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Biblical Meditation 7 – Forming the habit

‘One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.’ Acts 3:1

Today we conclude our short foray into Biblical meditation with a few hints and tips that we hope will help to cement the habit into your devotional armoury.  Peter and John were probably deeply entrenched in the habit of prayer long before they met Jesus, as they were brought up within the Jewish faith, and the fact that they were in Jerusalem, with easy access to the temple, was just a bonus for them.  They paused for prayer regularly, as naturally as breathing.  It was their proximity to the Messiah that revolutionised their praying and their walk with God, as the rest of this passage goes to prove (Acts 3:1-10).  Perhaps you could use this as today’s meditation.

As with any new habit, it takes perseverance to form over a period of time, until it becomes habitual!  Some estimate this at around two months, but others say that it all depends on the individual and the habit that is being formed, and could take anywhere between two weeks and 250 days…  Perseverance is highly regarded in the New Testament, so if you are looking for a new challenge during lock-down, this could be it.

Some long time ago I came across a book called ‘Jesus and Peter’ by John L Bell and Graham Maule, which is a series of imagined conversations between the Lord and His disciple.  Apart from teaching some very good lessons about Jesus, they give an interesting and amusing peek into what life might have been like for Jesus and His little band, and stimulate further imaginative musing.  (The latest version of this book is published by Wild Goose Publications and is available from www.ionabooks.com).  Surely life for the disciples can’t always have been scratching heads trying to figure out what on earth He meant by His teaching?  They were a group of blokes – they must have had a laugh every now and then.  If curry had been available, they would have consumed vast quantities in their three years together!

Music is another powerful tool.  People have been using it for years to illustrate Bible stories; think of Handel’s Messiah.  You don’t have to be a classical music aficionado to be moved by the power of the Hallelujah Chorus.  There is a story that King George II was so moved when he heard it that he stood to his feet, obliging everyone else in the theatre to do the same.  Whether it’s true or not, the audience still stands whenever the chorus is performed to this day.

A friend recently wrote to me on the subject:

“I have my quiet time early in the morning, before anything else happens in the day.  I think it’s important to say that sometimes this is a bit like breaking rocks or toiling in the desert – hard work.  However, sometimes my seemingly unrelated meditation on Scripture unravels a knot or reveals the answer to a problem or sets my mind on a decision.  If it’s a decision, I imagine I’m bringing the situation, written on a scroll to God just as King Hezekiah did and then I see if it sinks down into the depths of my soul or not (see 2 Kings 19:14).

I find that walking is a good activity for meditation.  I would suggest that it’s good to set some time aside when you and God can be alone together.”

There are many more methods and aids that you can use, but the aim of it all is to get closer to God through His Word.  Our prayer is that you continue to do so, and that, when the Covid-19 restrictions are finally lifted, you will be strengthened in your faith and in your use of Biblical meditation.

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