A Biblical Prayer Mediation Exercise
Tommy Belk M.A.; M.Div.; LPC
(This exercise works better if you hear it while you follow along, working it out inside yourself. You can have somebody else just read this and guide you through, or you, by yourself, can put this on a tape player and guide yourself.)
This is a Biblical mediation exercise you can do along with Pauls own mental process found in Philippians 4:11-13.
Paul, when he wrote this, was stuck in jail maybe facing a death sentence, was low on money, had "hornet angry" Jewish enemies pressing him, guys were running around messing up the churches he poured his life into, he was getting older, he was physically not comfortable, and there is more "stuff" out there he could have focused on. But instead he, in this short book, used the word "joy" the most times anywhere in the Bible and was having a great time. How did he do it?
The clues are all over the book, especially in chapter 4. I want to look specifically at chapter 4 verses 11-13 just to see better how he ran his brain to be in such a great state of mind. He says, "Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in Him Who strengthens me."
Lets start by thinking of a particular problem situation you remember as a scene in your mind, or one you are now facing. Close your eyes and think of a scene in which you wish you could have been more resourceful. Let me know when you have found that? (Pause) And now we are going to build together Pauls pattern of thinking about approaching that based on what Paul did with his mind in Philippians 4:11-13.
First of all notice in this verse that Paul choose not to complain about his problems or let them bother him. Although he had a realistic understanding of these problems he refused to let his mind go out and attach to and react to all the "stuff" going on. Instead, he sent his mind inside where he says he had learned a secret about being content in all circumstances, no matter how good or bad. And then Paul stepped up higher and appraised himself in self reflection as somebody who believed I can do all things because of who I am is in Christ Who is the One that strengthens me. That is exactly what we want to do now.
So, first of all when was a time in your own life when you really enjoyed learning something? Go be there now -- fully and completely, and see the scene in your mind, hear what you heard, and feel what you felt in your body -- NOW. Just allow yourself to access such a time just to try it on and remember that learning state, and taste how good that works. Spend as long as you need there to fully get into what that was or would be like. (Pause)
So now, once again, think when was a time in your life you really were content no matter what was going on around you, or imagine, if you need to, what that would be like. Go be there now -- fully and completely, and see such a scene in your mind, hear what you heard, and feel what you felt in your body -- NOW. If you would, allow yourself to access such a time to try it on and remember that contentment state and experience how good that works. Spend as long as you need there to fully get into what that was or would be like. (Pause)
Next, think when was a time in your life you really were into a "I-can-do" attitude and you really felt that you had confidence and choice about it, or imagine what such a scene would be for you. Go be there now -- fully and completely, and see the scene in your mind, hear what you heard, and feel what you felt in your body -- NOW. Let yourself to access such a time just to try it on and remember that "I-can-do" state and taste how good that works. Spend as long as you need there to fully get into what that was or would be like. (Pause)
And now think when was a time in your life you really felt accepted and loved for being who I am "in Christ," being in the grace of God because of what Christ has done. Or imagine what such a scene would be for you. Go be there now -- fully and completely, and see this scene in your mind, hear what you heard, and feel what you felt in your body -- NOW. Just allow yourself to access such a time to experience being that and remember that time of knowing who I am being loved and accepted "in Christ" and savor how good that works. Spend as long as you need there to fully get into what that was or would be like. (Pause)
And while you are there, think on and mediate on what Paul in the Bible teaches about the secure, untouchable, solid position you have as who "I am in Christ." Self esteem is not a thing you have or not, but is a process you are always seeking to do. The key to constant, positive self esteeming is locating your self appraisal in positive "givens" above life where lifes stressors cant touch, take away, and destroy. Remember that Paul was constantly saying things like nothing in all creation, whether death itself, any supernatural powers, or wherever you go in the universe can separate us from the love of God in Christ, Romans 8:38-39. This love in Christ is the "given," un-movable basis of us being more than conquerors in life, verse 37. (Pause)
And remember and mediate on the truth that because of the doctrine of justification by faith in Christ, you can appraise and esteem yourself as Im pleasing just as I am, no matter how I perform or achieve anything. And because of Gods reconciliation, I am totally acceptable and accepted no matter what people are doing or how they want to be pleased. And because of Christs atonement, that is, His propitatiation, and because of my regeneration and the Holy Spirit in me, I am deeply loved no matter what. I dont have to needlessly beat myself up when I fail, even though God has His times for me to be convicted of sin and to repent. But, even then, I live in the kind and gentle grace in Christ. I am made new and I am constantly growing with the gracious power and presence of the Spirit, who lives inside and is with me. (Pause)
And finally, think when was a time in your life when you personally encountered God in worship and it was very rich. Or imagine what such a scene would be for you. Go be there now -- fully and completely, and see that scene in your mind, hear what you heard, and feel what you felt in your body -- NOW. As we have been saying, permit yourself to access such a time just trying it on and remember that time of worshiping God and taste how good that works. Spend as long as you need there to fully get into what that was or would be like. (Pause)
In the Scriptures God told Jeremiah in chapter 1, verse 4 that, "Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I set you apart." This means that somewhere in eternity, before the worlds ever began, you, and each of us, were a thought in the mind of God. In prayer, in your mind, imagine, if you havent already done it, and only do it in your imagination, that you are floating way up out of your body being with God taking a heavenly view of yourself from up above looking down here.
