[Exclusive] Building a House of Prayer, Meditation Prayer

Building a House of Prayer

Eighteen Prayer Models for Approaching God’s Throne

Author | Dr. Joshua Young-Gi Hong

<Meditation Prayer>

“A prayer not only asks for God’s help but also delights Him.”—Dr. Joshua Young-Gi Hong

Meditation Prayer is not to pray in audible voice but in silence. This prayer collects our thoughts and our will to bring us closer to God and to his love. This prayer is not a monologue but a dialogue with God and helps us open our mind to Him.

The Holy Place of Prayer

Meditation Prayer is a prayer model that has lost popularity in modern days. In today’s society, people are living busy lives. However, the medieval monks of the monasteries and Christians often meditated and prayed in silence. In silence, they were able to taste the grace of God. In order to give a good Meditation Prayer, we need to relax, release our tension, and seek the help of the Holy Spirit.

You must have conversation with God and share a fellowship of love with Him while reading and meditating on the Word of God.

The Holy Place of Prayer 1

Relax Your Tension

When practicing Meditation Prayer, it is better to meditate on the words of God first and then delve into Meditation Prayer training. First of all, choose a biblical text to read. Then, relieve tension by relaxing before starting the Meditation Prayer. Relieving tensions is to open your mind to God, apart from the common practice in this world. As your tension is loosened, you will transform into a vessel into which God’s Holy Spirit may freely flow.

Maxie Dunam (in a South Korean book published by the Presbyterian Church Press, Seoul, South Korea) suggests the following method to relax our tension for a Meditation Prayer:

Sit straight on your chair. Close your eyes. Loosen your legs. Straighten your back and release the tension in your shoulders and back. Take a deep breath. And then let it out completely. When you exhale, lower your head slowly so that your jaw will touch your chest.

Now breathe in deeply, and slowly raise your head until your head is in a comfortable position. Repeat these movements in a regular rhythm so that your head will move backward and forward as you take deep breaths in and out respectively. Now, let your head lower to your chest and take three breaths slowly and rhythmically.

Continue your head movements following the breathing rhythm, but this time let your head touch your right shoulder while taking a breath in and slowly move your head to the left shoulder to let the breath out. And then reverse the movement. Do not hurry in these movements. From the right shoulder to the left shoulder and then from the left shoulder to the right shoulder, repeat the movements and breathing three times. Relax the tension in your jaw and neck completely.

When your tension is loosened, you will feel peace and calmness inside you. Now repeat these movements six to eight times. Now sit still in the chair for God to come and permeate you in silence for three to four minutes.

It is a good practice to train yourself to loosen your tension this way. It is very effective to strengthen your spirit by having this moment of meditation from time to time, apart from your busy daily routine. Now, we have to seek the help of the Holy Spirit before we read the Bible and start the Meditation Prayer.

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Offer a Prayer of Invitation to the Holy Spirit

Now, let us pray so that the Holy Spirit may come to us and let us know the meaning of God’s Word so that we may able receive His Spirit. We can use the following 9th century ancient ecclesiastic prayer:

O, Holy Spirit, come to us and touch our spirit.

Let it shine with the light in heaven.

You are the Spirit of anointing.

Pour us your gift sevenfold.

The anointing of blessing from the above is

our comfort, life, and the flame of life.

Shine our shut eyes

with eternal light.

Anoint and renew our dirty face

with your abundant grace.

Defeat our enemy and give peace to our home.

There is no sickness, following the Holy Spirit.

Let us know that God,

the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are one.

Let us know you are the object of praise forever.

To God, the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit

our eternal praise is due.

When we meditate and pray, let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us. If there is no help from the Holy Spirit, we cannot understand the meaning of the God’s communication. Moreover, we can easily digress and start thinking of worldly anxieties during a Meditation Prayer. The Quakers had a unique tradition in which they offered all prayers and worship services in meditation. They pursued a mysterious spirituality. Of course, it can be dangerous to insist on only one prayer model. However, the continuation of this tradition must attest to the utmost value of meditation. They seek the help of God while meditating.

The Holy Place of Prayer 3

The Sulpician Method of Meditating on God’s Word

Now let us read the Word of God and meditate: “Blessed is the man . . .  But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:1-2). Dietrich Bonhoeffer established a theological seminary in Finkenwalde, Germany, and established rules to meditate on the Bible for thirty minutes every day. This regulation was well received by all the seminarians and professors. To be safe and effective, the start of meditation should be from God’s Word. Bonhoeffer said the following in regard to the significance of meditation, “As we take the words of our loved ones at their face value, take the Word of God as it is and keep it in your heart. Just as Mary did. That is all. That is meditation.”

There are three steps to meditating on the Word of God. The first is to read and think of the words in the Bible objectively. The second is to subjectively apply the verses that pertain to you. The third is to make a practical resolution. If we relate this point to our fellowship with Jesus, it can be expressed as follows:

Jesus before the eyes

Jesus in the heart

Jesus in the hands

Known as the Sulpician Method, this method originated from St. Sulpice Parish in Paris, France (Evan Pilkington, Learning to Pray, London: Darton Longman and Todd; 1986, p. 19). Now, let’s enter the world of Meditation Prayer while delighting in the biblical verses you have just read.

