Guided: Genesis Meditation

This is the first of several guided prayers and meditations I plan to develop using the insight I have gleaned from experts and gained from experience. From Christian contemplatives and secular neuroscientists, I have learned a lot about what is accomplished through meditation and prayer and how. I have learned some of the traditional forms of contemplative prayer, and I have learned what elements work toward a healthier, holier brain.

I have also now completed a course in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction and begun practicing Centering Prayer. These practices have already begun their transformative work in me, and I am grateful for the way God has made our brains to seek and spend time in God’s presence.

In this meditation, which I have called the Genesis Meditation, I integrate elements that appear in both sides, the Christian and the secular. Focusing on the breath and acknowledging it as a symbol of receiving God’s Spirit has a long history in the church. Designating a word as a sacred symbol of intention to connect with God is an integral part of Centering Prayer.

The text is written below so that you can read it if that is more helpful for you than listening, or you can follow along. If possible, I recommend looking over it so that you know what to expect, but when you actually meditate, listening is preferable so that you can simply experience it instead of having to stop and read. The recording is 10 minutes, but longer is even better. Feel free to sit in silence for 10 or 20 or 50 minutes after the recording ends. Whatever you find to be beneficial.


Click here for the audio recording


In all three biblical languages, Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic, the word for spirit was the same as the word for wind and for breath. In this meditation we will be connecting our spirits with the Spirit of God by focusing our will and attention on the living breath within our own bodies as a symbol of receiving God’s Spirit within us.

I recommend sitting on a cushion on the floor with legs crossed or at the edge of a chair without allowing your back to rest against the chair for support if that is possible for you without creating tension that would distract you from the meditation. Sit up straight with your head over your heart and heart over your pelvis, breathing naturally, trying not to control your breath but simply becoming aware of the sensations in your body as you breathe.

Notice the rise and fall of your shoulders, of your chest, and the expansion and contraction of your belly and diaphragm. Notice the sound and sensation of air entering your nostrils. Allow your attention to rest on whichever of these stands out most prominently to you.

As we continue the meditation, notice your thoughts, accepting them as they come. Acknowledge each one and release it, returning each time to direct your attention to your breath. Each time you notice where your mind is and turn it to the physical sensations of your breathing is a chance to celebrate. There is no need to become frustrated or judgmental of yourself. Your mind will have thoughts; that’s what minds do. Simply, gently bring your attention back to the breath and rejoice at what the Spirit of God has given you.

You may also choose to use one of the words “breath,” “rest,” or “spirit” as an anchor to ground your will in connecting with God. Repeat the word with each exhalation, not trying to analyze the word but simply allowing it to serve as a symbol of your intention to rest in God’s presence.

I will begin the meditation and then periodically read aloud a short passage of Scripture to aid in providing nourishment for your meditation. This recording is approximately 10 minutes long, but you may wish to continue with the meditation after the recording ends.

Again, simply rest in the spirit and keep your attention anchored in your breath and your will oriented in your chosen word as I read the verses. Don’t try to analyze them; just let them flow through your spirit and continue to breathe and rest in God.

[Meditate Two Minutes or More]

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was formless and empty, and darkness covered the deep waters. And the Spirit [or breath] of God was hovering over the surface of the waters” (Gen 1:1-2 NLT).

[Meditate Two Minutes or More]

4b When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, neither wild plants nor grains were growing on the earth. For the Lord God had not yet sent rain to water the earth, and there were no people to cultivate the soil. Instead, springs came up from the ground and watered all the land. Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person” (Gen 2:4b-7).

[Meditate Two Minutes or More]

27 So God created human beings in his own image.
In the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them” (Gen 1:27).

[Meditate Two Minutes or More]

So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation” (Gen 2:1-3).

[Meditate Two Minutes or More]

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