The Breath Prayer

*This post has been adapted from the archives of the Lady Shepherd blog. Written and managed by Randi Shepherd.*


Contributor: Randi Shepherd

Sometimes it is hard for me to focus on Jesus.

Like today, I was sitting in my office trying to pray, and I could not get a grip. The reason was three-fold.

  1.  I gave up sugar and there is Easter candy I had forgotten about in my desk taunting me.
  2. My man and I got in a bit of a tiff this morning. I may or may not have yelled at him for being holy. (Don’t even ask.)
  3. I have a million things running through my mind, but most of all HOW TIRED I AM ALL THE TIME.

I once became friends with somebody on Facebook and their “About Me” said, “I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in 11 years.” I thought that was so strange, so strange that I even made a comment about it to Kris. He then pointed out, “She had kids 11 years ago.” To which I thought #dramaqueen. Can I please take a moment and say that  I was so good at parenting when I didn’t have kids. Le sigh. I’m wiser now… and more tired. I eat my crow, lady. I eat my crow.

Anyway, I was trying to pray, and I couldn’t. So finally, in a last ditch attempt to connect with God, I yelled out, “I can’t focus on you!” It was totally eloquent and reverent. Super spiritual, I tell ya. Immediately, though, it occured to me that I should begin practicing the “Breath Prayer.”

The “Breath Prayer” is a great prayer when 1. You have a million things running through your mind and you cannot focus 2. You want to pray, but don’t know what to say 3. You simply want to connect with God. This prayer allows you to approach God and give each moment to Him and allow Him into each moment of your life. It is incredibly simple, but extremely profound. AND one of the best parts of this prayer is that anybody can do it at any time.You can put it into practice when you are at the grocery store, taking care of babies, working, driving, in a fight, WHEREVER. It is super easy…and holy! (Wink wink)

The basic idea is that since we breathe all day long, and since we can do it whenever, wherever, it makes perfect sense to turn our breathing into a prayer. Prayer, in turn, creates an openness between ourselves and God. One of the most used breath prayers is titled, “The Jesus Prayer.” It takes two Bible verses Luke 18:39, “Son of David, have mercy on me” and Luke 18:13, “God have mercy on me, a sinner” and combines them together: Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me, a sinner.

So then you pray:

Breathe in: Jesus, Son of David,

Breathe out: Have mercy on me, a sinner.

That’s it. Breathe and pray. This prayer allows you to enter into God’s presence all day long, using your breath as the prompt and reminder to pray.

This prayer is one of my favorites because you can easily make it your own. Check out below for some suggestions on other breath prayers.

Variations of the Breath Prayer

Breathe in: Father. Breathe Out: I belong to you.

Breathe in: Healer. Breathe Out: Speak the word and I shall be healed.

Breathe In: Lord. Breathe Out: Here am I.

Breathe In: Prince of Peace. Breathe Out: Rest on me.

Breathe in: Sustainer. Breathe Out: You are all I need. 

(The first three listed are taken from The Spiritual Disciplines Handbook.)

Join with me today in practicing a breath prayer! Comment below and share with us the ones you create!

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