A Christian Meditation Chant Practice For Novice and Pro Alike
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." Proverbs 18:21
Since the birth of Seth, son of Adam (Genesis 4:26), chanting mantras has helped countless multitudes become more balanced and peaceful. Chanting mantras is nothing new, virtually all religions identify with higher spirituality though chanting. In Christianity, repeating the name of God and meditating over his word is the preferred method, but we are not alone. Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, and Hinduism, as well as other religions and spiritual disciplines all have mantras that use sound to achieve enough mental clarity to experience, or at least understand a small portion of who God is. Generally speaking, chanting mantras can be a mystical experience for some because through sound, singing, and meditation, the body becomes a clear temple for God's holy presence. This clarity of mind and feeling of well being was scientifically explored in a our previous article, "5 Benefits of Chanting and How To Start Today"
Listen and learn how to develop a Christian meditation mantra practice: Listen hear
When we become aware of the bodily mechanisms God beautifully and gracefully designed into our being before the fall of mankind, we can move in the direction of a more spiritually fulfilling life. And it starts with the proper mindset. In order to properly start your own Christian meditation chant, you need to the right mindset, then you can select your own mantra, and begin the practice.
Steps To Start Your Own Christian Meditation Mantra Chant Practice
Before you begin you need to check your mindset. Ask yourself why you want to start a chanting discipline. Deeply reflecting why you want to move in this direction. Analyzing your intention will help you stay on your path while maximizing the benefits.
Some questions to reflect on are: Do you want to use mantras to improve focus? Do you want the health benefits associated from chanting? Do you want more clarity of mind to better understand God's word in study and meditation? Do you want more spiritual understanding? Do want to experience God more profoundly? Do you want to achieve a goal or help change yourself for the better?
Take a week, or more if you have to, and ponder each question. Write, or type, your answers in a document. After a few days, go back to your document and review your answers. Frequently a person gets more insight when they revisit their responses after a few days. Do this until you feel comfortable with the new practice you want to pursue.
Chanting works best when adhered to as a life long practice. And long term commitment comes from a deep desire, or yearning, of the soul. Following this step will help you understand whether or not the soul's yearning, or desire, is strong enough to keep moving forward while learning and developing.
2. Choosing Your Mantra
Although many religions have a name for God, the Bible discloses the true name of God, YHVH (generally written as Yahweh, and pronounced Yaway), which is prescribed as the master mantra in Genesis 4:26. Originally, the Hebrews chanted the names of God Yahweh, Adonai and Elohim. Sometimes these name we combined with a phrase from God's word.
Over the past 2000 years Orthodox Christian monks chant "Lord Jesus Christ Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner." (Luke 18:13)
Repeated singing, or chanting, the chorus of a devotional song is a mantra. I've personally witnessed this on a grand scale when I visited a mega church in Colorado Springs. Even thought the congregation did not know they were participating in a group chant the spiritual atmosphere was charged with God's holiness.
The best mantra you can use is something that represents your deep love for God. It must have a profound meaning for you, and when you chant it must be energized with love, devotion, and worship.
3. Choosing A Timing Device
When you first start, you will begin with just a few short minutes a day. After you practice for a month, or so, you can work your way up to 20 to 30 minutes. Some Christian monks can chant 8 to 10 hours in a single day.
For most of us 20 to 30 minutes is part of a daily practice that can reap tremendous rewards. You can do 40 minutes or longer if you want, just remember that progress yields the best results when it's gradual.
You're going to need a timing device such as an alarm. Most phones today have the capability of timing events and notifying us. This is the popular method, however, some require a more organic experience. I personally use an audio timer that helps to keep an even chanting pattern as well as keep on track with my 20 to 30 minute limit. (The timer we created for our use has been developed into the YHVH meditation) But for the times I want part from technology, I use a Christian prayer bead bracelet. Every time you chant simply move your fingers to the next bead, and so on. At first you will need to time yourself with the prayer beads. With just a couple sessions you will know how many chants it takes to fill 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes.
Once you you've noted your timing, simply pick up your prayer beads and begin.