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Falling into Meditation

Pray in your heart as you fall into meditation. “Lord, I love your Word. I want to live by your Word. This time with you is the most blessed time for me.” Select the biblical verses and scenes that touch your heart upon which you have read and prayed. Then, offer a prayer of worship and praising. Give the glory and honor to God. Offer a thanksgiving prayer for all you are enjoying. When you are finished with an audible prayer and a worship prayer, you can now offer a Meditation Prayer freely on the topics for which you would like to pray.

As you are trained in the Meditation Prayer, you will soon find that you are spending less time on reading the Bible and thinking of the prayer topic and more time on meditation. When praying, silence does not simply mean absence of voice. It is to surrender to God’s voice completely. It is to wait upon the Lord with faith, hope, and love.

There was a pious German named Bengel. He was famous for having deep fellowship with the Lord. One friend of his wanted to learn the secret, so he sneaked into Bengel’s room to watch him. He wanted to see how Bengel spent his time of piety. Soon, Bengel came into his room. He sat on a table and began to read the New Testament.

Time passed by in silence and quietness. He was simply reading the Bible page by page. At midnight, he stretched out his hands and shouted in joy, “O, Lord, we are still maintaining the relationship we have shared in the past even to this day.” Then, he closed the Bible and went to bed. Bengel knew the secret to maintain the relationship with the Lord. That is, to hear the voice of the Lord through His Word, to love Him with all his heart, and to converse with the Lord like a friend.

We have a tendency to pray hastily. We want to see His miracles more than His face. However, if we spend more time with the Lord, we will get to know Him better. When we pray, our biggest goal and joy should be in knowing the Lord.

When our heart is purified while meditating, a passion for God will be inflamed. As we fall into meditation, our spirit will be changed from darkness of shadow to brightness of light. T. S. Eliot, in an excerpt from “East Coker,” sang the following in praise of the grace of meditation:

I said to my soul, be still,

and let the dark come upon you

Which shall be the darkness of God.

But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.

So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

When you give a Meditation Prayer of meeting God in stillness, a light of peace will shine on your heart. Meditate and pray as if you are doing it for the first time. When we start work for the first time, we work hard with renewed passion.

Likewise, when we start prayer we have to have a strong determination as if we are giving our renewed heart to God. If we do not succeed in prayer, we cannot succeed in anything. When we get near to God in our spirit and mind, we will gain the strength to control our spirit and make our enemy shameful. When a thief is approaching your home and hears people talking in the house, he won’t dare to break in. Likewise, when evil spirits hear our conversation with God upon their attempt to enter into our spirit, they will not come into the place of prayer. When we succeed in Meditation Prayer, we can have our entire mind succumbed to Christ. He can be the King of our life. Those who love to pray will enjoy and appreciate Meditation Prayer.

Checkpoint of Prayer

It is important to select a good, silent place in order not to have the Meditation Prayer hindered. If our surrounding is noisy, our meditation will be interrupted. At first, meditating is not easy. However, the key to meditation is persistence. When meditating, we should not think of worldly matters. Thus, it will be a good practice to read the Word before starting Meditation Prayer in order to avoid thinking of trivial matters.

Sweet Rain of Grace

Once you are trained in the Meditation Prayer well, you will experience a profound joy in doing it. Most importantly, it can be a training to hear the voice of God. The quiet voice of God is often heard in stillness. As the verse in Psalm 46:10 says: “Be still, and know that I am God.” The grace of meditation is to realize and know the greatness of God.

Praying Time

It is better to start the training for Meditation Prayer with a ten-minute period. It is because there is a greater chance to giving up if you start out with a goal of meditating and praying for thirty minutes at first. It is a better idea to start practicing for a short period of time. Then, you may increase prayer time to twenty minutes and thirty minutes gradually.

Closed Prayer Room

  • Meditation Prayer is to meditate and pray with the mind voicelessly.
  • Examples of a Meditation Prayer
    >> Lord, I want to converse with you at this time. Please hold me with the Holy Spirit so that my mind will not be discomposed, restless, and distracted.
  • My Meditation Prayer:
  • The Order of a Meditation Prayer
    >> Praise (Hymn or Chorus)
    >> Confession of a Thanksgiving
    >> Reading a prepared Meditation Prayer
    >> Carrying out the Meditation Prayer
  • Self-illumination
    >> Is there a quiet place for you to pray so that you will not be hindered?
    >> Are you distracted easily when you meditate and pray?
    >> Do you meditate and pray after reading God’s Word in the Bible?
    >> Do you hear God’s voice when you are giving Meditation Prayer?

One Last Word on Meditation Prayer

You should start meditation with God’s Word for it to be safe and effective.

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