Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Breath Prayer

"Breathing is an unconscious 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...

*  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 [Abba, Blessed, Creator, Counselor, Companion, Defender, Delight, Divine, Eternal, Exalted, Father, Friend, Forgiver, Giver, Gracious, Holy, Healer, Holy Spirit, Infinite, Inspirer, Joy, Jesus, Kind, Lord, Light, Love, Listener, Messiah, Master, Merciful, Physician, Peace, Protector, Precious, Perfect, Refiner, Refuge, Renewer, Restorer, Spirit, Source, Strength, Steadfast, Teacher, Truth, Understanding, Un failing, Uniter, Wisdom, Wonderful, Wise, Yahweh...].
*  As you exhale, voice a deep desire of your heart, offer up the desire of your heart.
*  Repeat this prayer over and over throughout the day.

This short repetitive prayer frees you from linear thought and allows you to begin to pray in your body, not just your mind.  It is meant to be a lived, breathing rhythm of surrender.  And it is a constant reminder of the One in whose presence you stand."
--Adele Ahlberg Calhoun, from "Spiritual Disciplines Handbok"

**Some examples: 
"God, have mercy on me."
"Gracious God, guide me in your ways." 
"Father God, give me strength today."
"Holy One, keep me true."
"Breath of life, Breathe in me.

This is a way of praying that I often use as I'm driving or drifting off to sleep (but not both at the same time!)...  How does it feel to you?

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