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Meditation vs. Prayer

by Norman P. Grubb

July-Aug 1981 Union Life Magazine

Q. Please give me some ideas of meditation—how it differs from prayer, how to achieve it, and how it can contribute to spiritual progress.

Eloise L., Massachusetts

A. You ask a mighty big question in one sentence! The simplest answer is to say that what your mind is set on, that you meditate upon. So meditation is not some difficult-looking thing to be attained by great saints. Indeed it is not an “attainment,” which would imply laborious self-effort, at all. It is an inevitability once the inner light is lit in you that (according to Paul’s teaching all through his letter to the Romans, and as highlighted succinctly in Galatians 2:20) by coming into union with Christ you “died” to your old life, which was Satan expressing himself in his independent quality of life in you (Eph. 2:1-3), and in Christ’s resurrection you became instead the permanent expressor of Christ, for He is now in you and lives as you.

You are no longer in your former self-effort union with Satan (sin dwelling in you), but are now in a spontaneous new union with Christ, with Him as the real life in you. Get that settled by a faith recognition of what God says is a fact—meditate on that. Move into awareness of it by the once-for-all word of faith which affirms it is true despite the feelings and appearances described in Romans 7, which suggest that you are still indwelt by sin. Experience the inner witness of the Spirit (1 Jn. 5:10) to that faith which says that you are living in Romans 8. When you get this fact of your fixed union with Christ settled, you won’t be able to stop meditating.

So don’t “try” to meditate. Be yourself in your total faith relationship with Him, and you just will meditate as the Spirit does His thinking by you. Meditation will be your inner habit of thought as He operates in you, as you, in your daily life. Often it will be a subconscious realization that constitutes meditation. Sometimes there will be periods when your “mind is stayed on Him.” And at other times the written Scripture will light up sentence by sentence. Meditating is entirely natural for you when you have a settled awareness of your oneness with Christ.