Praying as We Breathe In & Out


By offering a simple prayer with every breath, we can be reminded "for in him we live and move and exist" (Acts 17:28).

Although rather simple, this practice requires a connection between the unconscious act of breathing and a conscious expression to God.

A Bit of History
The church has practiced breath prayer or "prayer of the heart" for millennia. The Eastern Orthodox Church, in particular, has seen breath prayer as a way of living out Paul's instruction to "pray without ceasing."



        Examples

Jesus Prayer
Take a moment to become aware of your breathing. It might help to find a quiet place -- close your eyes and notice your breathing.

As you breath in -- bring your thoughts to Jesus.
As you breath out -- express a word of gratitude or need.

For example, breath in -- saying "Lord, Jesus Christ" -- breath out saying "have mercy on me."

Throughout your day -- as you notice your breathing -- take note and express your gratitude to Jesus Christ.


Essence of the Practice
Repeat a simple one-sentence prayer.
Connect the prayer to your breathing and return to it throughout the day.
Breath prayers can be short prayers of love, gratitude, desire, surrender, etc.

Making It Your Own
Choose a scripture or spiritual truth and meditate on it for a few minutes. Consider what you recently have read, significant messages you have heard, or familiar phrases from a song. Put together a few words or a short phrase that is easy to remember and flows gracefully.

Quiet your mind and begin to recite the phrase either aloud or silently. I recommend aloud unless you are in a public location (that might be a bit too awkward).

As you breath in and out -- simply whisper or say the statement over and over. You could do this while sitting at your desk, washing dishes, taking a walk, commuting to work, during your shower... then throughout the day try to remember to recite the statement as you become more aware of your own breathing and your connection with God.

Here are a few phrases I've created based on scripture to get you started:


  • I will praise you with all my heart. Psalm 9:1
  • I trust in you for protection. Psalm 11:1
  • I wait quietly for you (breathing out) for you will never fail me (breathing in). Psalm 62
  • Help me recall what you have done for me. Psalm 77:
  • You are the God of great wonders. Psalm 77:14
  • Bend down and answer me for I need your help. Psalm 86:1
  • I come to you (breathing out) Give me rest (breathing in). Matthew 11:28
There is no right or wrong way to do this. Breath prayers are short prayers of love, gratitude, desire, surrender, etc. Try this throughout the day.


Please share your experiences. What did you try? How did it go? What did you notice?

11 comments:

  1. I am pretty excited about this blog so far! Even after a great day spent with women from Grace yesterday I was feeling your definition of atrophy today. I think this blog will provide a great place to stay connected throughout the summer as it is so easy to get off track spiritually this time of year! Thanks for the suggestions on the breath prayers. I will be trying them out!

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  2. I am new to Grace and had a great experience. I sat with two members of the church and they were very nice. I look forward to continuing my spiritual journey with the Women of Grace. Thank you for the breath prayer suggestions. I utilized that technique today and I really like it.

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  3. Amazing how busy we allow ourself to get sometimes. I really like the idea of the breath prayers. I guess now there is no excuse to not find time to think or say a simple prayer on the busiest of days or weeks. Now if I can just find the time to figure out what I want that simple prayer to be. Just kidding. I am going to work hard to make this a part of my every day.

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  4. I am really excited about this blog. It is shocking to me just how busy I get in the month of May. It's sad to say, but the moment that I read your last posting about the breathe prayer, was the last quiet moment I have had in awhile. I really needed that. I can't wait to encourage the rest of my group to make reading this a part of their everyday routine.

    Thanks for doing this.

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  5. This is my first experience with writing a blog. I think I'll like it, though. I've enjoyed reading other comments and I'm excited to have this means to stay in touch and connected during the summer months.
    The 'breath prayers' make a lot of sense and so simple yet effective. Why didn't I think of doing this before? Thanks.

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  6. Cool blog, Corinne! I'm relieved to see "worship" and "serving others" are spiritual disciplines, since I seem to be completely lacking in the others listed in the sidebar quiz. Between kids and all my ADD interests, it's all I can do to sing along with my worship CD in the car! This is a really neat outlet for those of us who feel like we can only relate well online because there always seem to be children hollering in the background. Thanks for your courage and service! XOXO from your "sitting-on-the-floor-in-the sunshine-with-our-shoes-off-last week" friend

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  7. I love the simplicity of the breath prayer. I just have to remember to do them. Today would have been a wonderful day to give it a whirl as I worked in my yard pulling weeds and mulching. I wish I had thought to do it as I enjoyed the beautiful day. Bummer, I can get so distracted. I think I need to begin my day with a scripture. I think I am going to write a few of my favorite verses down on an index card and put them beside my toothbrush OR by the coffee pot. That way I'll be sure to see them. Okay... I am going to do it right now. I'll let you know how it goes.

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  8. Today's breath prayer for me is "i know/God has a plan for me"...but today as I type into my blogger's debut, I ask myself-I am trying to listen to God's words, and I seek him through his words, but I feel like I swear I hear two voices! One says, God has his timing, be patient, and the other says, God gives you armor...forge ahead, lift your chin up high because he is proud of you-go for it rock star! I have an amazing job opportunity, just wanting to proceed as God wants me to. He is so cool!

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  9. Great post, Corinne. What I love about Breath Prayer is the simplicity of the idea and the simplicity of the execution. We have made our lives so complicated. I find that I am drawn to the simple things. They are refreshing, relaxing, and SO DO-ABLE! Thanks again, and I look forward to putting breath prayers into action in my daily life!

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  10. Love this blog Corrine. What a great idea......thank you!

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  11. Stacia Matthews7/6/08 12:10 PM

    I just received your e-mail regarding Breath Prayer.


    Boy was it right on time.

    I was having a rough day... dealing with people, arrogance and attitude.

    And I certainly wasn't "breathing" with the right attitude.

    Thank you for the gentle reminder.

    I hope all is well with you!!!

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