Prayer and meditation: what are the differences?

At the present time the word “meditation” we began to hear more and more often. Opening social networks, we see how for many people this is already a way of life, and not just a popular term. Moreover, meditation has come to be identified with prayer. But, if you look at it, then these concepts are different and have different meanings.

These are completely different spiritual practices. Prayer is an appeal, in which the one to whom a person turns is necessarily assumed: God. Even if we don’t hear a response to our request, we still expect to be listened to. Prayer is the fruit of a personal relationship between man and God. Anyone who doesn’t believe in God as a person can’t even pray.

The meditation is not directed at anyone in particular. While meditating, a person utters words or sounds, but only in order to adjust himself, his consciousness in a certain way. The connection of this word with the Latin meditation — “reflection” – already speaks volumes. And an Indian yoga teacher (in which meditation plays a particularly important role) Patanjali even calls meditation ” the cessation of the activity of consciousness.” In short, nothing prevents even an absolutely non-believer from practicing meditation.

In meditation, a person strives with the help of certain techniques (focusing attention, repeating certain words, breathing exercises) so change your consciousness in order to get some useful, from its point of view, result. Atheists and agnostics can strive for a calm, clear, and collected mind. Believers-seek revelations from God.

Christian prayer is born out of a person’s love for God, out of the search for communion with the One you love. You can ask God for help and support, you can thank Him or praise Him — in any case, a person freely gives himself to God, not insisting on his own, but repeating after Christ: Not my will, but Thine be done (Lk 22: 42). Techniques that help to” persuade “or even” force ” God to fulfill what He asks are not just inappropriate in prayer — they contradict their very essence.

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There is nothing and no need to supplement the Christian prayer: communion with God is the most important value for a believer. A Christian understands that it is only with God’s help that he can become a better person or get what he needs. And in prayer, he humbly asks God for such help.

Meditation, on the other hand, even if a person believes in God, contains an element of compulsion: when a person puts himself in a certain psycho-emotional state, he insists that they “get in touch” with him, so that his requests are listened to. You can say that he goes to the spiritual world without asking if they are ready to communicate with him there. In addition, such “trips” are fraught with the development of pride: a person who has achieved success in meditation may think of himself as completely self-sufficient, almost omnipotent.

The big question is: does a meditator want to communicate with God? After all, the spiritual world is diverse, and not all of its inhabitants can be safely “contacted”. And a mystically minded person often does not really know who he will meet in his “spiritual journey”. He invokes powers he has no idea about — and is always confronted with evil forces. Simply because it is impossible to communicate with God on such “terms”.

Meditating, a person is called to renounce not only everything earthly but also from himself. But Christians have a completely different goal-to connect with God and at the same time not to renounce themselves.

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