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Wait on the Lord

It's a discipline we all need.

The Celtic Revival: Afterglow (13)

indithim – “meditation”
  - Cormac, Glossary, Irish, 10th century

Wait on the LORD;
Be of good courage,
And He shall strengthen your heart;
Wait, I say, on the LORD!|
  - Psalm 27.14

Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed…
  - Psalm 25.3

Meditation is a form of waiting on the Lord, as we see in Psalm 27 (cf. v.4). Or perhaps better, waiting for the Lord.

But what are we waiting for?

We’re waiting for the Lord to make Himself known, to bring us into the Presence of His beauty, the assurance of His love, the safety of His grace, the warmth and power of His Spirit, and the understanding of His Word and will. In meditation we wait for God to draw us into a kind of participation in or partaking of Him – experiencing His Presence and being caught up in His glory.

But for meditation to bear such fruit, we must learn to wait. Meditation is not for those who practice their faith in activity, in doing things or participating in programs. Meditation requires time, patience, and a deep hunger for the Lord, a hunger that can only be satisfied in small bites over long periods of time.

Cormac, that enigmatic bishop/king, collected Gaelic words that were going out of use in his day (10th century) because he thought they were important to preserve. The dusk of the Celtic Revival was upon Ireland then, and Cormac seemed to want to keep the candles burning for a while.

One of the words he thought worthy of preserving referred to the discipline of meditation. Celtic Christians practiced the discipline of meditation with gusto. We think of Brendan, as a young boy, singing his psalms throughout the night. Or Kevin, praying and meditating so long that a bird built a nest in his outstretched palm. Or brothers in a monastery gathering seven times a day to sing and meditate through the psalms.

Meditation requires three things: time, which you must set and keep, because meditation doesn’t just happen; focus, that is, something on which to concentrate your thoughts and affections for an extended period; and resolution – the will to stay at it and to repeat the discipline regularly. You need resolve to keep at the work of meditation, believing that your meditation will yield an acute awareness of the divine Presence – an encounter with the glory of God – if only you keep at it in prayerful contemplation and patient waiting. Like Jacob wrestling the angel.

Waiting. Yes, that’s an important key to fruitful meditation. We are not good waiters. We want what we want now, because, frankly, we have too many other things to do to wait for God to meet us in His way and time.

It is perhaps because we have so infrequently experienced God in His glory that we are not willing to take the time to wait on Him in meditation. Simply put, we don’t know what we’re missing.

Waiting on the Lord is a good way of describing meditation, as we see in Psalm 27. Were he compiling his glossary today, Cormac would probably define indithim as “waiting on the Lord.” And I’m sure he would lament that it was passing out of use once again.

Seek rich times of meditation, waiting on the Lord to draw you into Himself and His glory. Rich blessings of divine presence and favor are stored up for you in meditation, as you wait on the Lord. And if you really believe this, and really want to meet God in His glory, then you will make the time, gather the focus, and muster the resolution to wait.

For Reflection
1. How would you describe your practice of meditation – waiting on the Lord – at this time?

2. What will you need to do to make more time for meditation?

Psalm 25.1-5 (Festal Song: Rise Up, O Men of God)
I lift my soul to You; O Lord, in You I trust.
Let me not come to shame, nor let my foes o’er me exult.

All they who wait on You shall never come to shame.
Yet they to shame shall come who stand against Your holy Name.

Make me to know Your ways, teach me Your paths, O Lord!
My Savior, all day long I wait and seek You in Your Word.

I’m not good at waiting, Lord; but I long to know You in Your glory. Teach me to wait for You so that I…

Practice in meditation

Meditation must be learned before it can be practiced fruitfully. Our book, Be Thou My Vision, offers 28 days of meditation, using excerpts from Crosfigell, to lead you more deeply into the Lord’s Presence. Order your free copy by clicking here.

If you’re not a supporter of this ministry, won’t you please prayerfully consider making a gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe? Only God can move you to do this, and we believe He intends to support this ministry from within the ranks of those who are served by it. If this includes you, please seek the Lord in this matter. You can click here to give with your credit card or through Anedot or PayPal, or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 360 Zephyr Road, Williston, VT 05495.

T. M. Moore, Principal
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All Psalms for singing from The Ailbe Psalter. Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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