Lord, hear my prayer, listen to my cry for mercy; in your faithfulness and righteousness come to my relief. Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you. The enemy pursues me, he crushes me to the ground; he makes me dwell in the darkness like those long dead. So my spirit grows faint within me; my heart within me is dismayed. I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. I spread out my hands to you; I thirst for you like a parched land.
– Psalm 143:1-6
“Among Christians of all ages and of varying shades of doctrinal emphasis there has been fairly full agreement on one thing: They all believed that it was important for the Christian with serious spiritual aspirations should learn to meditate long and often on God.
“Let a Christian insist on rising above the poor average of current religious experience and he will soon come up against the need to know God Himself as the ultimate goal of all Christian doctrine… To know God well he must think on Him unceasingly. Nothing that man has discovered about himself or God has revealed any shortcut to pure spirituality. It is still free, but tremendously costly.”
– Rev. A. W. Tozer, That Incredible Christian
King David looked at meditation from a different angle altogether. Read Psalm 139. Here are verses 7 through 12. “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.”
When looking at these verses, meditation at bedtime and meditation when we rise is the Holy Spirit seeking us. Remember, God loves us and wants us to grow closer to Him.
Oswald Chambers looked at meditation as a cleansing of the soul. If we cleansed only at the conscious level, may God have mercy on us, for we can become numb to sin. We can hide sin in the recesses of our mind. We can excuse sin as a necessary evil. For example, “It’s just business.” Chambers concludes with, “It is only when we are protected by God with the miraculous sacredness of the Holy Spirit that our spirit, soul, and body can be preserved in pure uprightness until the coming of Jesus – no longer condemned in God’s sight. We should more frequently allow our minds to meditate on those great, massive truths of God.”
My wife used to complain that she’d wake in the middle of the night and be unable to go back to sleep. Now she says that it is God calling. She gets up and digs into God’s word.
I find both early morning and bed time are great times to study God’s word, but then again, all the time in between is a great time, if you have the time. The morning starts the day in the right direction. When that morning devotion and meditation time is disrupted, I feel it all day long. I feel that the day is simply wasted, and it will take bedtime to hit the rest button. Mid-day prayers and devotions help a little, but it nags at me. The bedtime devotions help with my lifelong battle with insomnia.
The problem is that we are too busy. When Martin Luther had a busy day, he spent even more time in prayer. He didn’t HAVE the time. He MADE the time.
You don’t have to read three devotions, a chapter in the Bible, and 20+ Christian blogs each morning, and then follow that with two devotions before bed. Howard Chandler Christy, the artist, wrote, “Every morning I spend fifteen minutes filling my mind full of God, and so there’s no room left for worry.”
Take from Rev. Tozer the zeal to know God better. Take the artist Christy’s thoughts of trust against worry. And fill your soul with the Holy Spirit, as Oswald Chambers suggests, to cleanse us to pure uprightness. Meditation is important in every Christian’s life.
But beware. Remember Rev. Tozer’s final words in this quote. “It is still free, but tremendously costly.”
What does he mean? When we go “all in” for God, it costs us nothing. And it costs us everything. As we cross over each threshold along the road to pure sanctification to become more like Jesus, we leave a little more of this world behind. The ultimate threshold, as we breathe our last, we give up all of this world, but we gain a new world, a new life, and a new adventure.