Everyday Mystic: Meditation (08.26.18)
Leader’s Note: This material includes time recommendations for each section totaling approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes. Please pace yourself to complete all of it for a more comprehensive group experience.
Opening Prayer & Silence
Invite one person to open the group in prayer, and then sit in 5 minutes of silence with God.
Understanding Christian Meditation
One everyday mystical practice that opens our hearts to loving union with God is meditation. Christian meditation aims to hear from God primarily through focus on His word. Christian tradition in meditation differs from an Eastern understanding because Christian meditation seeks be filled with and interact personally with the God of the Bible. We open our hearts to this interaction through silent, focused attention on His word. According to Richard Foster in Celebration of Discipline, meditation is…
- The ability to hear God’s voice and obey God’s word.
- Creating the emotional and spiritual space which allows Christ to construct an inner sanctuary in the heart.
Read these verses about meditation:
- Psalm 1:1-3
- Psalm 104:31-35
- Joshua 1:7-9
- Philippians 4:8-9
And then discuss (30 minutes):
- According to these verses, what are followers of God called to meditate on?
- When is a time you have meditated on God’s word and felt like you heard a message from Him specifically for you? What direction or encouragement did He give you?
- What do you think Foster means by “emotional and spiritual space which allows Christ to construct an inner sanctuary in the heart”? How do you understand this language of “inner” space?
Practicing Christian Meditation
We regularly practice Scripture meditation in our CGs. Here’s a step-by-step practice guide that you can use now as a group and in your own private meditation time. Read through the simple guide and then practice together (20 minutes).
- Get in a comfortable sitting position and become conscious of God’s presence with you.
- Silently read Psalm 23 (or any other Scripture). Pay attention to one word or phrase that stands out to you.
- Sit silently with this phrase from Scripture and set a timer for 7 minutes. Ask God: What do you want me to know about this word? How is it connected to my life? Listen silently for Him.
- During the 7 minutes, release how you might be judging yourself as you meditate — judgements like “I shouldn’t be thinking about this right now,” “I’m not doing it right,” “I should be better at this,” or “I can’t hear from God.” Just meditate. It’s okay if other thoughts come to mind; you can just bring those to God.
- Write out all your thoughts in a notebook or phone for 10 minutes. What did you experience in the meditation? What’s your impression of God’s message for you?
Split into groups of 2-3 people to discuss and co-discern (20 minutes):
- How was your experience meditating? What did you write about?
- What did you sense from God? How can we help each other discern God’s voice for one another?
- What kind of support would you like to encourage your practice of meditation?
Return to the larger group discussion and share (25 minutes):
- What has been the most powerful and impactful thing for you in this time meditating?
- In what ways did you experience loving union with God?
A Meditating Church
As an entire church, we want meditation to be part of our everyday unity with Jesus. Over the course of the Everyday Mystic series (and hopefully beyond), please intentionally practice 10 minutes or more of meditation each day by:
- Memorizing and meditating on Hebrews 13:5 and asking God what He wants you to know about never leaving or forsaking you.
- Meditating on Matthew 18:1-5 and asking God what He wants you to know about relating to Him like a child.
At next week’s group, we will have a chance to share about our time in personal meditation, so consider keeping notes or a journal to share with others.
Close your time by praying together this prayer of St. Francis:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it’s in dying that we are born to eternal life