It was F.A. Hayek that said, “when words lose their meaning, people will lose their liberty.” I can’t think of a word where this is more true, at least for Christians, than the word “meditation”. Maybe it was because of the Beatles and their affection for the Maharishi that brought about this change, but now, sadly, the word “meditation” is most often associated with Eastern/New Age practices than with the Biblical practice of meditation.
From the new book by Pastor David W. Saxton, God’s Battle Plan for the Mind, The Puritan Practice of Biblical Meditation, we see a brilliant and worth effort to reclaim the word for what is in reality a historically Biblical practice. In the book, Pastor Saxton provides a definition along with a word picture from one of his many Puritan quotes: “What does it mean to meditate? It means to think personally, practically, seriously, and earnestly on how the truth of God’s Word should look in life. Edmund Calamy described it as ‘dwelling upon the mercies we receive, the chewing upon the promises’.” Later in the same chapter, Saxton will quote from Puritan Divine, Thomas Watson, on the benefits of Biblical Meditation, “A Christian enters into meditation as a man enters into the hospital, that he may be healed. Meditation heals the soul of its deadness and earthliness.” Trust me when I say this, there is more where that came from.
This book is very well researched, highly quotable, and imminently relevant. The book describes the vast benefits of meditation, both on Scripture (deliberate meditation) and on God’s creation (occasional meditation). He successfully pulls from the heavy labor of the Puritans from generations gone by so that today’s Christian, overwhelmed with distraction and superficiality are able to recover the Biblical practice of meditation.
This is an easy endorsement, but it goes even further. This is the best book of the year, thus far, and may be the most impactful modern book that I’ve read in the last couple of years. This book needs to be owned by all Christians who are serious about growing their faith. For pastors, this book is a must own, the same for fans of Puritan theology and practice. Every church library should have a copy and those that acquire a copy should be sure that their friends and loved ones have a copy as well.
The book ends with a simple, practical prescription to aid the reader in putting these things into practice. There we find this quote, “We can never shoot the arrow of meditation straight unless the bow of prayer is first bent back with wholehearted submission. Prayer draws strength from God as a generator draws its churning energy from steam. In turn, when the believer bathes meditation in prayer, Christ receives the glory for the task well accomplished.” Like I said, this is a treasure trove of quotes and anecdotes.
I pray that our Lord blesses Pastor Saxton for this labor of love to the Body of Christ.