Did Jesus Meditate? Evidence From The Bible

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Published by Kimberly Wall


Co-Founder, Disciple Group Leader, Author

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In the contemporary landscape, people practice meditation to alleviate stress[1], quiet the restless mind, or embark on a profound journey of self-discovery.

Even in the midst of life’s turbulence, Christians too encounter the strains of existence, making them no exception to the yearning for solace and inner exploration that meditation offers. The devil will use all means at his disposal to strip us of our joy. Even Jesus Christ felt the pressure of being human.

As Jesus’ followers, being more Christ-like is one of our primary aspirations. Jesus retreated to the wilderness to pray on many occasions in the Bible. As we go more into the idea of biblical meditation, a debate naturally arises: Did Jesus meditate?

Where Does The Bible Mention Meditation?

There is no precise reference to the term “meditation” in the Bible. What sets apart the act of strolling in nature from the profound acts of prayer and meditation? To uncover the answer to the question, “Did Jesus meditate?” we shall embark on a journey through the four gospels, delving into the myriad hints and references to this spiritual practice.

The word “meditation” appears often in the Old Testament, notably in the Psalms. In keeping with the Psalms’ focus on lyrical expressions of praise and remembrance of God’s mighty acts, this is an appropriate arrangement. You may see this in action with the following examples:

  • “…but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night” (Psalm 1:2)
  • “My adversaries set traps to ensnare me, and those who wish me harm plot my downfall, contemplating deceit throughout the day” (Psalm 38:12)
  • “I said, ‘Let me remember my song in the night; let me meditate in my heart.’ Then my spirit made a diligent search…” (Psalm 77:6)
  • “I will ponder all your work and meditate on your mighty deeds” (Psalm 77:12)
  • “Even though princes sit plotting against me, your servant will meditate on your statutes” (Psalm 119:23)

According to Luke 5:15–16, “Yet the word about him spread all the more, and great crowds came to hear him and to be healed of their illnesses. But Jesus would often retreat to solitary locations to engage in prayer.”

Imagine Jesus being surrounded by people all the time as news of his teachings and miracles spreads. He went to be by himself with his father rather than straining himself and trying to reach as many individuals as he could in the limited time he had.

Did Jesus Meditate?

To a certain extent, and possibly of greater significance, it hinges on our interpretation of meditation. According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, “meditation is referenced only twice in the New Testament,” first by Jesus when addressing his disciples and subsequently by Paul in his communication with Timothy. This is according to a biblical understanding. The Gospels don’t record any specific instances of Jesus meditating.

However, Jesus’ petitions are frequently mentioned. In the Bible verses of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we uncover the sacred tapestry of Jesus withdrawing to solitary moments of prayer.

Picture, for instance, the evocative scene painted in Mark 1:35, where, under the shroud of pre-dawn darkness, he arose, departed from sheltered walls, and ventured to a remote haven, there to immerse himself in fervent communion through prayer.

Jesus seems to pray either in the early morning or late at night. So, we shouldn’t have a group prayer right now. Among the tapestries of Jesus’ prayers, some threads are woven with specific aims. As an illustration, within the pages of Luke 6:12–13, we find Jesus seeking divine counsel from his Father as he embarks on the momentous task of choosing his disciples.

Jesus’ prayers are most clearly shown to us in the Garden of Gethsemane during the Last Supper. In this prayer, Jesus reveals his humanity and seeks fortitude to endure the horrific death that lies ahead. It is beautifully expressed in Hebrews 5:7: “When living as a human, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to God who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence” (ESV).

In John 17, Jesus prays to the Father for the continued spiritual health of his disciples and discusses his three-year ministry on earth. In several places in the Gospels, Jesus withdraws from the crowds to pray to the Father alone, “as was his custom.”

Jesus was our best example in meditation, as in every other aspect of life. Jesus’ familiarity with Scripture, his one-on-one time with the Father, and the way he instructed other people to think and pray all point to his having spent time in prayer and meditation on God’s Word. Because he recognized the power of the Word to change heaven and earth, Jesus prayed using it.

