The Discipline of Meditation

Lesson 1998
Tags: Meditation
Excerpted from “Just a Closer Walk with Thee”: Spiritual Disciplines for Devotional Vitality
Related Resources: The Discipline of Bible Assimilation: Meditation

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.” (Josh 1.8).

“Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.” (Ps 19.14).


  • Meditation is commanded in Scripture (Josh 1.8). The Psalms discuss meditation quite a bit, especially Psalm 119. This chapter, dealing entirely with the Word of God, teaches us that meditation is a matter of discipline and determination (vv 15, 148); that it should ideally be a constant activity (v 97); and that it can help us acquire spiritual understanding (v 99).


Meditation Internalizes Spiritual Truth

“Slowly and prayerfully turning over Scripture in this manner engages the eyes, the ears, and the mouth, and drills through the granite to the heart—maximizing internalization and devotion” ( Hughes 84).

  • Profitable meditation demands that our minds be familiar—even saturated—with the Word of God. Scriptures committed to memory are a tool that God can use to enrich our lives through the discipline of meditation.
  • Meditation should include self-examination and self-assessment.

Meditation and Reading Are Mutually Dependent

“Reading without meditation will be useless; meditation without reading will be barren.”—Thomas Shepard II, 17th-century New England minister, to a son newly enrolled at Harvard College

  • Meditation can aid in the development of moral convictions.
  • It is profitable to record some of your meditations in a spiritual journal of sorts. Then, at an appropriate time, you can read your own writings for the purposes of encouragement and enjoyment.


Challenge the participants to practice the discipline of meditation at least once during the coming week, then be prepared to report to the whole group the following session.

Further Reading

Foster, Richard J. “The Discipline of Meditation.” Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth. Rev. ed. New York: HarperSanFrancisco, 1988. 15-32.

Hughes, R. Kent. “Discipline of Devotion.” Disciplines of a Godly Man. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books, 1991. 81-91.

O’Connor, Elizabeth. Search for Silence. Waco: Word, 1972.


Hindrances to Spiritual Intimacy

• Busyness/routine

• Fear of the unknown

• Fear of the cost of spiritual intimacy

• Lack of privacy

• Emotional imbalance

• Illness/poor physical condition

• Lack of biblical knowledge

• Lack of church involvement

• Unconfessed sin/spiritual disarray