If is often said that prayer is talking to God while meditation is listening to God. Sometimes people wonder how meditation brings you closer to God, particularly if they are waiting for an answer to something that they have been praying for over a period of time. Meditation is a means to get closer to God because it puts the person in a state of mindfulness. The person is mindful of their body, the room in which they are seated (or lying), and of the calm and peace of the mind while in the meditative state. Many people think that the most appropriate place for God to communicate with each individual is from within their own mind, as it is a private means of communication and is less likely to be interrupted or invaded by the presence of others.
Meditation in the Scriptures
There are many passages in the book of Psalms that mention mediation. For example Psalms 77:12 states, “I will meditate on all your works and consider all your mighty deeds”, or Psalms 1:2 which states, “Those who delight in the law of the Lord and on his law meditate day and night will be blessed.”
Throughout Biblical scriptures there are numerous references to meditating and listening for God’s answer to provide a response to the trials and tribulations of life. It is certain, to many people who meditate on a daily basis, that they feel the grace of God and feel more peace from God’s presence and divine power than those who prefer no contact with God through prayer or meditation.
Meditating on God’s Words
People pray all the time for many different reasons, for example: “Please let my son or daughter get home safely”, or “Please help me make enough money to pay all my bills this month” or “Please help me pass this test”. Since prayer is asking God to fulfill a desire, meditation is that time when people listen to the responses or instructions from God on how to be a better person and live in a state of peace or grace.
In the Sikh faith they believe that all prayer should be focused on thanking God for all that He has done and all that He has provided, because God knows everything that each person needs or wants; therefore, it is unnecessary to pray and ask God for “stuff”. The teachings in the Sikh faith instruct people to arise early each day and spend time meditating on God and the words from God. Some prefer to use a form of prayer beads to help keep them focused on their contemplation of the divine. The belief is that with routine meditation they are able to reach the desired qualities and overcome problems that the ego has caused throughout the day.
In Islam, the Prophet Muhammed spent a great deal of his time in meditation and solitude listening to God. In the Qur’an, Prophet Muhammed instructs the people to meditate on the presence of Allah (God) and know that Allah is watching. The Qur’an also teaches that meditation is the highest order of obedience to God and that it brings peace to those who are practicing this high command of listening to God.
For Christians, meditation is solely the focus on God’s word. They believe that when their thoughts are completely focused on God’s words, then the answers which they are seeking are provided during that time spent in quiet solitude with God. Most Christians tend to call this action “prayers” rather than “meditation”. Regardless of what the practice is called, Christians feel this practice brings them closer to God.
The practice of meditation is a singularly personal practice. Focusing on God, and being mindful of any answers or impressions that are provided, are both immensely valuable to anyone who practices meditation and listens to God’s voice on a daily basis.