Breath Prayer

A repeated meditative prayer in the two parts of each breath. With every breath, you draw divine truth deeper into lived reality.

Understaning Breath Prayer

A Breath prayer is short. It is composed of two halves. The first is recited as you inhale, and the second as you exhale. This requires the prayer to have a natural conceptual break. It is most often written in two halves. They are easily memorable and repeatable. Each should let you pray with a slow rhythm, and intentional breathing.

It is most common for a breath prayer to be repeated over a number of minutes. There may be an initial power to the insightfulness or reality of the prayer. When we meditate upon the words as we repeat them, that power begins to take hold. No matter where you are, you are invited to slow your breath. To swirl around the words in meditation. To pause between remembrances for moments of contemplation with God. Listening and paying attending to the fullness of your body and experience. This type of prayer can be quietly spoken or repeated in your mind.

Between the two halves of this prayer take a brief pause. Allow yourself to rest in the world between. This space is both a space of the present, the past, and the yet to be. A space of possibility and longing. The space between the halves is one of hope. Hope that the space between myself, and our world and God may decrease. That as one half of a breath follows the other, the realities in our prayer would follow one another.

What is prayed will change. Nearly every breath prayer includes an honest reality about your life paired with a related divine truth. This truth may be an excerpt of scripture, something you believe about God, or an expression of desperation to God. If you are new to breath prayers, we encourage you to start with a couple verses in one of the gospels or a stanza from a psalm.

These prayers can be topical, or created as needed for your context. Breath prayers are used to bring our focus back to Jesus. They can be prayed to express a deep need, as Bartimaeus did. They can be prayed to realign our hearts and minds on things above. To affirm and remind ourselves of a character of God in our life. They can free us from lies about ourselves and our situation. You can pray scripture back to God. To declare what you’re experiencing with a response from scripture. Or to simply welcome God into your day or circumstance.

Praying Breath Prayer

Breath Prayer is a very flexible way to pray. It can easily adjust to the time you have. You can pray it in the calm of your home, on a busy metro, or walking through your city. Its simplicity and repetition make it an ever present invitation to pray.

Step 1: Set aside time to pray.

Have a sense of the time you have to pray. It is helpful know beforehand the time you need to finish your time of prayer. We should try to conclude our prayers with time before what is next in our day. It makes it easier to bring calm and peace with us into the rest of our day. Checking in with yourself, your calendar, and the rest of your day helps you stay present while praying.

Step 2: Select or Create your Prayer.

There is no such thing as a perfect prayer. We encourage you to not spend too long searching or creating your prayer. If you would like, the Jesus Prayer is included here for you to use.

Inhale: Jesus Christ, Son of God,
Exhale: have mercy on me, a sinner.

Step 3: Set aside the distractions you can.

What distractions can you set aside? Do you need it to be quiet? Are you in a place where you can light a candle as a symbolic way of welcoming God into your time of prayer?

Step 4: Enter into your first breath.

Intentionally accentuate each half of your first breath. With practice, this prompting will inform your body and mind it is time for breath prayer.

Repeated Step: Breathe between each Prayer.

It is normal for your repetition of the breath prayer to be more frequent as you start. As the breaths pass by try waiting longer between the breaths you repeat the prayer with. Repeat the breath prayer when you find your mind wandering away. This is a gentle, tender, and loving way to return your focus to prayer. It will happen to you, and thats okay.

The moments between repeating your breath prayer are opportunities for reflection, meditation, and contemplation. What are you feeling, thinking, and experiencing in your body? Embrace what you are realizing and let yourself dwell with it. You can thank God for this realization. At this point it can be helpful to repeat the prayer.

Final Step: Take your final breath.

It is time to conclude your prayer. Take a deep breath. Repeat your breath prayer one more time. Simply add an “Amen.” If you make the sign of the cross when you pray, this can be nice time to mark the conclusion of this sanctified time.

Writing your own Breath Prayers

Prayer, including breath prayers, is an integration of you and God. It is a back and forth between your lived life and experiences, and the Creator of that life. So lean into this. Is there something going on in your life that you’d like to bring before Jesus? Find a way to shorten this thought into just a few words. For example:

– I wait on you Jesus,
Follow that with a truth you know about God in response to your prayer.
– You are always with me.

Inhale: I wait on you Jesus,
Exhale: You are always with me.