Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Benefits of Remembrance and Meditation

UV 2013/10000 Benefits of Remembrance and Meditation
When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches.
Psalm 63 v 6

When I was young, my primary school teacher taught me that empty vessels make the most noise while the meditation guru teaches us that we should empty our minds. The solution of this dilemma lies in constantly emptying our minds of negative thoughts, worries, bitterness, fears, doubts and regrets and to continually fill it with thoughts not of self but of the Lord. One can meditate on a million things with some benefit but to meditate on the Lord is the most beneficial. Meditation is not merely emptying the mind but filling it with thoughts about the Lord and the thoughts of the Lord. It is a good practice to start each day with prayer early in the morning and to end the day by remembering the Lord’s goodness and meditating on His love, His works, His ways and His Word. We can remember the various names and titles of the Lord and give Him praise and thanks for what each name and title means to us. Remembrance is good preparation for meditation. We can review whether we stayed connected with Him in spirit right through the day and examine if we have kept His Word that He gave us that morning. We can think about the attributes of love described by Paul in his first letter to Corinthians and check how the attributes of Christ fit that pattern as also to what extent the things we said and did that particular day conformed to that pattern. We can set our hearts right with God and others and not carry over anger or any other negative feeling into the next day. It is like the practice of bankers to close the account for the day by balancing the credits and debits. It cannot be left to the next day.

The “night watches” were durations of three hours each in which the Lord was worshipped in the Temple of Jehovah at Jerusalem. It kept the Jewish nation spiritually vigilant and safeguarded them. Similarly, off and on we too should set up a “night watch” where we spend time in the presence of the Lord, meditate and understand His will. During these times, we should pour out our hearts for our nations, ourselves and for the lives of our children. We can lift our problems, afflictions, challenges and burdens to the Lord and He will lift the heavy yoke off our shoulders and give us the peace and strength to bear it or make the load lighter by lifting it from our shoulders.

The seeds are planted by day in an instant but the roots grow all night. Remembering all the good things the Lord has done for us fills our souls with joy while meditating or practicing in depth thinking about the character, the love of Jesus, the power of the Holy Spirit, the grace of God fill us with peace and grace. Since this is the last thing we do every night, the thoughts and feelings will seep into our subconscious and take deep root. It will protect us from nightmares and give us the enabling power to fulfil our dreams and desires when we wake up on the morrow. It establishes the roots of our covenant relationship with the Lord. The act of remembrance fills us with gratitude and transforms our attitudes while we are sleeping. The act of meditation fills us with grace, peace and joy. Both together deepens our roots in Christ, increases and multiply the spiritual fruit or the finest qualities of character. What we think the previous night lays the foundation for the next day’s plans and activities. We can even keep a record of our thoughts and our Praisebook posts.

Prateep V Philip

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