When communicating with his heavenly Father, he was affirming his alignment with the truth about his own nature and seeking direction for his forthcoming actions. Consequently, individuals committed to emulating Christ’s behavior should not hesitate to explore the practice of meditation.

ancient courtyard with man sitting in the center meditating

Is There Evidence In The Bible That Jesus Meditated?

Not everything Jesus did can be directly compared to modern meditation practices, but a few aspects may be deduced from the Bible and history.

To begin, Jesus regularly spent long periods of time in solitary, prayerful reflection on the Scriptures. During this period, Jesus spent time in introspection, prayer, and thought. There are many similarities between the Jewish meditation practices of the Middle Ages and today’s modern meditation practices.

Second, certain religious leaders in Palestine around the time of Jesus were laying the groundwork for a new Jewish mystical tradition. The value of having one’s own mystical religious experience was rising in prominence among these groups.

Whether or not it makes sense to call regular prayer, contemplation, and the thought that Jesus engaged in “meditation” depends on the specific definition of the term being used.

How Did Jesus Meditate?

Christ Jesus is the embodiment of the Word. Everything in the Bible indicates that Jesus was born a human. Jesus was thus the physical representation of God’s Word.

Understanding the Bible was another point he made. Jesus said, “It is written: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4),” when Satan tempted him with food amidst hunger in the wilderness.

The remainder of the New Testament, including Paul’s writings as well as those of John, Jude, and Peter, exhorts Christians to reflect deeply on Jesus’ teachings. They want us to grow in Christlikeness and to yield fruit for the glory of God.

3 Questions To Ask If You’re Practicing Christian Meditation

Maybe you’re still wondering if the method you’ve been (or will be) using to meditate is respectful to Jesus. Here are three thought-provokers to consider:

1. Is The Belief That God Is The One God Being Upheld?

The answer to this question is rather obvious. God and several other deities from various religions are acknowledged by a wide variety of meditation resources, including websites, apps, publications, and organizations. They might be attempting to reach a wide demographic, yourself included.

A typical strategy? Using “the universe” to describe an impersonal entity that acts as a parent, nurturer, or protector, even though God made the cosmos, he hasn’t declared it to be a replacement for himself.

2. How Much Of The Emphasis Pertains To You?

An unhealthy focus on the ego is also present in many meditation tools, which brings us back to the first question. The “divine presence within yourself” or “the true source of” (insert great characteristic here) may be the subject of a meditation prompt.

Remembering that Christ provides for all your needs is important, but dwelling on the idea that you don’t need anything else is a mistake.

3. Is There Anything That Doesn’t Quite Sit Right While You Pray Using This Meditation Guide You’ve Found?

Of course, there are many reasons why we could feel “off,” including venturing beyond our usual routines. However, when we are off course, the Holy Spirit may cause us to experience discomfort in our bodies or minds. You may want to try a different method of meditation if this emotion persists throughout your time spent talking to God.

How Meditation Helps You Be A Doer Of The Word And Why It Matters Today

As followers of Jesus, knowing and obeying God’s Word takes precedence above all else. To the dispersed Jews, Jesus’ brother James wrote, “Do not only listen to the message and so fool yourself. Obey the instructions.”

Anyone who hears the word but fails to comply with it is like a man who looks in the mirror and then walks away without remembering what he even looks like. But those who do ponder the complete rule that sets people free and remain in it, not turning away from the things they have heard but putting them into practice, will be blessed in their efforts.

man sitting on cliff rock


Did Jesus, then, take time to reflect and meditate? If we take the word “meditate” in the sense of “ponder, consider, muse,” and if our objective is to get closer to God, hear the Father’s words more clearly, and receive greater wisdom, then we can say with certainty that yes, Jesus did meditate as he spent time alone in peaceful communion with his Father.

However, his meditation would have been different than the mindfulness meditation practiced today. Jesus meditated as a way to communicate with his Father and to open up his mind and soul to God’s Words. Perhaps it is this openness that we have to emulate in our meditation practice.

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