Christian meditation is a method of prayer to help us set our eyes on God in silence and grow closer to Him with gratitude and love.
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.Psalm 19:14
What is Christian Meditation?
Meditation is above all a quest …To the extent that we are humble and faithful, we discover in meditation the movements that stir the heart and we are able to discern them. It is a question of acting truthfully in order to come into the light: “Lord, what do you want me to do?”Catechism of the Catholic Church
Meditation has been a part of the Christian tradition since its origin. We can also recall countless moments in the Old Testament in which the faithful spent time in silent, intentional prayer to grow closer to God. For example, think about Moses at Mount Sinai, where God appeared in the burning bush.
The Psalms also mention meditation close to 20 times and emphasize resting in God’s presence. This book has some of the best meditations for Christians to pray with God. Consider David’s Psalm 139 as an example.
O Lord, you have searched me and known me.Psalm 139: 1
The Old Testament is rich with written meditations for Christians, but we can also meditate on the life of Christ in the New Testament. We don’t have to use Scripture directly when praying, but it should certainly be the source of our prayer.
When we look at the life of Christ, there are several moments in which he set off alone to rest with the Lord in silence. The most prominent example was at the beginning of Christ’s ministry: the 40 days in the desert. While the devil tempted him, Jesus relied on God for strength. We know Christ prayed, and he continued to meditate on the truth he knew.
In our own prayer and meditation time, we, too, learn to rely on God. When we set time aside to go out alone into the wilderness or be in silence, we open ourselves to meet God in prayer. It is in this space and time that meditation can help us grow closer to God. Through this type of prayer, we discover who we are, what God desires for us, and continually discover just how mysterious and incredible God is.
How Christian meditation is different than secular meditation
Secular meditation is rooted in “mindfulness” — finding the quiet within yourself. This practice aims to increase your self-understanding as you empty your mind of all thoughts to find peace. Christian meditation, on the other hand, allows us to enter into silence with God to fill our hearts with His presence. We learn how to listen for God’s voice.
While we do “let go” of things while practicing Christian meditation, the primary purpose of this prayer method is always to grow closer with God. By offering up our sorrows or worries to God, we let Him take control.
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you.1 Peter 5:6-7
Christian meditation is actually the type of prayer that started us on our journey with Hallow — we desired mindfulness meditation that didn’t stop with us, but instead led us closer to God. We feel so blessed that people who pray with Hallow have found themselves growing their relationships with God!
“Hallow is a centerpiece of my day and I know the miracle of my now being cancer-free is in part due to the renewed love I developed for prayer because I enjoyed the app so much.”
“My faith really faltered during the pandemic … I stumbled across this wonderful app by accident (or was it?) and it has helped to completely rejuvenate my prayer life. I am once again experiencing the joy of the Lord.”
“This app is so soothing and really centers my thoughts on God. I enjoy listening in the morning, while doing chores during the day, and at night. It is an easy way to constantly spiritually grow and do what Jesus did: pray constantly.”
Why do we pray with Christian meditation methods?
We pray in the form of meditation as Christians not to stay within ourselves but instead to lead us closer to God. To put it simply, our meditation helps us release control to God. Through this intentional silence, we learn to better understand and love God through various ways of talking with Him. We work to develop a consistent meditation and prayer practice so that we can better embrace God’s peace throughout each day.
One way we meditate as Christians is through the practice of Lectio Divina, meditating on scripture to have a fruitful conversation with God. You can also meditate on sacred art through the practice of Visio Divina, or meditate on moments of Jesus’ life while praying the Rosary.
When do we meditate as Christians?
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven …Ecclesiastes 3:1
Whether you’re on your way to work, getting ready for the day, or taking some time to reflect at the end of your day, you can meditate at any time. Some days your meditation might be for one minute. Other days, you might want to meditate for a full Holy Hour. At the heart of it, Christian meditation is truly about being intentional with God, whether you’re reading Scripture or praying with the Rosary.
So, how do you prayerfully meditate?
How to Pray: Christian Meditation
1. Find a comfortable place to pray.
While some might prefer to pray while sitting on the floor or kneeling besides their bed, these are not your only options for meditation. If you are easily distracted while sitting still, you might want to practice meditation while walking or while sipping coffee. God meets us where we are — it doesn’t have to be perfect. Just make sure you feel like you can be yourself with God in this place, whether you’re alone or in public
2. Prepare your mind and heart for prayer.
Think about your prayer before you start praying.
Sometimes it helps to think about prayer before you actually start praying. Ask yourself a couple of questions before choosing what you’d like to meditate with or on:
Is there something on my mind that I want to offer to God in prayer? This will probably look different for you every day, and that’s totally okay! Think about your relationships, work, and anything that’s causing you anxiety or you feel grateful for — God wants to hear it all! If your mind wanders in prayer, don’t be afraid to return to this offering to God.
Are there any distractions preventing me from resting with God? It could be a physical distraction like dirty dishes or something on your to-do list. However, sometimes prayer makes the tasks in front of us seem less daunting. Discern how you can best set yourself up to rest in God’s presence and listen to Him.
Create calm in preparation.
Take some time to calm your heart, mind, and body before starting prayer. You might take a few deep breaths, silence your phone’s notifications, or dim the lights if you’re inside. Remember why you are settling into your Christian meditation practice — to grow closer with God in this prayer time.
3. Select a prayer, verse, or word to meditate with.
In Christian meditation, we always meditate with something holy that will fill our hearts and bring us closer to God. You could choose a particular Scripture passage to meditate with and or try a guided Lectio Divina.
If you’re just getting started with prayer, it might be helpful to choose a short prayer or even just one word to meditate with. On Hallow, we have a few short minute meditations for when you’re on the go, crunched for time, or it’s all you can do that day. It’s amazing what repeating “Jesus, I trust in You,” or just one decade of the Rosary can do for your day.
5. Let God fill your heart.
Remember: it’s not as much about what we say in prayer but how well we prepare ourselves to listen to God’s voice in the silence. It might take a few, or many, tries before it becomes clear. However, even spending just one minute resting with God can fill our hearts with grace, with gratitude, and with goodness.
If your mind starts to wander, think of the verse or image you selected at the beginning of your meditation and turn back to it.
6. End your meditation with gratitude.
Conclude your time in prayer by thanking God for this time with you. You could end with an Our Father, Hail Mary, or simply just say thank you to God. You can stay in this moment of peace as long as you want — don’t rush yourself to end your time with God. If something stuck out to you in prayer, be sure and jot it down.
Most importantly, remember this peaceful moment with God is always available to you — at any time of the day, and in any place.
Hallow is full of meditations for you to pray with. If you’re completely new to prayer or meditation, you might enjoy starting with our Intro Challenge. We’ll introduce you the various methods of Christian meditation, and you can find which method resonates with you the best.