Breath prayer has been an important transformative practice for me over the years. For a stretch of time, my breath prayer was, [inhale] “Father, [exhale] love me.” I needed to know the love of a good parent, and God really did answer that prayer for me over time. Breath prayer has been a part of my journey in connecting my heart, mind, body, and soul, especially when I was very disconnected from being burned out from ministry. Practices like breath prayer draw us into simple meditation of who God is and who we are, and provide ways to deepen the connections to God, ourselves, and one another that we all need and long for.
As you think about the coming months, is there a specific invitation that God has for you to deepen these connections to become more holistically who you are meant to be? I am offering breath prayer as a rich exercise that you can do anytime to pay attention and explore that invitation.
How to Practice Breath Prayer
Start with practicing taking full, deep breaths (sometimes called belly breathing). Most of us only breathe with our chests, a very shallow form of breathing. Fill your chest, your ribs, and your belly with a full breath. Take 10 full breaths. What do you notice about your body? How do you feel? Maybe you notice that you carry tension in your chest and you feel anxiety. Or maybe you notice that your heart is beating strongly and you feel healthy. Pay attention to what your body is feeling.
Breath prayer links your rhythm of breathing in this way: 1) breathe in, calling on a biblical name or image of God, and 2) breathe out, sharing a simple God-given desire. Here is one breath prayer: Breathe in, “Be Still and Know.” Breathe out, “That I am God.” Breathe this breath prayer 10 times. Breathe slowly, taking your time, there is no rush. Consider these questions:
What do you notice right now?
How easy is it for God to get your attention?
When are you able to hear God’s still, small voice best?
In what ways has God been inviting you just to be with him?
When is God most present with you and you most present to God?
How is God inviting you to be in this posture of being still and knowing that he is God for in the coming months?
There are many examples of breath prayer. Maybe you are drawn to a certain name or image of God, and longing or desire. Take some time to examine what those might be, and perhaps what comes to mind will form your personal breath prayer for a season. It is amazing how simple a practice can bring about so much transformation holistically. As you breathe and pray, may you find new life.