Pillar Journal

The Benefits of Meditation

It is not he that reads most; but he that meditates most, that will prove the choicest, sweetest, wisest, and strongest Christian.

The Puritans devoted scores of pages to the benefits, excellence, usefulness, advantages, or improvements of meditation. Here are some of those benefits:

  • Meditation helps us focus on the triune God, to love and to enjoy Him in all His persons (1 John 4:8)—intellectually, spiritually, aesthetically.
  • Meditation helps increase knowledge of sacred truth. It “takes the veil from the face of truth” (cf. Prov. 4:2).
  • Meditation is the “nurse of wisdom,” for it promotes the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom (cf. Prov. 1:7).
  • Meditation enlarges our faith by helping us to trust the God of promises in all our spiritual troubles and the God of providence in all our outward troubles.1Calamy, Art of Divine Meditation, 40–42.
  • Meditation augments one’s affections. Watson called meditation “the bellows of the affections.” He said, “Meditation hatcheth good affections, as the hen her young ones by sitting on them; we light affection at this fire of meditation”2Watson, Sermons, 256. (Ps. 39:3).
  • Meditation fosters repentance and reformation of life (Ps. 119:59; Ezek. 36:31).
  • Meditation is a great friend to memory.
  • Meditation helps us view worship as a discipline to be cultivated. It makes us prefer God’s house to our own.
  • Meditation transfuses Scripture through the texture of the soul.
  • Meditation is a great aid to prayer (Ps. 5:1). It tunes the instrument of prayer before prayer.
  • Meditation helps us to hear and read the Word with real benefit. It makes the Word “full of life and energy to our souls.” William Bates wrote, “Hearing the word is like ingestion, and when we meditate upon the word that is digestion; and this digestion of the word by meditation produceth warm affections, zealous resolutions, and holy actions.”3Bates, Works, 3:131.
  • Meditation on the sacraments helps our graces to be better and stronger. It helps faith, hope, love, humility, and numerous spiritual comforts thrive in the soul.
  • Meditation stresses the heinousness of sin. It “musters up all weapons, and gathers all forces of arguments for to press our sins, and lay them heavy upon the heart,” wrote Fenner.4Fenner, Use and Benefit of Divine Meditation, 3. Thomas Hooker said, “Meditation sharpens the sting and strength of corruption, that it pierceth more prevailingly.”5Hooker, Application of Redemption, 217. It is a “strong antidote against sin” and “a cure of covetousness.”
  • Meditation enables us to “discharge religious duties, because it conveys to the soul the lively sense and feeling of God’s goodness; so the soul is encouraged to duty.”6Bates, Works, 3:135.
  • Meditation helps prevent vain and sinful thoughts (Jer. 4:14; Matt. 12:35). It helps wean us from this present evil age.
  • Meditation provides inner resources on which to draw (Ps. 77:10– 12), including direction for daily life (Prov. 6:21–22).
  • Meditation helps us persevere in faith; it keeps our hearts “savoury and spiritual in the midst of all our outward and worldly employments,” wrote William Bridge.7Bridge, Works, 3:133.
  • Meditation is a mighty weapon to ward off Satan and temptation (Ps. 119:11, 15; 1 John 2:14).
  • Meditation provides relief in afflictions (Isa. 49:15–17; Heb. 12:5).
  • Meditation helps us benefit others with our spiritual fellowship and counsel (Ps. 66:16; 77:12; 145:7).
  • Meditation promotes gratitude for all the blessings showered on us by God through His Son.
  • Meditation glorifies God (Ps. 49:3).8Cf. Oliver Heywood, The Whole Works of the Rev. Oliver Heywood (Idle, U.K.: by John Vint for F. Westley et al., 1825), 2:276–81.

In short, as Thomas Brooks (1608–1680) wrote, “meditation is the food of your souls, it is the very stomach and natural heat whereby spiritual truths are digested. A man shall as soon live without his heart, as he shall be able to get good by what he reads, without meditation…. It is not he that reads most; but he that meditates most, that will prove the choicest, sweetest, wisest, and strongest Christian.”9Brooks, Works, 1:8, 291.

