“As soon as the meal was finished, He insisted that the disciples get in the boat and go on ahead to the other side while He dismissed the people. With the crowd dispersed, He climbed the mountain so He could be by Himself and pray. He stayed there alone, late into the night.”
Matthew 14: 22-24
How To Handle Stress: 5 Lessons from the Life of Jesus
Lesson #2: Take time for meditation.
“Meditation” – A devotional exercise of contemplation. Reflection on spiritual thoughts.
“Those who draw water from the wellspring of meditation know that God dwells close to their hearts.”
Japanese Christian Evangelist
What do I think of when I hear the word “meditation?”
Do I take time each day to “meditate” with God?
“My spirit has become dry because it forgets to feed on you.”
John of the Cross
Here in the United States we have a saying, “They threw the baby out with the bath water.” This figurative language is used to portray the folly of getting rid of something wonderful and beneficial just because you want to drain the tub of dirty water.
Sometimes I feel like the topic of “meditation” is one of those blessed gifts which was “tossed out” as a tool of the devil because it was associated with religions that denied the divinity of Christ or was used by self-help gurus as a tool for convincing their followers that we, as individuals, have the power within ourselves to fix ourselves! How sad that something we find integral to Jesus’ life has become viewed with such contempt in some circles.
I know for a fact that what I am saying is true for I was very wary, for many years, of getting involved in any activity that stressed meditation as a solution to overcoming our problems. Coming of age as I did in the era of flower children, free-love and yoga, I had more than a passing acquaintance with the philosophies that encouraged meditation.
But as I began to study the lives of great Christians, I found there was one thread they commonly shared and it was time spent in prayer and meditation – what I like to refer to as time for Heavenly talking, listening, and silence.
So several years ago, I began to incorporate into my daily schedule, time, not only for prayer, but for meditation – Christian meditation.
While we sometimes think quiet time or silent time or contemplative time is something reserved for individuals who have chosen to live a monastic life – a life that may be out of the frenzy so frequently found in the lives of most families -- nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, if we learn from the life of Jesus, we will see that the busier we are the more we need time for prayer and meditation to refill our wells! The reformer, Martin Luther noted, “If I fail to spend two hours in prayer each morning, the devil gets the victory through the day. I have so much business I cannot get done with out spending three hours daily in prayer.” Now, I can’t imagine fitting 3 hours a day of prayer and meditation into a 24-hour schedule, but after reading these words, I wondered to myself, “How much more effective would my life be if I spent more time with God?” And the answer was very clear! More time – more power!
This is why I now don’t just go to God with my requests in prayer, I take time to listen, and I take time for silence. Some call this “Centering Prayer.” And I love that term because taking time for quiet meditation and silence has proved to be a most effective tool in keeping every day of my life “centered” around Jesus, and the Heavenly purpose God has for my life.
As we find in the life of Jesus – time alone with His Father – kept Him connected to His father. This should be the one purpose of our meditation time with God. As John Main explains, “The all-important aim in Christian meditation is to allow God’s mysterious and silent presence within us to become more and more not only a reality, but the reality in our lives; to let it become that reality which gives meaning and shape and purpose to everything we do; to everything we are.”
I encourage you to begin to take time each day to release the stress in your life by quietly joining your heart with your Heavenly Father’s in peaceful meditation.
“We simply need quiet time in the presence of God. Although we want to make all our time, for God, we will never succeed if we do not reserve a minute, an hour, a morning, a day, a week, a month or whatever period of time for God and Him alone. This asks for much discipline and risk taking because we always seem to have something more urgent to do and ‘just sitting there’ and ‘doing nothing’ often disturbs us more than it helps. But there is no way around this.
Being useless and silent in the presence of our God belongs to the core of all prayer. In the beginning we often hear our own unruly inner noises more loudly than God’s voice. This is at times very hard to tolerate. But slowly, very slowly, we discover the silent time makes us quiet and deepens our awareness of ourselves and God. Then, very soon, we start missing these moments when we are deprived of them, and before we are fully aware of it an inner momentum has developed that draws us more and more into silence and closer to that still point where God speaks to us.”
Just for Me, Just for Today
Each day I want to be with you, Lord,
I wait patiently for you to be near.
I shout out the “goings on” in my head, at least I try.
I so want to be with you, to hear
what special things you have to say –
just for me, just for today.
We sit on the bridge, just you and I,
and often watch as the stream flows by.
With our feet dangling and swinging,
I allow the stream to take my thoughts, to wash them away,
to clear my head to hear what you have to say –
just for me, just for today.
This is our special time together – we share
what’s happened yesterday, what’s planned for today,
how much we love, how much we care.
Ideas flow, love reaches below.
Thank you, Father, for giving me this time every day –
just for me, just for today.
Mrs. Joy H. Tway
Women’s Uncommon Prayers
Dorothy Valcarcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.