The Beauty of the Lord
I sense the intense desire of the Holy Spirit to take a whisk broom and dust off some of The Lost Treasures of the Body of Christ and present them as brilliant gems to gaze upon. Like a spiritual archaeologist or perhaps something like a modern-day Indiana Jones of the fabled movies, let’s search through the treasure chest of God and church history and bring these jewels to the forefront once again.
Madame Jeanne Guyon, in her classic book, Experiencing God through Prayer, preserved great treasures for us from the past and we get to bring them forward in our day. She brought forth the following concepts: “In ‘beholding the Lord,’ you come to the Lord in a totally different way. … As you come before the Lord to sit in His presence …, beholding Him, make use of the Scripture to quiet your mind. First, (prayerfully) read a passage of Scripture. Once you sense the Lord’s presence, the Scripture has been wonderfully used to quiet your mind and has now brought you to Him.”
One of the “lost arts” being recovered is growing more intimate with our Lord and gazing upon His beauty. It is the time-tested model often referred to as Christian reflective or meditative prayer. So let’s start there for now and build upon these understandings.
Toward a Working Definition
Elmer L. Towns—Vice president of Liberty University
“Christian Meditative Prayer is about God, it is meditation that will change your life because you focus on God—and when you experience God, it is God who changes you.”
Peter Toon—Author of Meditating as a Christian
“Meditation is … (t)hinking about, reflecting upon, considering, taking to heart, reading slowly and carefully, prayerfully taking in, and humbly receiving into mind, heart and will that which God has revealed.”
Dietrich Bonheoffer—German author of The Way to Freedom
“Just as you do not analyze the assets of someone you love, but accept them as they are said to you, then accept the word of Scripture and ponder it in your heart, as Mary did. That is all.”
Dr. Sam Storms—Author and founder of Enjoying God Ministries
“(Christian) Meditation, then, is being attentive to God. It is a conscious, continuous engagement of the mind with God. This renewing of the mind (Rom. 12:1-2) is part of the process by which the Word of God penetrates the soul and spirit with the light of illumination and the power of transformation.”
7 Guidelines for Meditating on God’s Word
The following seven guidelines all begin with the letter “P” are those that I have gleaned over the years from multiple authors and sources.
Memorize a Bible verse each day.
Prepare Yourself—Always begin by practicing the presence of the living God. Perhaps reading and chewing on Psalm 139:1-10 will help. Focus your attention on God’s inescapable presence, the intimate nearness of God Himself. Remember, we want to encounter the living Word of God. Now select your Scripture text.
Peruse the Word—By this I mean read, repeat the reading, write it out, re-write it, etc. Read your verse(s) aloud ever so slowly and marinate in their beauty.
We must keep in mind the difference between informative reading of the Scriptures and formative reading. The former focuses on the collecting information and the increase of knowledge. The purpose of the latter is to be formed or shaped by the Word by the ministry of the Holy Spirit.
Picture the Passage—Sanctify your thoughts and desires by the blood of Jesus. Then apply your surrendered natural senses to the truth contained within the Scripture verse. Then in worship to the One True God, Jesus Christ the Lord, let the Holy Spirit fill your senses—your entire being (Heb. 5:14). Personally engage in a relationship with the Holy Spirit to encounter or experience what the text speaks. Hear, feel, taste, smell and see the truths God reveals.