by Michael Mayer

My father, Pastor Reini Mayer, is valued for his clear gospel focus on preaching Christ for us, and justification by faith. He says I preach sanctification (how forgiveness from Christ lives itself out in us) much better than he did. My son Andreas, who is now studying for ministry, already works in evangelism on a university campus. I love how the Holy Spirit takes what is good and adds to that through successive generations.

God’s Spirit also works through Christian meditation. This includes any contemplative practice that allows the Holy Spirit to centre and grow us in Christ. It’s about God’s Word (which includes Jesus Christ) and God’s love coming alive in us.

Read Psalm 1:1-6.

What is the contrasting way to happiness offered in verses 1 and 2?

For the Jewish people the law was a gift from God. What does verse 2 invite them to do?

The word for meditate means to mouth words quietly, under your breath. What happens if you try doing that with a favourite Bible verse or phrase? Could this be a practice to use instead of some of the other things you mutter under your breath?

As New Testament people, everything is focused through Christ and the gift of forgiveness freely given to us.

As we spend time meditating on Jesus and his gift of forgiveness to us, what will our lives start to look like in verse 3? 

Read Psalm 46:10 – ‘Be still and know that I am God’. 

What is the invitation here? What is the connection between our stillness and knowing God?

Think of a situation where you usually ‘lose it’ or get stressed. Prayerfully picture yourself in that situation but do that in God’s presence. Look at yourself. What do you notice? Is there anything you want to tell God about what you notice? Does the Holy Spirit have any message for you?

An alternative meditation activity is to place your hands on the part of your body where you know God, or need to know God more. Let your hand rest there and be prayerfully still for a couple of minutes. What happens? How can you take some of this strength with you back into the pressure situation?

Read Romans 8:26-27.

This text reminds us that the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We don’t know how to pray, but the Spirit intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words.

When do you sigh? What is that expressing?

The connection between God’s Spirit and breathing (or wind) goes all the way back to Genesis 1:2 and 2:7. Our breathing can be a help to being with God.

As you pray, picture God’s Spirit coming into you. As you breathe out, release what needs to be let go of to God. Use a short Biblical phrase or words and say them silently as you breathe in and out. If you go off on a thought tangent or daydream, just come back to your phrase and your breathing.

As you meditate on these verses, know that you are a dearly loved child of God.

Pastor Michael Mayer is an accredited spiritual director and serves the congregation of Trinity Lutheran Church Ashmore in Queensland.

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