What is a breath prayer?

What is a breath prayer?

Blowing bubbles by Christos Loufopoulos via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)
By C. Loufopoulos CC BY 2.0

Overwhelmed with life right now? Feeling out of breath? Then breath prayers are definitely something you should practice.

A breath prayer is a short request of God that you can express in one exhale. A traditional example would be the Jesus Prayer:

Lord Jesus Christ, son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.

Many have and do use the Jesus Prayer, but you are more than free to fashion your own breath prayer. How would you do that? Here are a few tips.

Life is overwhelming. What do you need from God to help you in this challenging season? For a starter think through the fruit of the Spirit (i.e., love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control; see Gal 5:22). Maybe you are in the midst of grief and need God’s peace, or you are raising a young family and lack forbearance. You get the idea.

Next choose a name or image for God that speaks to you. For example: Heavenly Father, Lord, Shepherd, Creator, Saviour, Spirit of Truth, Abba (for more ideas see this link). Now put the name of God together with your heart’s request. Try to keep the whole phrase to about eight syllables. Short enough to express in one breath.

Right now my regular breath prayer is, “Abba Father fill my heart with joy.” I want to have a positive and winning attitude even when situations are draining or complex. It is my intention to pray this regularly throughout my day. Usually silently, but sometimes audibly. This breath prayer reminds me where my help is coming from when situations are tough. It is a great way to remember that God is with me and for me.

What is your breath prayer? How does it help you?


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