Excerpt from
How Can I Practice Christian Meditation?
By Joel Beeke

How Can I Practice Christian Meditation? – Cultivating Biblical Godliness Series (Beeke) (2349 in Stock)

MSRP: $4.00 $3.00


Spiritual growth is a necessary part of the Christian’s life, but a failure to practice biblical meditation hinders such growth. Today, many believers misunderstand this core Christian discipline because they associate it with New Age spirituality and false religions. During the Puritan age, however, many ministers preached and wrote about meditation, and in this pamphlet, Joel R. Beeke guides us through their instruction on this subject. By God’s grace, “perhaps we can recover the biblical practice of meditation for our time.”



The Definition, Nature, and Kinds of Meditation

The Duty and Necessity of Meditation

The Manner of Meditation

The Subjects of Meditation

The Benefits of Meditation

The Obstacles to Meditation

Conclusion: Self-Examination



Joel R. Beeke (PhD, Westminster Seminary) is president and professor of systematic theology and homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary; a pastor of the Heritage Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan; editor of Banner of Sovereign Grace Truth; editorial director of Reformation Heritage Books; and a prolific author.



“Joel Beeke has given us a wonderful gift to help us recover the lost art of Christian meditation. Unlike many practices of ‘meditation’ today that seek to empty the mind, Christian meditation calls us to fill our minds with the God-inspired, life-transforming, and mind-renewing Word of God. Take up and read, and then give a copy to your friends and family!” – Brian Cosby, senior minister of Wayside Presbyterian Church, Signal Mountain, Tennessee, and visiting professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta


Cultivating Biblical Godliness Series 

 D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said, “The world today is looking for, and desperately needs, true Christians. I am never tired of saying that what the Church needs to do is not to organize evangelistic campaigns and attract outside people, but to begin herself to live the Christian life. If she did that, men and women would be crowding into our buildings. They would say, ‘What is the secret of this?’”

Many people who are new to the church need instruction in the most basic aspects of godly living. Even where churches are engaged heavily in discipleship, visitors and members often have gaps in their understanding and practice. One of the greatest needs of our time is for the Spirit of God to cultivate biblical godliness in us in order to put the glory of Christ on display through us, all to the glory of God the Father.

For these reasons, Joel Beeke and Ryan McGraw are coediting a series of booklets titled Cultivating Biblical Godliness. These booklets treat matters that are vital to Christian experience, and each contribution aims to address a wide variety of people and circumstances at a fundamental and introductory level. This includes teaching people what to believe in order to practice personal holiness as well as specific directions on how to cultivate biblical godliness in relation to issues that are common to God’s people.

The distinctive feature of this series is its experiential tone. While some booklet series aim to enlighten the mind, these booklets aim to warm the affections as well. The goal is to promote communion with the triune God and to transform the entire person in thought, speech, and behavior. To this end, we intend to include a wide range of authors whom the Spirit has blessed to skillfully stir up the church to personal holiness and affection to Christ through their preaching and writing ministries.

We need a Christianity that puts the transformative power of God in the gospel on display through developing a communion with God that is visible to the world. Our prayer is that through this series, the Lord would revive His church by producing Christians who are full of love for Christ, who deny themselves in order to follow Him at great personal cost, and who know the joys of walking with the triune God. This is the kind of Christianity that we need. This is the kind of Christianity that the triune God has used to turn the world upside down. May He  be pleased to do so again.


Series Editors  

Joel R. Beeke is President and Professor of Systematic Theology and Homiletics at Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary, a pastor of Heritage Netherlands Reformed Congregation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and a prolific author.

Ryan M. Mcgraw is pastor of First OPC in Sunnyvale, CA. He is also author or The Day of Worship: Reassessing the Christian Life in Light of the Sabbath.