Psalm 88.1-2
Lord, you are the God who saves me;
day and night I cry out to you.
May my prayer come before you;
turn your ear to my cry.

Reflection: Meditation in Spiritual Rhythm :: Throwback Thursday
By John Tillman

As Thomas Merton poetically wrote about humanity, “He is the saddest animal. He drives a big red car called anxiety.”

Meditation is a breathing apparatus to help us survive in a poisonous atmosphere polluted by anxiety and fear.

Meditation is not new age, but old. However, in the modern age, it has often been forgotten on the shelf as many Christians and Christian leaders followed our culture into frenetic clamor instead of leading our culture from a place of peace and rest.

Today we look back a few hundred years or so, to a collection of thoughts on meditation that were not considered radical or strange in their time, but simply a prudent, practical, and effective Christian discipline.

George Müller (1805-1898)
Now what is food for the inner man? Not prayer, but the Word of God; and here again, not the simple reading of the Word of God, so that it only passes through our minds, just as water passes through a pipe, but considering what we read, pondering over it and applying it to our hearts.

This exercise of the soul can be most effectively performed after the inner man has been nourished by meditation on the Word of God, where we find our Father speaking to us, to encourage us, to comfort us, to instruct us, to humble us, to reprove us. We may therefore profitably meditate with God’s blessing though we are ever so weak spiritually; nay, the weaker we are the more we need meditation for the strengthening of our inner man.

Richard Baxter (1615-1691)
Nor should we imagine it will be as well to take up with prayer alone, and lay aside meditation; for they are distinct duties, and must both of them be performed. We need the one as well as the other, and therefore we shall wrong ourselves by neglecting either. Besides, the mixture of them, like music, will be more engaging; as the one serves to put life into the other. And our speaking to ourselves in meditation, should go before our speaking to God in prayer.

William Bridge (1600-1670)
Begin with reading or hearing. Go on with meditation; end in prayer…Reading without meditation is unfruitful; meditation without reading is hurtful; to meditate and to read without prayer upon both, is without blessing.

From these writings and ones like them, we draw a pattern, a spiritual rhythm, that we want to promote for all our readers: Read, reflect, pray…repeat.

Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. — Matthew 5.6

– Prayer from The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.

Prayers from The Divine Hours available online and in print.

Today’s Readings
Ezekiel 37 (Listen – 5:07)
Psalm 87-88 (Listen – 2:45)

Additional Reading
Read More about A Discipline for the Anxious
A recent Harvard study found that church attendance paired with spiritual disciplines such as meditation and prayer have a beneficial effect on mental health.

Read More about The Practice of Meditation :: Running
Meditative prayer is exercise to expand your spiritual lung capacity, allowing you to breathe in God’s spirit more naturally at any time—including during a crisis.

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