OASIS OF PEACE
Six steps of meditative prayer
Choose an appropriate location. Most people find that meditation is best in quiet, uncluttered surroundings, ideally away from where they work or spend most of their waking hours. A secluded spot outside can be especially conducive. Fresh air not only renews us physically, but it also helps to illustrate how God's Spirit can clear our minds and spirits.
Take time to wind down. It's nearly impossible to immediately go from the affairs of a busy day into a state of deep meditative prayer. Sometimes it helps to spend a few minutes on a transitional activity to phase out the material world, such as listening to soothing music, taking a short walk, or breathing deeply. As you try different things, you'll find what works best for you.
Leave your cares at His feet. If problems are distracting you and weighing you down, they'll hinder the peace you could receive through meditation. Take a minute or two (or as long as you like) to give your present cares to Jesus in prayer. Be specific. Describe to Him what is troubling you, and ask Him to lift and bear it. Focus on God's ability to bring solutions, rather than on the problems themselves. “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”
Get relaxed. Several minutes of gentle stretches and deep breathing, followed by a relaxation exercise (concentrate on relaxing your face and neck, then your entire body, part by part), can help. If you're feeling especially tense, a shower or a bath or a short walk in nature might help you relax. Or if you're very tired, a nap may be just the thing, because if you're exhausted, you may not benefit as much from your time of meditation.
Select a comfortable position. In meditation, the position of your spirit matters much more than the position of your body. You don't have to sit a certain way—or even sit, for that matter— except of course you should be comfortable, so you can more easily focus your thoughts and mind.
Meditate. You've found an appropriate spot and wound down physically. You've put your problems and cares into Jesus' very capable hands. You've disconnected from the affairs of the day and are relaxed and comfortable. Now you're ready to begin a time of meditation.
You might choose to focus on Jesus Himself, thinking about one of His attributes, or on some special blessing He has brought into your life. A specific thought from God's Word can also be a subject for meditation. Reading a passage from the Bible, one of the “From Jesus with Love” messages that are on the back page of each issue of Activated, or some other short devotional material may help get you started. For more meditation ideas, see the “Spiritual Exercise” columns available on the Activated website.
Peace on the outside comes from knowing Jesus on the inside. You can do that by simply inviting Him into your heart:
Dear Jesus, I want to know You and enjoy Your peace. Please come into my life, give me Your peace, and help me get to know You better and grow in the Holy Spirit and the knowledge of Your Word. Amen.