Breath. We all have it. Right?
If you're reading these words, I can guarantee one thing, there is breath in your lungs.
There is plenty of scripture in the Bible that tells us our breath is a gift from God. Glance below and see if any of these stand out to you:
The Lord God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into his nostrils. The human came to life. - Genesis 2:7 (CEB)
The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. - Job 33:4 (NRSV)
Now He drew close enough to each of them that they could feel His breath. He breathed on them: “Welcome the Holy Spirit of the living God.” - John 20:22 (Voice)
Nor is God served by human hands, as though he needed something, since he is the one who gives life, breath, and everything else. - Acts 17:25 (CEB)
Friends, God is the giver of the breath of life! It makes so much sense for us to use this gift as a constant way to commune with our creator. I stumbled upon using my own breath in a time of crisis in my life. A time when I had nothing and no one else to cling to, my breath was there and I began praying a breath prayer that affected me deeply. At the time, I didn't know this was an ancient practice.
A breath prayer allows us to pray a simple and intimate repetitive prayer before God. This prayer form has been practiced in the church for millennia. It is a form of contemplative prayer linked to the simple rhythms of our breathing.
Here is how it works:
Breathe in, calling on a biblical name or image of God that is significant to you.
Breathe out a simple God-given desire or longing of your heart.
That's it! With the reminder that each breath is a gift from God, our prayer becomes an opportunity to abide in union with each and every breath, to “never stop praying” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).
Breath Prayer examples:
Creator, shine on me
Abba, show yourself to me
Holy One, keep me true
Jesus, give me peace
Lord, here I am
Father, guide me
Messiah, heal my heart
You could also breathe in God's word as you follow along with your scripture reading this week. Consider Monday's passage of Mark 4:26-34. Breathe in the words of that parable for yourself today. You could pray:
Exhale: Give me faith like a mustard seed
So, how does the thought of repetitive prayer strike you? What are the up sides and down sides of repetitive prayer? How might a breath prayer be shorthand for a longer prayer of your heart?
A prayer for you this week:
With each breath I breathe, may his glorious, unlimited resources empower me with inner strength reminding me that Christ makes his home in my heart. May I have the insight to gain a glimpse, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is for me. May I experience the love of Christ fill me just as air fills my lungs, though both are too great to understand fully. May each breath remind me of the fullness of life and the power that comes from my creator. Amen. (Based on Ephesians 3:16-19)
If you've stumbled here for the first time, welcome! On Mondays through this Fall, I'm posting a list of scriptures for reflection as well as a different way to pray each week. Pray one scripture or pray them all, this is simply an invitation to journey deeper as we explore God's peace together. Click here to find out more and join us on the journey.
Whitney R. Simpson
• author • yoga & meditation teacher • spiritual director • creating soul care resources for exploring the gift of God's peace with breath, body & spirit •
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Whitney R. Simpson,
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