The purpose of all kinds of meditation is to create a deeper understanding of the self through concentration and reflection. Christian meditation at its best can be described as a form of deep concentrated conversations with God. It does not require the use of praying beads, or mantras or any specific postures; it is merely a channel to free the mind.
Christian meditation is more of a contemplative payer using the mind and is perhaps the most efficient way of communicating with God.
The early Christian monks would read passages or verses from the Bible slowly and then reflect on the meanings and messages of these verses. They called it the “divine reading”, and this is perhaps the earliest form of Christian meditation. This form of reflective readings of the scriptures led them towards having loving thoughts of God and his greatness. They called this contemplation.
This experience of reading the Bible, reflecting on its meanings and messages which in turn led to loving thoughts of God ultimately ending in deep contemplation came to be known as the ladder of prayer.
During the twentieth century two forms of Christian meditation came into prominence. The first involved the chanting of mantras called Maranatha which is Aramaic for “Come, Lord”. The other form of Christian meditation is the Centering Prayer. This form uses a sacred word to convey one’s intention to be in the presence of God. Another part of this contemplative form of prayer is the individual’s detachment to his psychological problems.
The “Five R” Method of St. Theresa of Avila, which includes: Ready, Read, Reflect, Respond and Resolve is a five step path to complete concentration while meditating on the Lord.
The “Five R” Method of St. Theresa of Avila:
Ready: The first step involves preparing the mind to accept God’s presence by reflecting on your love, devotion and faith in him. Ask pardon for your sins and seek a purpose to your meditation.
Read: Once you have accepted God’s presence the next step is to read a verse or passage from the Bible or read any prayer or even look at a picture and thinking about it.
Reflect: This step is about reflecting on the chosen passage or prayer by focusing your thoughts on it and then seeking answers to questions that will force the mind into deeper contemplation.
Respond: This is the part where the mind is free to initiate a dialogue with God. When you have reached this stage, you can now talk to him more freely and openly from the inner depths of your soul.
Resolve: This is the last part of the meditative process and should be concluded by thanking God for everything he has blessed you with and for his time.
Christian meditation is about focusing the mind on God and shutting the mind off to everything else. While it is a profoundly deep spiritual experience one should keep in mind that it is not a means to salvation. Like prayer, Christian meditation is a mere form of spiritual discipline, a deeper kind of worship, and a more intimate meeting with God.