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