For the hungry believer, meditating on Jesus in the Bible is an absolute must on a regular basis—multiple times a week if possible. Meditation is necessary because it’s the God-ordained way to experience depth and intimacy with God. Bible reading and study are necessary as well, but they must lead us to deep conversation with God.
I define meditation as a persistent searching out of an area of God’s heart through deep conversation over His Word. To break it down practically, meditation is picking one verse or story and talking (and singing) to God about it over and over again for weeks at at time until the truths become an experiential reality in your heart.
The Father Reveals Himself Through Jesus
We have a unique treasure to meditate on in the Gospel stories— God fully manifested in a human body for all to behold! Nothing in the Bible compares to meditating on Jesus in the Gospels.
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person…Hebrews 1:1-3
In Jesus’ stories, we get to see how the invisible God (but visible in Jesus) talks to His people, what tone of voice He uses, what attitude He has, what body language He displays, and how He interacts with real people in real situations.
Jesus’ disciples and eyewitnesses have truly given us a gift in writing down His interactions for us to dive into in meditation to encounter God as a real person.
The gospels are also powerful because, in them, we get to meditate on stories. We were made to read stories and then to enter into them with our imagination. We connect to the characters and the scenery in a story, and they become somewhat real to us.
Each gospel story has characters and scenery that we can relate to, and then we get to see how Jesus interacts with them, which creates a context for Him to show us how He interacts with us.
In one moment, we can be meditating on how He interacted with a person, and in the next moment, the Holy Spirit puts us in the story, and we experience Jesus’ interactions with us.
We Connect with Jesus Through Stories
Meditating on Jesus in stories makes Him more real as a person because the earthly scenery, as opposed to heaven, is so familiar to us and allows us to relate to Him differently. We relate to the stories, and we relate to the scenery, smells, interactions—and when we do—God becomes a real person to us by revelation.
The truth of God becoming flesh living among us finally hits home in these moments. I often find myself saying the same thing in these moments of revelation, “God, You are a real person who interacts with me in a personal way.
I encourage you to regularly mix in gospel story meditations between your other meditation topics and give them time to unfold over the course of weeks or months. Fall in love with the Person of Jesus who fully embodies and displays God’s heart towards you.
6 Engaging Steps to Meditating on Jesus
I suggest walking through these 6 steps within one prayer time and then repeating them each time you meditate on the same story. It would take an hour to walk through each of these steps without feeling rushed,
#1 – Read the Gospel Story
To begin your meditation time with a Gospel story, read the entire story a few times. This will give you an overall idea of what is happening in the story. You will see small, new details each time that you read it.
#2 – Picture the Scene
After reading the story a few times in a row, read it slowly one last time. Get a growing picture in your imagination of what was happening in the story. If this is hard for you, don’t worry, it’s worth it, and it will get easier because you’re using a new muscle in your prayer life called your imagination.
Partner with the Holy Spirit, and develop all the different aspects of the scenery of the story: the colors, smells, sounds, people, moods, and landscapes. You want this story to be as real as possible in your heart. The more real the story becomes in your imagination, Jesus’ interactions will become more real to your heart.
Picture everything about the story and then write down the landscape of the scene, your thoughts and questions, impressions about Jesus, and anything else that you want to capture in writing. If it’s helpful, you could even draw the scene.
#3 – Ask God Questions About the Story
Once you’ve imagined parts of the story, you’ll notice a few details in the story that interest you more than the others. Begin your meditation by focusing on these details. As you picture these details, ask Jesus questions. Go phrase by phrase and ask things like:
“Jesus, What did You think when they did that?”
“What did You feel at that moment?”
“How did You feel about that person?”
“What did You say to them?”
“Why did You say that?”
“How did they feel, and what were they doing?”
#4 – Imagine Jesus’ Interactions with People
Go phrase by phrase, and picture each interaction that Jesus had with the people in the story. Go with the bunny trails in the story that aren’t technically in the Bible story.
For example, focus on one of the people in the story and imagine their background, their life, and what happened to them after the story. Imagine parts of the conversation that took place that might not be detailed in the Bible.
#5 – Tell Jesus What You See About Him
Tell Jesus the things you notice about Him in the story. Speaking observations back to Him is prayer.
Pause often and reflect on what you’ve read and seen about Jesus in the story.
When you see displays of His heart, thank Him for that attribute of Himself, and ask Him to touch you with that same aspect of His heart.
“Jesus, I see Your compassion for that woman! You are so aware of our hearts in every circumstance, and Your heart is filled with compassion for us, thank You. Open my eyes to experience Your compassion.”
#6 – Enter the Story
This last step is where the meditation becomes real and personal! This is where you encounter the living Jesus who, based on the story, wants to talk to YOU about YOU. He wants to speak the truths of the story to you in a personal, specific way.
In your holy imagination, picture yourself being the person Jesus is talking to in the story. Fully enter into their situation and have a real dialogue with Jesus from their perspective.
Imagine yourself as one of the people Jesus healed, as one of those that lavished Him with perfume, or as one of those that were at the foot of His cross.
When I do this, I receive tremendous insight into what was happening in the story, but also a real face-to-face moment of interaction with Jesus and experience of His words personalized to me.
Interested in Meditating on Gospel Stories?
If you’re ready to meditate on a Gospel story:
- Pick a story that interests you and reveals Jesus’ heart in some way.
- Schedule which days of the week you want to meditate during your times with God. I suggest scheduling 2-3 days a week for meditation, ideally for an hour or more at a time to really get into it.
- Plan to spend one or more months on the same story so you have time to go deep in it.
This blog content and video came from chapter 10, “5 Ways to Interact with God.” The workbook is set up to inspire you with a high vision for encounter and equip you to pursue Jesus through different forms of prayer.
Additionally, you can join our Facebook Group, “Cultivate Encountering Jesus” for more support and direct encouragement. Search for this group on Facebook and we’ll grant permission to join the group.