Prayer For The Week – Breath Prayer

Breathe in:  Lover of my soul,

Breathe out:  help me overflow with love.

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The following are exerpts from the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook by Adele Ahlberg Calhoun.  (This is one of the best books I have come across on spiritual disciplines.  The book contains a depth of perspective and spirituality and yet remains accessible.)

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.”

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Lover of my soul, help me overflow with love.

Lover of my soul, help me overflow with love.

Lover of my soul, help me overflow with love.

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