• TRADITION: Christianity
  • NEED: Spiritual Development
  • LEVEL: Beginner

This meditation is a form of Christian contemplative prayer that uses the word maranatha as a mantra. The word, which translates from Greek as “Come, Lord,” is a prayer to Jesus. Maranatha can be practiced every day, in the morning and evening.

What’s behind the name of this meditation practice?
In Aramaic, the language of Jesus, maranatha comes from a pair of words that were translated into Greek. The precise meaning of the word depends on how it is split: marana tha means “Come, Lord,” while maran atha means “Our Lord has come.” In most teachings of maranatha meditation, the word is said to mean “Come, Lord,” a prayer to Jesus.
What’s the concept?
Maranatha meditation is a form of Christian contemplative prayer that uses a specific word, maranatha, as a focal point to still the mind and enter the presence of God. John Main, the Roman Catholic priest and Benedictine monk who developed the practice, explains why it strengthens our relationship with God: “The all-important aim in Christian meditation is to allow God’s mysterious and silent presence within us to become not only a reality, but the reality which gives meaning, shape, and purpose to everything we do, to everything we are,” he says. Maranatha meditation resembles the Eastern practice of mantra meditation, but with key differences. Instead of aiming to transcend the self, contemplative prayer is based on a personal connection with Jesus and is devotional in nature. Repetition of a holy word clears earthly distractions from the mind and allows space for a communion with God to occur. “Deepening fidelity to the mantra leads to a growing awareness of the divine presence within us,” Laurence Freeman, director of the World Community for Christian Meditation, explains.
How did this meditation practice originate?
Like other forms of contemplative practices, maranatha meditation traces its roots to the mystical writings of John Cassian, one of the “Desert Fathers,” or early Christian monks, who taught the importance of cultivating inner silence to commune with God. John Main found even deeper meaning in Cassian’s teachings. The mystic emphasized the necessity of using a single, short phrase to achieve mental stillness, and Main quickly saw its universal relevance. The devotional recitation of holy words is a venerable tradition in Christian worship, and it’s a common practice in the East, where Main learned to meditate. Main made the connection and began to teach the technique using the word maranatha, which he chose for its sacred meaning in Jesus’s mother tongue. The Book of Revelation and St. Paul’s Letter to the Corinthians end with the word maranatha.
What’s unique about this meditation?
The unique aspect of maranatha meditation among other forms of Christian contemplative prayer is its use of a mantra. Centering prayer also involves the repetition of a devotional word, but that word is “like background music to our intention to be in God’s loving presencewe use it when we need it.” During maranatha meditation, the mantra takes center stage, pushing out other thoughts until we reach a place of peace with God. Maranatha meditation combines the scientific efficacy of Eastern mantra practices with a belief system rooted in Christianity, an option that’s appealing to many progressive Christians.
What are its chief benefits?
“We meditate in order to take the attention off ourselves,” Laurence Freeman says. “In the Christian tradition, contemplation is seen as a grace and as a reciprocal work of love. Not surprisingly, then, if we find we become more loving people as a result of meditating, this will express itself in all our relationships, our work, and our sense of service, especially to those in need.”
Is there evidence of its effectiveness?
By measuring the brainwaves of people in deep meditative states, scientists have found neurological changes that closely resemble the experiences reported by mystics—a feeling of interconnection with others and a deep sense of our own universality. Studies on meditating nuns showed increased activity in the area of the brain responsible for concentration and decreased activity in the parts that maintain our sense of self—an explanation, perhaps, for why long-term meditators tend to be more altruistic. There are health benefits, too. In 2005, the American Journal of Cardiology published a study that tracked patients with mildly elevated blood pressure over the course of eighteen years. Subjects either learned behavioral techniques, such as relaxation or mindfulness; health education; or Transcendental Meditation, a similar mantra-based technique. The groundbreaking results? Mantra meditation reduced death rates by 23 percent.
Are there any side effects or risks?
Are there any controversies?
Christian denominations and organizations number more than forty-one thousand, so there will always be divergent beliefs about any spiritual practice. The most common criticism of maranatha meditation and other forms of contemplative prayer is that they cross into the territory of Eastern religions and New Age thought in their aim to find communion with God, an idea that alarms fundamentalists. One disgruntled Catholic calls the meditation “a pagan practice that achieves hypnosis.” Contemplative prayer has unified and reengaged many Christians around the world, however, and top Catholic leaders are among its advocates.
How can it be learned?
The World Community for Christian Meditation’s website (www.wccm-usa.org) contains excellent resources for deepening your experience, and the organization hosts meditation groups and retreats. However, individuals can easily learn the practice on their own.
Are there any charges for learning?
How is this meditation practiced?
To practice this meditation, close your eyes, take a few breaths to center yourself, and silently say the word maranatha in four syllables of equal length, timed to the natural rhythm of your breath. Speak from your heart and make each syllable a prayer. Our step-by-step guided meditation is available on this page.
Can anyone practice this meditation?
This meditation can be practiced by people of all faiths, but due to its focus on Biblical teachings and use of an Aramaic mantra, Christians will feel the most at home with this practice.
Who are the well-known practitioners?
The best-known teachers and authors in this field include:

Laurence Freeman
Frans de Ridder
John Stroyan
Is any equipment or material required for practice?
Maranatha Meditation
Practice Now Play guided Audio
Waktu meditasi minimal brp menit
Wonderful practice and easy to learn
Schedule Your Daily Meditation