Now there are two books on prayer and meditation by Art Toalston, senior editor of Baptist Press:
When I Meditate: Recovering a Key Facet of Prayer
and now – Meditation & Morality: Praying for a Better Way
* When I Meditate points to Scripture as a key source of prayer and meditation for optimum transformation of our lives by Jesus through God’s Holy Spirit.
* Meditation & Morality can be a gracious gift book for any friend, co-worker, neighbor or relative facing moral challenges, yet it also can be a source of reflection for any of us who struggle with spots of immorality in our lives.
Both books – available at eBookIt.com (http://bit.ly/WhenIMeditate & http://bit.ly/Meditation-Morality) Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other online sites – can nurture a reader’s intimacy with Scripture and with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Both books also can introduce a yearning soul to Jesus.
Go to @arttoalston on Twitter for regular reflections on prayer, meditation, and Scripture (and other gleanings); toalston4prayer on Facebook; and arttoalston.com on the Internet. I’m happy to visit on the phone, 615-438-3332; email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Below, this post also contains:
1) Added descriptions of both ebooks from eBookIt’s site
2) A personal statement from Art
3) Brief bio of Art
4) Paper copy information
*When I Meditate conveys this central message: It’s good to pray and it’s good to meditate.
Some Christians find this hard to believe. They know that meditation is mentioned in the Bible, but they tend to think it is a practice that belongs in other religions. When I Meditate: Recovering a Key Facet of Prayer sets forth a winsome alternative — a Scripture-based, you-can-do-it understanding of meditation as a life-changing facet of prayer. Within a biblical context, When I Meditate relays an array of insights and illustrations for an enlivened readiness to pray — and to follow Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, into tender communion with the Father and to live out his message of redemption in a world of needy souls.
Compared to religions and techniques that center on meditation, mantras, and physical postures for emptying one’s soul into an impersonal cosmos, Christian meditation, in its all-important uniqueness as described in When I Meditate, entails God’s use of Scripture to transform our minds and hearts. The riches of Scripture, when set in motion by prayer and meditation, can address any human need or yearning. Even one Scripture passage when memorized — and re-memorized as need be — and then internalized through meditation can be a catalyst for personal renewal and for conveying God’s grace by word and deed to anyone, near or far, who yearns for a vibrant faith.
* Meditation & Morality can provide gentle, inspirational counsel if you have been unkind to your soul or unkind to another person.
And it can do the same for a loved one or friend.
Misguided attitudes and actions can be offset. The grip of pornography, drug abuse, greed, or any other tarnish on the human soul can be loosened. Whether a person’s struggle with immorality is monumental or only a bit troublesome, a yearning for morality can be fully worth pondering. Drawing from the words of Jesus, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God,” Morality & Meditation: Praying for a Better Way can help hurting souls in our contemporary world envision a winsome morality that is wholesome, redemptive, and celebratory.
(To give Meditation & Morality to a troubled soul, go to Amazon’s page for this book, http://bit.ly/Amazon-Meditation-Morality, click Give as a Gift.)
From a personal standpoint….
I have been memorizing Scripture since around 2000, stirred to do so by a speaker at church. I started with the fruit of the Spirit, Galatians 5:22-23, and have since focused on several new passages a year, about 75 in all, ranging from one verse to multiple verses. When they have slipped from memory, I have re-memorized them, repeating the process numerous times. As various realizations came to mind during times of prayer, I wrote down as many as I could, yearning to share these gleanings with others. While new birth began an extraordinary transformation of my life when I trusted Christ in my early twenties, each Scripture now is making my relationship to God all the more wondrous and purposeful.
Art Toalston has worked more than twenty-five years in Southern Baptist communications — as an editor of Baptist Press (1992-present) and as a writer for the International Mission Board (1985-91). He also has worked ten years in newspaper journalism and education in Mississippi and Ohio.
After being raised in a United Presbyterian church in northeastern Ohio, Art converted to Catholicism as a young adult and later was baptized in a Christian and Missionary Alliance church. After moving to Mississippi in 1977, he joined a Southern Baptist church. Art holds a Master of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has studied at Bowling Green State University in Ohio; Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Texas; Presbyterian School of Christian Education in Virginia; and Wesley Biblical Seminary in Mississippi.
Art is on the Internet at arttoalston.com; Twitter, @arttoalston; Facebook, http://bit.do/arttoalston; and email, email@example.com. He is available to lead Pray As Never Before Conferences. More information is available at www.arttoalston.com under the Events tab.
At eBookIt.com, you can download When I Meditate and Meditation & Morality to your computer as a PDF file to print a paper copy to read or share with a loved one or friend. As a PDF file, it can be printed at home (about 50 pages) or sent to a printer at an office-type store (FedEx Office, Staples, Officemax, etc). At either book’s site – When I Meditate (http://bit.ly/WhenIMeditate) or Meditation & Morality http://bit.ly/Meditation-Morality) – use the “Delivery Format” option to select PDF (reading on PC/Mac). For e-book reader use, meanwhile, eBookIt programming entails a separate purchase for each format.
Several thoughts on Psalm 51:
At least ten of the nineteen verses are 24/7-relevant.
Verse 1 – repentance: Who doesn’t need the tender mercies of God’s unfailing love and great compassion?
Verse 4 – “For I know my transgressions”: It’s tough to examine ourselves, yet it’s ultimately cleansing, invigorating.
Verse 6 – There is much more to Psalm 51 than repentance: “… you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” Think how that happens.
Verse 10 — “pure heart … steadfast spirit”: Purity is foundational to steadfastness.
Verse 14 – a relevant word even to careless/distracted driving: “Save me from bloodguilt, O God…”
At some point in life, your mental faculties may decline into dementia of one form or another. Or a head injury suffered in an accident may leave you in a vegetative state. Or, whatever the cause, you may be at the brink of death. Certainly Jesus will be with you if you have entrusted your life to his care. No one knows what will be transpiring in the deep recesses of your mind when, to the world, you are seemingly incapacitated. But the Scriptures you have memorized and re-memorized — even just a sentence – could become beacons of light in the jumbled mass. Deep in your subconscious, they may flower forth into an extra measure of holy serenity. Most importantly, in eternity, they will have a special place in the heart of God. (Excerpt from Art Toalston’s new eBook, When I Meditate.)