You and I have a lot of choices in this life. One of the many important things that I have learned through taking a Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction class and incorporating my faith with it is that daily time in prayer and solitude plus daily meditation can change your entire outlook on everything.
When you think of pain or purpose, which will you choose? I have a choice, and so do you. How I think about things directly affects how I live my life.
When the noise all around me calls to me, I can choose. I can choose to shift my mind back to God through stillness (solitude), prayer, and daily meditation. That is what I am going to discuss in this article – the benefits of daily meditation, prayer, and solitude time with God.
Did you know that in the Bible, meditation and being in solitude are mentioned over and over? Jesus often went alone to a mountain top or hillside to be alone, pray to God, and meditate on his Word. When I began to look this up in the Bible a while ago, knowing the benefits of daily mediation and solitary prayer time, I was astonished at how many times it is mentioned.
I believe that God wants us to reflect, talk to Him, pray, and meditate on His Word, clearing and renewing our minds through daily meditation. The Bible also uses the metaphor of us being like the trees out in nature and experiencing this restoration.
Here are some Scriptures that speak to the subject:
Jeremiah 17:8 and Psalm 1:3 both instruct us to be like firmly planted trees:
They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. – Jeremiah 17:8
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither – whatever they do prospers. – Psalm 1:3
In my humble opinion, daily meditation heals and renews your mind and body, and several Scriptures back up what I have personally experienced in my daily life. I teach and counsel all my clients along these lines and encourage them to use this in their daily self-care practices as well.
Here are a few Scriptures that discuss meditation:
But whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. – Psalm 1:2
Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. – Joshua 1:8
He went out to the field one evening to meditate, and as he looked up, he saw camels approaching. – Genesis 24:63
I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways. – Psalm 119:15
I have more insight than all my teachers, for I meditate on your statutes. – Psalm 119:99
When I began to think about how much daily meditation, prayer, and solitude time has affected my life in amazing ways, I wanted to search the Bible to see what Jesus’ practice was. And to my amazement, He did many similar things when He was here on earth.
He was sought out by so many for advice and healing (amongst other things) that He needed this solitude to renew His mind, to restore His body, and to rejuvenate His purpose for being here on this earth. Because I am made in His image, I believe I have found a secret that He wants us all to find. We must just make the choice whether to pursue Him and follow His lead or not.
I am a wife, a mom, a counselor, a woman, a sister, a daughter, a friend, a cousin, an aunt, etc. The list goes on and on, and at times it is a lot of shoes to fill. I get tired and weary just like I believe Jesus did.
But when I pray in solitude, practice daily meditation, or just use the quiet time to reflect and renew my mind by reading His Word, saying His Word, writing His purposes for my life, I feel brand new. He renews, restores, and refreshes my soul, just as the Bible promises that He will, and I cannot keep that a secret, because if it helps me this much, it can help so many others as well.
The question is whether you want to know Him and pursue Him and a relationship with Him that will change your life? The choice is up to you. I cannot believe that I lived most of my life not choosing Him in this way, and not trusting Him with everything.
I continue to practice letting go and trusting Him with everything I am and everything that I have. When I do that, my soul can rest and I can rest, knowing He is never going to leave me or let me down. I do not have to be in control anymore, because He is.
I do not have to worry anymore, because He works it out for me. I do not have to be sad for long, because He sits with me in my sadness and shows me where the joy is shining through. I do not have to be perfect in everything I do, because He forgives my mistakes and shows me how to get back up and try again.
How often did Jesus practice solitude and daily prayer or quiet time for Himself while on earth?
Here is what I found in the Bible:
After performing miracles:
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed. – Mark 1:35
In times of grief:
Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat to a desolate place by himself. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. – Matthew 14:13
Before choosing His twelve disciples:
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he called apostles. – Luke 6:12-13.
And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation. And he withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and knelt and prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground. – Luke 22:39-44.
These are powerful verses. The description of what Jesus did on earth is very apparent. He needed this time of solitude to pray to God and meditate on His Word. It restored, renewed, healed, and energized His soul to go on. We all need this type of renewal, and I believe we should be seeking it out daily.