4. Choosing A Place
Virtually any place will work as long as you can go undisturbed for a few minutes. Consider the needs of others. Chanting can be loud, so be sure you don't disturb others. Ideally, you want a place that reflects your faith, so having objects around you that reinforce your faith is a good option.
Decorating a room for this purpose can be fun and can bring a lot of peace if done correctly. Choose soft colors for pillows, try introducing incense, portraits, pictures, or posters of Jesus, his saints, and angels. Crosses are a favorite items, as well as an altar for God's holy book, the Bible.
Naturally, you will need a chair, a couch, or a meditation seat or cushion.
5. Selecting An Introductory Prayer
Once you're intention is clear, you've selected a mantra, have a timing device, and chosen a place, you're ready to select and introductory prayer.
As Christians we never begin a task, or effort, until we pray and ask God for divine help and guidance.
For this process you need to get creative while consulting God's word. You need to figure out what's important to you and how you will need assistance. Consult the Bible and extract from the word a fitting prayer.
Here's my personally prayer. You can use it, or you can modify it. This is how I start my chanting session. "Lord Jesus Christ Son of God have mercy on me a sinner. Bless this time of meditation with your holy presence. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit come into my heart, soul, mind, and body. Amen."
As I pray I let go of worldly thought and dedicate myself solely to God. Then I begin.
6. How To Chant
After your introductory prayer, clearing your mind of worldly thought, and dedicating yourself to God, sit in a comfortable position.
Most people choose a sitting position because it helps with concentration. You can adopt any position, the important thing is that you are comfortable. If you are flexible and used to a specific cross legged position, you may proceed with the position. Your comfort level will determine how long you can chant and reach a state of meditation.
It is important to keep your back naturally straight but not rigid. It's not good to slouch either. Alternatively, you can lean against a pillow, or back rest, for support. Sitting upright in a chair is another option you can explore.
Next take a long deep breath and release. Take several deep breaths and start releasing any tension or stress. Some people like to think of Jesus, or God's kingdom, during these moments. Just relax.
To receive the highest benefit from chanting a rhythmic pattern must be adopted. Everyone's pattern is slightly different, but generally the inhale count lasts between 5 to 7 seconds, while the chanting exhale can last between 6 to 10 seconds.
These patterns can vary from person to person. The most important thing to remember is that both the inhale count and exhale count must not vary, so if you inhale count is 4 seconds long, it must remain 4 seconds long throughout your chanting meditation. Same goes for the exhale. If it takes you 8 seconds to chant while exhaling, it must remain uniform.
When you first start it's advisable to practice for a 2 to 3 minutes. After a week or so you can work your way to 5 minutes, then 10, and eventually to 20 and 30 minutes. Because most of us practice shallow breathing all our lives it can take some time for the body to adapt. If you are an athlete, or exercise regular, your body will adapt much quicker controlled breathing.
Additionally, you must breathe into the heart area. This allows for deeper breaths and greater chant power. "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your heart to the Lord" Ephesians 5:19
If you feel that your voice is not clear, or if you hear you voice trembling, don't worry about it, just keep chanting. Eventually your voice will flow with rhythm, become clear and powerful. It make take a week or two, maybe longer, but eventually you will sound great.
All chanting meditations can be performed with eyes open or closed. It's really a matter of personal preference. I personally prefer to chant with eyes closed, but there are times when I chant with eyes open, like while singing at church. If you decide to chant with open eyes try focusing on a divine object, like a picture of Jesus, or a cross, anything that reminds you of God is most preferred.
7. Meditate After Chanting
After your session is over take 5 to 10 minutes to be still. (Psalm 46:10) After repeating your prayer-mantra, sit quietly for a few minutes and simply observed your breath, the breath God put in you. Let thoughts come and go, and gently bring your mind back to God within your breath. Just sit still and enjoy God's presence. This is your time to be calm. Experience God.
I hope you enjoyed this article as much as I enjoyed writing it for you. If you have a preferred prayer mantra you chant during meditation please share below. We love you, and we're praying for you. God bless.