Christianity has a long history and tradition of Meditation or Contemplative Prayer at its heart.

From its beginning until the 16th century Christianity had at its core a unitive form of meditative prayer that culminated in an opening out into contemplation. Contemplation was seen as the the normal evolution of a genuine spiritual life.  However as religious thought progressed it developed the capacity for precise analysis in regards to concepts, divisions into genera and species, and definitions and classifications. The passion for theological analysis was also applied to the practice of prayer bringing to an end the simple spontaneous form of prayer based of lectio divina with its opening to contemplative prayer.  The living tradition of Christian contemplation diminished becoming lost in recent centuries.

The rediscovery of the integral teachings of John of the Cross and other masters of the spiritual life along with the proliferation of Eastern methods of meditation post World War 2 provided the impetus for a contemplative reawakening in Christianity.  The work of Benedictines Thomas Merton, Thomas Keating and John Main produced two widely taught steams of Christian meditation or contemplation.  Christian Meditation based on the work of John Main and Centering Prayer based on the work of Thomas Keating both present paths or meditation practices firmly rooted in the Christian tradition.

If you are interested in reading more about the history and development of contemplative prayer we recommend:

Open Mind Open Heart - The Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel by Thomas Keating  ISBN 0-8264-0696-3

Centering Prayer and Inner Awakening by Cynthia Bourgeault  ISBN 1-56101-262-9