Get tongue-tied sometimes when approaching God? Don’t know what to say? Begin your day with prayer and then leave whatever peace or calm you might have felt right in the room?
Prayer doesn’t have to be so mysterious or challenging. Prayer can be having a two-way conversation with God, who delights in having a conversation with you.
Come near to God and He will come near to you. James 4:8
Beginnings of Breath Prayer
Breath prayer is an ancient practice from Desert Mothers and Fathers, monks and nuns who went into the Egyptian desert to pray and meditate on God’s word. Starting about 300 years after Christ, they practiced praying continually, after years of intense persecution when many Christians were martyred.
Because their lives were so transformed by their disciplined life with silence, solitude and prayer, thousands of people traveled to visit them in the desert to receive spiritual direction or healing.
One of the beautiful things that emerged was this soul-full practice of Breath Prayers, meditating on short, one to two-word prayers. They often did this while sitting outside their huts and weaving basket from reeds.
As you can see, the idea about the breath prayer is that it can go with you throughout your day. You can pray as you go, breathing a prayer in and out.
Or you can stop periodically throughout your day by setting a reminder on your phone, to take a moment to pray.
Brain science also supports breath prayer because of the deep breathing you do that calms your brain and the rest of your body. Breath prayer is a stress reducer both psychologically and physiologically.
God wants to meet with you anywhere throughout the day. You can stop, breath and listen.
The how-to is simple, putting it into practice, more challenging.
How to Start
I would recommend starting your day with this practice until it becomes more of a habit you can return to throughout your day.
However, you may want to take 5 minutes at your lunch break and practice this prayer, too.
1. Take time to seat yourself, preferably in a quieter spot, feet flat on the floor. Close your eyes or gaze your eyes on the floor so you are not distracted by your surroundings.
2. Notice your breathing. Begin to lengthen your inhales and exhales gently. Count as you do so. If you have 5 counts in, 5 counts out, then see if you can lengthen them to 7 counts in, 7 counts out. (This process of noticing your breathe helps relax your body, helping you be ready to listen.)
3. Now, imagine God, Jesus or the Holy Spirit coming along beside you and you want to call out to Him.
What name would you use?
Father, Abba, King of Kings, Lord, God, Immanuel,
Jesus. Holy One?
Who is God for you today? That is to whom you are praying.
4. Now as you have that name, ask yourself,
What is it I need this day?
Is it peace? Truth? Mercy? Grace? Love? Gentleness? Calmness? Stillness? Wisdom? Peace?
Or it could be a phrase;
no fear, hold my hand, be present today, show your face, ……
5. Now you can begin to practice your prayer.
Breathe in the name you chose — for example: “Jesus“,”
Breathe out what you need “Have mercy”
Or breathe in “God”
Breathe out “Bring peace”
6. Practice this prayer 5–7 times slowly. Breathe in… Breathe out…
7. Afterward, notice your body, your emotions, your thinking…..
What is different for you?
As you begin to practice your breath prayer, you will find the combination of words that resonate for you and meet what your heart needs and how God is talking to you.
For me, often my breath prayer is breathe in “I AM” breathe out “With you”. I need to be reminded of His presence over and over again.
Get ready to jump in and experience a breath prayer. You may need some practice and getting used to doing it. I hope you’ll give it a trial run and find out how God is wanting to speak to you through these breath prayers.
It takes time to make a new practice feel comfortable. God will honor your attempts at conversation with Him. He delights in you coming closer to Him.
He is waiting. What are you waiting for?
Nancy B Booth creates safe spaces for women to seek and listen to God’s love, hope, and pathway in their lives. As a spiritual director, she believes everyone can have sacred moments in their lives daily, by building awareness of “eyes to see and ears to hear” what God has for you. She would love to walk with you in your journey to have those conversations with God who delights in you.