Otherwise, how do you restore and renew yourself? You may try the ways of this world, as I did in my younger years. But I can tell you that eventually, time and the ups and downs of life will catch up with you. Jesus’ example is the only way to restore your soul and renew your mind.
He needed to be alone, He needed to pray, He needed to meditate and be quiet, He needed the Father, and He needed to do it alone, by Himself in a desolate and quiet place. If Jesus needed this, then we desperately need it as well. We are not meant to do this life alone, but we are meant to do it with God alone. He calls us to, just as He called Jesus to do the same.
What do you currently do to renew your mind and refresh your soul? Do you think what you are doing will always help you, or is it fleeting, as most things in this life are? You can rest assured that Jesus is not fleeting, nor are His Word or His example.
Many things in this life will temporarily give you relief or make you think you are rested and restored, but they will not last forever. Jesus and His Word and example while on earth will last forever.
He wants to share it with anyone and everyone who will listen and believe in Him and that He is all-knowing, all-powerful, and always out for our good. So, if you decide that you are tired of this world’s temporary relief, which I became tired of myself, then you are not alone. There is restoration and renewal for your soul.
Some of the ways that I teach my clients to utilize self-care in this way are as follows:
- Daily meditation (5-45 minutes a day)
- Prayer/solitude time with God (as many minutes as you want to spend)
- Reading the Bible or inspirational literature (15-30 minutes a day)
- Writing/reflecting in journals (15-30 minutes a day)
- Being out in nature and practicing meditation, prayer time with God, expressive mediums such as writing, reading, art, music, etc. (15-30 minutes)
- Talking or processing with a close family member or friend about your thoughts, feelings, emotions regarding how you are doing that day (5-60 minutes a day)
And lastly, to conclude this article, I will share some information that has served me well. I have read a lot of Joyce Meyer’s books. For those who do not know her, she is a renowned Christian speaker/evangelist, author, and mom to four grown children, still happily married. She went through horrible abuse in her childhood, and to see how she has used her life to serve God is incredibly admirable to me.
I love her books, but my favorite which I am now on my third time of reading is called, “Power Thoughts.” In it, she discussed twelve strategies to win the battle in your mind. She discusses in many of her books that our minds are the battlefield in this world and that God gives us a shield in the Spirit and a sword in his Word to fight them.
I love this book the most because the thoughts are so good and help me to battle anything negative that comes my way every day.
The twelve power thoughts are as follows:
- I can do whatever I need to do in life through Christ.
- God loves me unconditionally.
- I will not live in fear. (My absolute favorite one.)
- I am difficult to offend.
- I love people and I enjoy helping them.
- I trust God completely – there is no need to worry!
- I am content and emotionally stable.
- God meets all my needs abundantly.
- I pursue peace with God, myself, and others.
- I live in the present and enjoy each moment. (This is where meditation and mindfulness come in.)
- I am disciplined and self-controlled.
- I put God first in my life.
What I love most about these is that anyone reading her book can put them into practice immediately. She gives you the tools to do so and I can tell you from experience that it works! I am often reciting these statements to myself with the verse from the Bible to back it up.
It has helped me to stop being fearful in the moment of something scary, it has helped me to stop worrying and give it to God and let go, and it has helped me to continue to trust that Jesus is with me in my everyday life. All I need to do is stop and talk to Him, tell Him what I need, or thank Him for what He has done, and then trust and let go.
If you need a counselor to help you work through some issues that you are facing, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will do my best to help you and if I cannot be of service to you, then I will help you find someone else who can do so.
You are not alone in this life, nor does God want you to feel that way, ever. You are His beloved child; trust that He brought you here for a reason. God bless you and take care of yourself in this ever-changing world we find ourselves in.
Lastly, here is one of my favorite verses from the Bible to encourage you:
For I was not made with a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and self-discipline. – 2 Timothy 1:7
“Sunset Over the Lake”, Courtesy of Pexels, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Green Carpeted Forest”, Courtesy of Jplenio, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Meditation”, Courtesy of Leninscape, Pixabay.com, CC0 License; “Open Bible”, Courtesyof Free-Photos, Pixabay.com, CC0 License