The Psalms – A Multidimensional Prayer and Meditation Manual
Is God calling you deeper into his heart? How will you engage with him, relate to him and pray to him? Do you want to meet with God in the deep places of your heart through prayer, meditation and silence? Psalm 42 is a prayer of longing for God “as the deer pants for streams of water.” In verse 7 we read that “deep calls unto deep in the roar of your waterfalls”. This is no superficial or passing engagement with God. It involves a heart that is hungry and thirsty for the living God, who alone can satisfy the human soul. Ultimately only one thing really matters.
The Psalms are probably my favourite book of the Bible. In the Psalms we find every possible human emotion and desire expressed in prayer. They offer us an open doorway into a land less travelled by modern day believers because we tend to quickly read and then move onto something else that grabs our attention and focus. But the Psalms were not written in such a hurried way. Out of many hours of waiting on God, prayer and meditation, the poetic and imaginative writings of the Psalms beckon us to slow down and wade out into the deep waters of the Spirit. We are invited not only to read but to immerse ourselves in the very Presence of the Lord who inspired Scripture.
Instead of a skimming over of the surface meaning of the text we are invited to be fully present to God in each moment and to express our own hearts desires and longings to him. An exchange of presence takes places as we mindfully focus our attention on the reality that we are in Christ and that Christ is in us. Just as a branch is utterly dependent on being part of the Vine, so we are the branches and Christ himself is that Vine from whom our entire spiritual life, nourishment and vitality depends.
The Psalms express the whole kaleidoscope of human experience from joyful celebration to the depths of despair and grief – and everything in between. In the new Psalm Verse Meditations Menu on the Christian Mindfulness website, I have created 27 guided meditations which involve settling, grounding, resting, engaging with God in prayer, meditating and being with God. Each meditation lasts for 15 minutes and is focussed on only 1 or 2 verses of a Psalm. The menu is designed to be a bit like a multifaceted diamond. In each meditation, you are invited both to pray to God and also to befriend silence where you are not rushing away from the single truth which is in focus. Allow the Holy Spirit to take you by the hand and lead you into the depths of who God is – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The promise of Scripture is that as you gaze upon the Lord and contemplate who he is you will be inwardly transformed from glory to glory. It is absolutely essential that you are convinced of this process of transformation and engage with the practice of opening up your heart towards God in a focussed and disciplined way. The more you open up towards him and engage with Him in prayer and meditation, the more he can speak to you and touch your heart with his love and power.
My suggestion is that you engage with one Psalm Verse Meditation per week and seek to practice the guided meditation once or twice a day for 6 days out of 7 before moving on to the next one. You can also carry your meditation into the rest of your day and call to mind the particular verse during moments of pause or rest in the morning, afternoon and evening. You could write the verse down and carry it in your pocket, or memorise and recite the verse in your heart and mind. The more you engage with Him, the more his beauty can be formed in you. And the more his beauty is formed in you, the more your life will reveal the beauty of who God is.
For more details on the Psalm Verse Meditations Menu see here.
Richard H H Johnston
Director, Christian Mindfulness, Christian Contemplation and Christian CBT
© Richard H H Johnston