A Brief History of Christian Meditation

Most people don’t realize how long meditation has been a part of our Christian heritage. Jesus found many opportunities to spend time resting in the presence of God. We also know that in the 3rd century our Desert Fathers and Mothers, who were hermits, ascetics, and monks, practiced long periods of silence, meditation, and contemplative prayer. These men and women influenced leaders like St. Augustine and St. Gregory the Great. Throughout history, there is a cloud of witnesses who have practiced and have written about Christian meditation. Below is just a partial list of authors that have written about this important spiritual practice.

Within its rich history, it is interesting to note the different names given to this practice. Here are some other names people have used instead of Christian meditation: The Jesus prayer, centering prayer, quiet prayer, silent prayer, resting prayer, contemplative prayer, pure prayer and others. Although each of these practices may vary in methodology, they all bring you to the center of your being where you can experience the presence of God.