“Spiritual disciplines” are things we do to stay in love with God and grow in faith. They can be things we do alone or together; they can be ways to spend time with God or to serve others. As the people of Sylva First UMC share one of their spiritual disciplines with you each week, we hope it will inspire you to new ways of loving God and growing in faith.
Hello church family! My name is Scott Cochran. I started attending Sylva FUMC in 2001 and on my first visit I was certain that I had found my church home. I have been involved in the life of the church in different capacities over the years.
The spiritual discipline that has been most helpful to me in the last few years is meditation. Several years ago, during a particularly stressful time in my life, I started having trouble focusing in my prayers. It seemed my brain was racing with so many thoughts that I couldn’t put them together in a prayer and I felt I couldn’t really express what I was needing to.
A friend I had confided in suggested that I needed to spend time in meditation to help clear my head before prayer. It took a while to get comfortable with it but now it is a very important practice in my day. Before I pray, I find a place where I can be comfortable without having to move much. I close my eyes and begin very intentional breathing. I breathe in as I count to four, and then I breathe out as I count to four. At first, I couldn’t make it very long before my brain would wander off into the million directions it wants to go. But with practice I was able to keep extending the amount of time I could keep my mind clear. One thing that helps me to keep my mind from racing is to find something to focus on. So, I tried focusing on God. More specifically, His face. The Bible tells us that God is light, so I see myself in total darkness with a bright light in the middle. The more I focus on that Light, the further I am drawn into it. There may be a stray thought from time to time, but now it is easier to push them out as I focus my thoughts and breathing on being in God’s presence. After about five minutes (I sometimes set a timer) I feel that I have emptied myself of myself, and I can go to God in prayer that is uncluttered and more focused and I can listen for Him instead of just trying to empty my thoughts to Him.
Psalm 119:15 – I meditate on your precepts and consider your ways.