Breathing Prayer

Last week, when Maranda and I chatted about how becoming more in tune with ourselves physically led us to become more aware spiritually, I was reminded of breath prayer. Simple. Refocusing. A pause between activities.

In her book, Sacred Rhythms, Ruth Haley Barton says “Breath prayer is to the spiritual life what oxygen and the pulmonary system are the life in the body, a way for us to breathe rhythmically and reflexively with the Spirit–the very breath of God.”

She also says, “the breath prayer helps us pray when we don’t know how to pray. It gives us a way to pray even when we can’t pray formally. It can be used to usher us into contemplative prayer, and when our mind wanders, we can be brought back from distraction by simply repeating our breath prayer.”

Don’t JUST take her word for it, or my word for it either. Take some time to learn about breathing prayer.

Your prayer begins with an inhale as you address God by name . . . Jesus, God of Glory, Holy Spirit, Precious Savior.

After you breathe in fully for 4-5 seconds, pause briefly to consider what you’d like to express.

Then, breathe out your prayer in a few words which will take another 4-5 seconds. Here are a few examples, but the possibilities are endless:

JESUS . . . I NEED YOU NOW

GOD OF MERCY . . . COME TO MY RESCUE

HOLY SPIRIT . . . SPEAK THROUGH ME

PRECIOUS SAVIOR . . . MAKE A WAY

LORD I BELIEVE . . . HELP MY UNBELIEF

These are quiet prayers. You may want to speak softly or simply breathe and pray silently. You can slip it into any part of your day or pray for long stretches of time. Start with a 5-minute practice, but you can do this as long and as often as you’d like.

If you’d like to take a few minutes for reflection, may I suggest this new song from Hillsong Worship, “Every Breath”:

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