In week 1, we practiced a ‘Re-centring Prayer’, which is an exercise in settling down with God and preparing the way for prayer. This week we want to build on that preparedness by beginning to fill our minds with God and his truth. Our most direct pathway to doing this is via the Scriptures. God has reliably and faithfully revealed himself to us in the bible so we dare not ignore that opportunity. Because the scriptures declare the character of God and the works of God, the more we read, re-read and absorb the scriptures, the richer our grasp of God. So many of the apostles’ prayers recorded in the New Testament letters reflect that richness:
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. (Ephesians 1:3-6)
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. (1 Peter 1:3-4)
If we are to fill our minds in this way then we are not mentally passive. Christian meditation calls on us to actively exert our mental energy. This is nowhere better stated than in Philippians 4:8–
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.
So there are some things that are to be the targets of our mental aim. It isn’t enough merely to acknowledge that things and ideas of moral and mental excellence are important. Merely affirming such truths and virtues will not change us. We must energetically reckon, take into account, and give deliberative weight to these things. Our minds must be captivated by them in such a way that the fanciful fluff of the world loses its appeal.