empowered to bear fruit, serving God and blessing people (John 15:1-17).
Have you chewed your cud on God’s Word yet today?
Additional Soul Transformation Resources
Here’s a short and sweet meditation from Psalm 71: Be My Rock of Refuge.
The classic Christian devotional writers teach us to pray over Scripture and to “descend with the mind down into the heart.” I have learned so much from these writers. Join me by Reading a Classic of Christian Devotion.
Do you have a spiritual mentor? I’d like to share with you what I learned from Ray Ortlund:Be Devoted to Christ Like Ray Ortlund.
William Gaultiere, Ph.D. is a Psychologist specializing in “Christian Soul Care” since 1986. Bill and his wife Kristi (a Marriage and Family Therapist) have a donor-supported ministry to pastors and leaders called Soul Shepherding. In counseling, spiritual mentoring, seminars, and retreats Bill and Kristi help people to connect deeply with Christ in ways that facilitate soul transformation. At Bill and Kristi’s webstie, SoulShepherding.org, you will find articles, prayers, and pictures to nourish your soul in God.
William Gaultiere, Ph.D. ~ Soul Shepherding, 4000 Barranca Pkwy, Suite 250, Irvine, CA 92604 ~ http://www.soulshepherding.org/ ~ 949.262.3699 ~ or go to the Contact page on the Soul Shepherding website.
William Gaultiere, Ph.D. & Kristi Gaultiere, Psy.D. ~ http://www.soulshepherding.org