Mindfulness vs Christian meditation - What's the difference? (Part 1 of 3)

This blog post is written by Abide ambassador, Leslie McGuffie. Leslie started using Abide and doing Christian meditation a year ago. Below she shares her experience in trying meditation for the first time.


If worry isn’t a sin, it should be. It causes stress and anxiety. All of these things wreak havoc on our minds, as well as our bodies. If sin separates us from the goodness of God, then worry is the thief that robs us of His peace. So, what are we supposed to do?

Me with my sons and grandson

Whether Christian or not, many people have found relief in the practice of meditation. Taking time to breathe deeply and calm the mind has become such a trend that even school children are being taught how to meditate.

But what is mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a form of meditation where the focus is on being in the present moment, paying attention to the air as it enters and exits your lungs and nostrils. Mindfulness encourages you not to judge yourself if your mind wanders, and leaves you feeling relaxed and free from worry about the past or the future. That’s the objective, but does it work? More on that later...

Is meditation an Eastern religious practice?

You may be asking “Isn’t meditation an Eastern religion thing?”

That’s what I thought, too. I always said that I didn’t want any unfamiliar spirits entering into the vacant space of my mind during meditation. But, one day a relative who meditates frequently came to visit. He told me to just sit still, be quiet, breathe deeply, and empty my mind.

I looked at him suspiciously and said “Empty my mind? You mean don’t think about anything?”

He chuckled and said “Just try it for five minutes.”

So we sat in my living room with our eyes closed and legs folded in front. I tried very hard not to think. Every few seconds I peeked to see what was going on. The dog started barking. An ambulance siren sounded in the distance. Honestly, I just kept wondering how many minutes we had left.

When his timer went off, we opened our eyes and he said “So how was that?”

I shrugged and said “Okay, I guess. But I don’t think I was really meditating. Maybe I’m one of those people who just can’t do it.”

Meditating on the Word of God

Scripture says that we should meditate on the Book of the Law day and night. So, I’ve spent decades praying to God and meditating on his Word.

"I will meditate on all Your work And muse on Your deeds." Psalm 77:12

To me, that means focusing on certain Scriptures, reading them out loud, concentrating on how they applied to my life, and listening. I learned how to be silent while listening for God’s wisdom.

Taking time to meditate on God's word

When God speaks to my heart, there’s something inside that gets stirred up. I recognize His voice, and I feel peace when I hear it. It’s like tapping into a frequency that’s unreachable with the physical senses. So does that work? For me, yes!

Well, then what is Christian meditation?

Great question! I had no idea there was such a thing until I heard about the Abide app. I had never listened to any type of guided meditations, Christian or otherwise. My prayer time had always been filled with the sound of my own voice. But when your head has thoughts of worry darting around aimlessly, it might need a little outside assistance.

The first time I listened to an Abide prayer, it was almost like someone held up a stop sign, bringing all my thoughts to a screeching halt.

Christian meditation is based on Biblical teachings, and when your foundation is one of faith, it provides nourishment to the seed that has already been planted within your spirit. In my view, God created meditation for His children. Scripture says that God is a Spirit, and that we are made in His image and likeness.

"So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them." Genesis 1:27

So, if we are also spirits, then Christian meditation targets who we are according to our Creator.

Which type of meditation works best?

In part two of this blog series, I will review both Christian and Mindfulness meditations on the topics of anxiety/stress, impatience, and insomnia. I invite you to join me in this experiment by listening to the meditations in these video links.

Anxiety/Stress:

Impatience:

Insomnia:

Then, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below. I’d love to hear how your results compare to mine.


Leslie writes about being in love with the Lord, and she loves sharing the wisdom He gives her about daily living. In her spare time she’s a wife, mother of six, and grandmother of three. Follow her on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook at @listen2leslie. Subscribe to her blog at listen2leslie.com.