And as you look down from what your mind understands as being a heavenly point of view, you can see the time line of your life, the flow of all your stored memories, going way back, even way back to when you were in your mothers womb. And because eternity is an eternal now to God and we have, as the writer says in the book of Ecclesiastes, "eternity in our hearts," being created in Gods image, you can also still see who you are right now, and all you hope to be going out into the future, even as you are moving towards that time when we will be heaven.
As you are up there seeing your whole life with God, imagine floating back, way back through all your time, going back over your time line, and keeping going back to the idea of beyond when you were being born, and you were then in eternity as just a thought in the mind of God. And now, from that point of view with God, before you were born, you are at the place of Gods infinite potential. What do you see that God wants to do with your life? (Pause) What does God want to do with all your sins, and burdens, and pains? (Pause) What is happening as you look? (Pause) Is there any worship you want to do? (Pause)
And as you move forward to the present and you are still looking down from a heavenly point of view with God at who you are now, what thoughts and attitudes from His Word in the Scriptures does He want you to build to live under that will be your best guides to navigate under as you move through life into the future? These are beliefs and values to have and live under. (Pause) Is there any more worship you want to do? (Pause)
And now remember the specific problem we first asked you to think about at the beginning of all this. From this new perspective of having your heart seeking God and your mind set with God, bring this to bear on how you now see the problem. (Pause) What does that do to the problem? (Pause)
And now that you are in that very resourceful state of worship, and are being and thinking with your mind set above with God, remember again who you are as an "I am in Christ" person. That by being justified by faith you dont have to perform, and people please to be O.K., but are loved and accepted no matter what, whether you fail or not. And because it is in Christ, nothing can take that away. Who I am in Christ is a secure "given." Bring all this to bear on who you are while you are dealing with this particular problem. (Pause)
And then also remember that Paul saw himself, and you can also see yourself as an "I-can-do all things in Christ" person. You dont have to be limited by so many things you once maybe thought limited you. With God all things are possible. You are a new creation and have the power of the Holy Spirit who creatively gives you new choices for so many things. Here, you want to proactively approach life. And if you have been reacting to "stuff"as a victim, you want to be free of that. How can you now apply this "I-can-do all things in Christ" attitude to the specific problem you had thought of? (Pause)
And also remember that you in and under Christ can be, like Paul said, self-governing, self-sufficiently content, no matter what is going on in your life. Bring this to bear on the problem, and how does that affect how you approach the problem? (Pause)
And isnt it great to be a learner, who enjoys learning creative new ways to deal with problems in life. We as disciples are apprentice learners with Christ. Bring to bear being an open, eager learner on the problems and see what happens. (Pause)
And remember that no matter how you may be feeling or how much pressure and stress there is, anytime you can just choose to go be in prayer and be with Christ in heavenly places. And while there, you can find and set your mind on what concepts and attitudes God wants to bless your life with. And from there you can apply all this, as Paul did, to the many problems out there.
And can you imagine a particular problem you may well be having in the future? (Pause) And as you think of that, notice that you can bring to bear all of Christ and his abundant power, of who you securely are in Christ, and can apply being a I-can-do all things in Christ person who has learned the secret of being content no matter what to that problem. (Pause) Isnt this great?
Learn More About Neuro-Linguistic Programming and Neuro-Semantics® at
The Institute of Neuro-Semantics
(c)1997 Tommy Belk. All rights reserved.