Question: "What is Christian meditation?"
Answer: The biblical passages that use the phrase "Christian meditation" are nonexistent. The words meditate and meditation are found about eighteen times in the Old Testament. There are two Hebrew words which are translated "meditate," found in Genesis 24:63; Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2, and elsewhere. The Hebrew word hagah is given the meaning in the context of these verses "to ponder, imagine, meditate, mourn, speak, study, talk, utter, etc." Further meaning is given in the Hebrew word aiyach when it is used to mean "to ponder, to converse with oneself, and hence aloud; to utter or commune, complain, declare, meditate, muse, pray, speak, talk with (God in prayer), etc."
The word meditation is found in Psalm 5:1; 19:14, and other passages. A familiar verse, Psalm 19:14, states, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight." The psalmist asks that his words and thoughts be equal. Words of the mouth are a sham if they are not backed up by meditation of the heart.
Contrary to popular thought in some circles, Christian meditation has nothing to do with any practices that have Eastern mysticism as their foundation or model. Such practices include lectio divina, transcendental meditation, and many forms of what is called contemplative prayer. These have at their core a dangerous premise that we can “hear God’s voice,” not through His Word, but through extra-biblical revelation. Churches are currently filled with people who think they are hearing a “word from the Lord,” often contradicting one another and causing endless wrangling and divisions within the Body of Christ. Nowhere in Scripture are Christians encouraged to seek any wisdom beyond the Bible, which is “God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). If the Bible is sufficient to thoroughly equip us for every good work, how could we think we need to seek a mystical experience in addition to it?
For the Christian, meditation is to be solely on the Word of God and what it reveals about God. David found this to be so, and he describes the man who is “blessed” as one whose “delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2). True Christian meditation is an active thought process (thinking, resolving), whereby we give ourselves to the study of the Word, praying over it and asking God to give us understanding by the Spirit, who lives in the heart of every believer and who has promised to lead us “into all truth” (John 16:13). Then we put this truth into practice, committing ourselves to the Scriptures as the rule for life and practice as we go about our daily activities. This causes spiritual growth and maturing in the things of God as we are taught by His Holy Spirit.