Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
Psalm 1: 1-3
There are few things I enjoy more than talking with a good conversationalist, someone easy to talk to, a good listener who keeps the conversation moving along. God is the supreme conversationalist, par excellence. God is easy to talk to; He always listens and keeps the conversation going. That, in a sense, makes prayer easy. As Tim Keller says in his book on prayer: “Prayer is the continuation of a conversation that God has started.” (Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God)
Listening to the Word of God for the conversation that God has started gets us going in powerful, effective prayer. The Puritan cleric Thomas Manton prescribed: “What we take in by the Word we digest by meditation and let it out in prayer.” (Quoted by Donald Whitney, Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life)
If there ever is a Hall of Fame for Great ‘Pray-ers’, then George Mueller will surely be in it. Mueller was a Prussian immigrant in England troubled by the homeless orphans he saw on Bristol’s streets. Mueller’s daily custom was to read the Bible on his knees and start praying. He liked to get on his knees, poised, ready to turn into prayer what he read in God’s Word. Mueller read, meditated, listened for God voice, and as he said, “asked God for great and mighty things.” Mueller said that he wanted to prove to the world that there is a God and that He hears and answers our prayers.
God did answer in such a way that Mueller housed, fed and educated over 10,000 orphans without ever talking to anyone but God about his needs. He literally prayed in the equivalent of millions of dollars for the orphans. Mueller looked to meditation on Scripture to show him how to pray. In his autobiography Mueller told how Scripture guided and fueled his prayers:
Now I saw, that the most important thing I had to do was to give myself to the reading of the Word of God and to meditation on it… The first thing I did, after having asked in a few words the Lord’s blessing upon His precious Word, was to begin to meditate on the Word of God; searching, as it were, into every verse, to get blessing out of it… The result I have found to be almost invariably this, that after a very few minutes my soul has been led to confession, or to thanksgiving, or to intercession, or to supplication; so that though I did not, as it were, give myself to prayer but to meditation, yet it turned almost immediately more or less into prayer. (Autobiography of George Mueller)
Like many before him and after him, Mueller proved prayer as the continuation of a conversation God has already started in His Word. Meditation on God’s Word is essential for powerful praying, proving that God does exist and that He does great and mighty things.
- The dictionary defines “to meditate” as: to focus one’s thoughts on; to spend time in quiet reflection or pondering. Take a few moments “to meditate” on today’s Scripture text, Psalm 1: 1-3. Note: the Hebrew word translated “the law of God” is torah. Torah is a word picture of a finger pointing to the right way to go; Torah is best understood as the “instruction” of the Lord.
- After meditating on Psalm 1: 1-3, keep the conversation with God going. Talk with Him about your meditation, your thoughts and feelings about the text, or anything else He stirs in you.
“To respond to God in prayer, we must listen to his Word. This means taking time to meditate on some portion of the Bible as a bridge to prayer.”
Timothy Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God