Anyone else feeling reinvigorated in their relationship with the Lord from this past Easter weekend?! Given that this is promptly following Easter Sunday, it felt very timely to talk about faith in this meditation series. Many people seem to question how faith can merge with meditation, so I wanted to provide some perspective. I know this is a touchy topic for some people, but sometimes it’s good to step into places of discomfort and unknown. And even if this isn’t your belief system, it can be healthy to learn from others who see things differently! As with all of my content, you can take it or leave it, implement it or X out of this article. Nonetheless, here goes 😉
The beautiful thing about blending these two practices is that you create mental openness through meditation, which then allows your prayer and God’s word to cultivate more clearly. Whether you want to call it mindfulness, meditation, resting with the Lord, or any other variation, think of the beginning of your quiet time as a space to clear your thoughts. This is the time to focus on the tactics I shared in A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation. These are the practices that calm your mind and your central nervous system. The deep breathing, the drifting of thoughts and the comfortable setting, all let your body know that it’s ok to relax; it’s ok to turn off the fight or flight mode that so many of us function in on a daily basis. This step is key in creating space to more deeply connect with God in your prayer life.
Once you are fully relaxed and your mind is clear, this is the time to allow your faith to step in. You can use this time to listen to God or to more actively “talk” with Him. Maybe you have a few items on your prayer list that need some discussing. Or maybe you need His guidance and simply listening is what will step you closer to Him and His plan for you. Allow yourself to explore your mind in partnership with God. Understand your thoughts, feelings and emotions, with Him guiding you along the way, coaching you through life, just as He does.
I also encourage you to think about praying for others during this time. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own struggles, that we lose sight of the situations around us that need an outpouring of love. And it often benefits us as well, to pull the attention away from our problems and onto benefiting the lives of others. There should be a beautiful balance of caring for yourself and for those around you. After all, that’s what life is about, right?
So now that you have an understanding of blending your faith practices with meditation, let’s talk through the action steps. I want to strongly caveat this with saying that there is no “right” way to do this. Let this experience be unique to you! Maybe you pull some of my ideas and add in some of your own. Maybe you throw out these ideas all together and find a beautiful new way to bring faith into your meditation practice! These are just some of the things that have worked for me and are a great starting point if you are seeking guidance.
- Follow the steps laid out in A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation, until you are fully relaxed and your mind is clear. (Consider setting your alarm for 15 minutes and transition into the following steps whenever feels right amidst your meditation. Maybe you jump into prayer 4 minutes in, maybe it takes til the 12 minute mark to relax. Know that all mindfulness work is beneficial, so if your entire session ends up being meditation that’s ok. And on the flip side, if you pray for 15 minutes, that is also great!)
- As you feel your body fully relax and your mental space opens up, begin your conversation with God. Pray, listen, laugh, whatever His word brings to you, just let it happen. I often go through the following sequence:
- I start by giving gratitude for the day, my life, my pup, my warm bed, and anything else that really struck me as beautiful that day.
- Then I dive into prayer for the things in my life, for which I am seeking guidance.
- Finally I take time to pray for others who are in need. I usually have a few particular people that I know have requested prayer or could use some extra love, and talk to God about their situations, praying for renewed strength in their unique scenarios.
- As your alarm goes off, remember that there is always the option to snooze it for a bit longer, if you are deep in the middle of your prayers and want some extra time!
If you walk in faith and this feels like helpful guidance, I am so excited for you to give it a try and see how your prayer life and mindfulness can transform. If you are not currently connected in faith and are thinking “Gee Reed, this all sounds a little crazy to me,” I completely understand and also want to call out that just a few years ago, I was in the same spot. There is no way in you-know-where, that I would have been caught writing and sharing this article 4 years ago, but there are amazing things that happen when you deepen your relationship with God 🙂
Check out the other articles in this meditation series:
A Beginner’s Guide to Meditation