Sabbath Rest Theological Musings

5 Passages for Restful Meditation

Our minds have a habit of focusing on our worries and disappointments. Mindfulness or mediation can help retrain our brains to focus on the positive aspects of life instead. The ability to remain calm when life is chaotic is a skill that can be taught. Anything that can be taught must also be practiced consistently to have any lasting impact on our lives. Schedule in a few minutes a day to engage in some restful meditation with the following passages. 

Basic Guidelines for Restful Meditation

When starting out with mindfulness, it can be helpful to focus on a mantra, physical image, or calming sound. You can also use your breath as an anchor. Below are some examples of how to implement scripture into your meditation practice. When your mind drifts, gently refocus your attention on the calming stimuli. Do not judge yourself harshly when the worries or fears start to creep in and distract you. With practice it will become easier over time. 

Passage 1: Sabbath Rest from Deut. 5: 12-15

The practice of rest is so essential to our well-being that God included it in the ten commandments. Even God Himself rested from creating the world. Sabbath rest was so important that God even instructed the Israelites to extend the practice to foreigners and outsiders. The simple commandment is a reminder that everyone benefits from a day off. 

Examples for restful meditation

  • Set a timer for 5 or 10 minutes and meditate on the phrase Sabbath Rest
  • Designate one day a week for no morning alarms. When you wake up stay in bed an extra five or ten minutes. During that time reflect on the importance of Sabbath Rest. 
  • Take a few minutes out of your day for progressive muscle relaxation. Focus on each part of your body from head to toes and practice tensing and relaxing. See here for an example script.

Passage 2: Recover From Trials from Jos. 21: 43-45

In the book of Genesis, God made a covenant with Abraham that his decedents would conquer Canaan. In Joshua God firmly established Israel within Canaan. They enjoyed “rest on every side” after completing their campaign. God fulfilled His promise and blessed the nation with years of rest without fear of their enemies. We will all experience trials in life, some of those trials may last for years, however God is able to carry us through and provide rest on the other side. 

Examples for restful meditation

  • For at least five minutes image an ideal day of rest. Play it out as a book or movie in your mind. Imagine going through the motions of this ideal day from morning to night. 
  • Communicate with God about the trials in you life. Ask for his deliverance from the trial and request that he provide a period of rest in your life. 
  • Practice deep breathing for a full minute or more. Focus all your attention on your breath. Imagine the tension leaving your body when breathing out. See here for an audio script on mindful breathing. 

Passage 3: Trust God and Take Refuge from Ps. 62

God is a refuge against our enemies. We can rest easily in His presence, knowing that we are safe from harm. The ways of man are foolish to God and He surpasses them in all ways. All power and authority belongs to God and He will protect those who love Him.

Examples for restful meditation

  • Consider God’s protection over your life. Identify moments throughout your life when He has protected you. 
  • Pick a phrase or stanza from the Psalm. Recite the phrase repeatedly and use it as an anchor for your meditation. Set a goal for a about five minutes to mediate on the phrase.

Passage 4: Rest for Your Souls from Mat. 11: 28-30 

The religious leaders of Jesus’ day had a myriad of rules and regulations that they enforced on others. The weight of expectations were heavy and the average person was deemed unworthy of God. Jesus offered a new load that was above the law, one of grace and mercy. The way to salvation was made easy by Jesus’ sacrifice. He welcomes you with gentle words and bids you to shake off the heavy burdens. 

Examples for restful meditation

  • Grab a few small pieces of paper. Write down a condemning thought, such as negative self-talk, the mean words of others, etc, on each paper. Now Imagine bringing each of these negative words to God and rip it up. 
  • Focus on your breath for about five minutes. On each in breath, identify a burden in your life. On each out breath imagine God lifting the burden off your shoulders. Notice how you become lighter with each out breath. 
  • Record saying the verse three times in a calming manner. Listen to the record while meditating. See here for an example. 

Passage 5: More Trust in God and Banishing Fear from Ps. 91

For our last meditation passage, we will revisit some of the themes already mentioned above. This psalm reiterates that we can trust in God to be our refuge. He offers comfort and protection to those who love him. Fear has no place against the might of God. Trust in the knowledge that God loved you and he welcomes you with open arms. 

Examples for restful meditation

  • Read and meditate on the psalm using the method known as lectio divina. See here for description of lectio divina. 
  • Read through the psalm and select phrases or words to mediate on.
  • Mediate using the following audio recording of the Psalm. Play calming music or sounds in the background.


Progressive Muscle Relaxation Script

Mindful Breathing Audio

Safe Place Meditation

Matt. 11:28-30 Audio Meditation

Psalm 91 Meditation

How to Practice Lectio Divina from University of Notre Dame

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