We are going to be reading verses out of Psalm 77 for the first three days of this week. This Psalm is about thinking about and calling out to God in times of great need or distress. Today’s verse says:
“I think of God, and I moan, overwhelmed with longing for his help.” Psalm 77:3 (NLT)
In the NIV it says:
“I remembered you, God, and I groaned; I meditated, and my spirit grew faint.”
There can be a lot of confusion around meditation. We don’t necessarily hear about it as much in Christian circles (unfortunately) as we hear it talked about in secular circles. There are medical benefits to meditation that have been documented e.g. lowering of stress levels and blood pressure, but when we refer to meditation in the Christian sense, it’s a filling of the mind as opposed to an emptying of it. The verse that we are looking at today highlights thinking of and remembering God as meditation. The psalmist is bringing to mind things he knows of God, things he has learned and is now bringing them to mind. It’s an active process, not a passive one.
In the book Celebration of Discipline Foster writes, “What happens in meditation is that we create the emotional and spiritual space which allows Christ to construct an inner sanctuary in the heart. The wonderful verse “I stand at the door and knock . . .” was originally penned for believers, not unbelievers (Rev. 3:20). We who have turned our lives over to Christ need to know how very much he longs to eat with us, to commune with us” (Foster, p. 20).
Jesus wants to be known by us. That’s hard for me to wrap my head around, but I believe it to be true. By removing distractions and getting ourselves to a place where we can be quiet enough to listen, we create the space for Him to meet with us. That’s what meditation does; it removes the noise so that we can hear.
In the preface to the anniversary edition of the book, Foster gives a seven day plan for removing noise and distractions. He begins with just taking 30 minutes to be away from all electronics, make a cup of coffee or tea, find a good place to sit and ask God (out loud) to search you. That’s it. Then, just sit silently. If you haven’t tried it, I urge you to. The rest of the plan for the week is laid out in the book. If any of you are trying that, we would love to hear about it. Please feel free to comment below or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The goal of the spiritual disciplines is to prepare the ground within our hearts so God can work. He has the power to transform us if we allow Him to.
Foster, Richard J.. Celebration of Discipline, Special Anniversary Edition (p. 20). HarperOne. Kindle Edition.
Executive Director of Education and Outreach