Friday, February 01, 2008

Breath Prayer

The following are exerpts from the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun. I really liked what I read in it about "Breath Prayer":

Breathing is an uncounscious thing. And breath prayer reminds us that just as we can't live on one breath of air, we can't live on one breath of God. God is the oxygen of our soul, and we need to breathe him in all day long. After all, it is in him that "we live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28). Breath prayer reminds us that each breath we are given is God's gift and that God's Spirit is nearer to us than our own breath.

Breath prayer or "prayer of the heart" has been practiced in the church 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."

To practice breath prayer, ponder the nearness of God. Settle deeply into the truth that Christ is in you. Deeply breathe in, repeating any name of God that is dear to you. As you exhale, voice a deep desire of your heart. When you exhale, offer up the desire of your heart. The brevity of the prayer allows it to be repeated over and over throughout the day.

Examples of breath prayers are

  • breathe in "Abba," breathe out "I belong to you."
  • breathe in "Healer," breathe out "speak the word and I shall be healed."
  • breathe in "Shepherd," breathe out "bring home my lost son."
  • breathe in "Holy One," breathe out "keep me true."
  • breathe in "Lord," breathe out "here I am."
  • breathe in "Jesus," breathe out "have mercy on me."

"Think often of God, by day, by night, in your business and even in your diversions. He is always near you and with you; leave him not alone." -Brother Lawrence


ALF said...

It's really amazing how relaxing it can be to just breathe.

josey said...

starshine, this is beautiful. i have been practicing yoga for almost a year now, and am finally learning how dramatically deep breathing physiologically relaxes me. these breath prayers are the PERFECT addition to my yoga; they still allow me to clear my mind and dont require the division of attention like a normal prayer does.

i always love what you have to share!! thank you! :)