Ever consider meditation to hear God?
In this day and age, I think we have distorted the word meditation, which is a shame when you come to know all of the outstanding benefits it has to offer in every area of life. When I say this to most people- they think yoga, new age, and hippie talk.
The number one question I get is “how can I hear from God”. I think most people have a burning desire to hear God, to be touched, to feel his presence. The problem is, most of us were never taught how. That was definitely the case for me.
Scripture says God is always speaking, but we miss it. We don’t notice his voice because we don’t recognize it. We miss his voice because it is drowned out in the sea of other voices. Your task list that runs endlessly through your mind, that person who just upset you, and those bills that need to be payed.
What is Meditation?
So how do we learn to hear God’s voice? Meditation is a powerful way. Although God speaks in different ways for different people, meditation trains our brains to be able to focus and receive. It can also can train our ears to distinguish God’s voice. And once we learn to recognize God’s voice, we begin to hear it time and again.
Meditation is like growing your concentration and focus muscles- which are very much needed in hearing from God, and quite frankly, will make you better in any other area in your life. The problem is, in the day and age we live in- we are constantly checking social media, listening to things, talking to people, and multitasking. This is a disaster as far as your brain and connection with God are concerned.
We are designed to be focused beings. Doing one thing at a time, and doing it well. When we do not do this, our life becomes chaotic and our stress levels rise.
Meditation is not only a means of connecting with our creator, it is also what determines our behaviors and expression of DNA. Whatever we meditate on, whether that be our worries, what we do not like in the world, or God, that becomes who we are.
The more we read and meditate on the word of God- the more we program it into our subconscious which is what drives our every behavior, attitude, and outlook on life. We can literally make the word of God a part of us- and that is powerful! But it takes daily- deep focused thinking of the word.
Rick Warren, in The Purpose Driven Life (Zondervan), describes meditation this way: “Meditation is focused thinking. It takes serious effort. You select a verse and reflect on it over and over in your mind…if you know how to worry, you already know how to meditate”. Warren goes on to say, “No other habit can do more to transform your life and make you more like Jesus than daily reflection on Scripture…If you look up all the times God speaks about meditation in the Bible, you will be amazed at the benefits He has promised to those who take the time to reflect on His Word throughout the day”.
How to Meditate – Meditation to Hear God
Dr. Bruce Demarest writes, “A quieted heart is our best preparation for all this work of God…Meditation refocuses us from ourselves and from the world so that we reflect on God’s Word, His nature, His abilities, and His works…So we prayerfully ponder, muse, and ‘chew’ the words of Scripture….The goal is simply to permit the Holy Spirit to activate the life-giving Word of God”.
I think we all know this, but how consistent are we at actually doing it? Meditation is like a muscle- the more you do it, the better you will become at staying focused without your mind wandering. The less you do it, the harder it becomes.
- Set aside at least 20 minutes a day to quiet yourself. No distractions at all.
- Start by following your breath and thinking about everything you are grateful for. Do this for 2-4 minutes. This activates your body’s healing systems and allows the part of your brain to activate that allows you to hear clearly and receive wisdom. In other words, it gets you into a state that allows you to hear clearly.
- Then choose your anchor that you want to keep bringing your focus back to. Examples include:
- Then ask the Holy Spirit what he has to say about ___. . . whatever you want to know. Notice any thoughts that come up.
- A Bible verse
- Your Prayers
- When your mind drifts away- that is OKAY! Simply bring it back. The more you do this, the stronger your attention muscle becomes.
- The more we quiet our minds and position ourselves and our focus on God, the more we will be able to hear from him and distinguish his voice.
- At least take two minutes a day to scan the world for things you are grateful for- new things each day, as specific as possible. This physically rewires your brain, and sets the filter of what you notice each day. Since happiness is a learned skill, this is the #1 habit to pick up to completely change your life.
The art of prayer is thinking deeply and focusing on something you want to happen while generating the feeling of gratitude as if it already happened. It’s not simply offering words and hoping they get fulfilled. You have a bigger part to play than that, and that part is how well you intentionally generate, hold, and radiate thought and emotion.
Say you are praying for your family, see in your mind what it would look like if your prayer already happened. Generate the feeling of thankfulness as if it had. Stir up the excitement of the expectation that it’s going to happen.
Sitting and holding these thoughts and emotions IS prayer it IS meditation and it IS incredible powerful.