I have been thinking about meditation and prayer today, particularly in terms of how different understandings of Christianity can lead to different approaches to meditation.
You may recall my recent comments on the differences between Dispensational, Covenant and Christocentric theology? Well, how might that feed into a discussion on meditation and prayer? I would like to suggest, given Anabaptists tend to be radically Christocentric, that an Anabaptist approach to meditation should similarly be radically Christocentric. More so than Evangelical meditation, and even more so than Catholic and Orthodox meditation.
What could this mean in practice? Well, I find it leads me to stress New Testament teaching on mediation and prayer over Old Testament teaching. It’s not that I ignore the book of Psalms, I don’t and you’ll find ample evidence that I don’t in my mediation commentaries, but I value it as a secondary reference point to the prayers and teachings of the Messiah and the apostles who followed after him.
Moreover, I find it leads me to stress biblical teaching over the teaching of the desert fathers and medieval monastics (including the Celtic Christians by the way). I’ve long suggested as such, but here I’m giving a more concrete suggestion as to why.
Now, if you think this Christocentric approach rules out direct insight and God experience through mediation and prayer I would say no, not at all. But it does place emphasis on the need to evaluate general revelation in the light of special revelation, and emphasis on remembering who Jesus was and is and is to come as a mediative discipline.
So, I wonder if that stirs up any issues for you.