Tuning ourselves to our breath requires intention. Anyone who does yoga is keenly aware of how important breathing is to the practice. The breath prayer acknowledges how easy it is to be distracted by what's happening around you, or the thoughts swimming around in your head.
This prayer is a spiritual discipline that has been practiced for centuries by our church mothers and fathers, using our breath to help us focus and meditate on God.
It's is a way to focus on one thought, one image, one word, one sentence or one phrase that in turn joins us to our Creator. This contemplative prayer can be used throughout the day and in those moments when we experience anxiety, fear, distress, frustration but also joy.
The intentional slowing of your breath by inhaling and exhaling deeply is a proven way to slow down your pulse, and oxygenate your mind and heart. It's an invitation to pause and receive guidance when you have a decision to make or to exhale a word of thanks and gratitude. It's a way to let go and invite the peace of Christ, as the living Word of God, to meet you during the many moments of your day.
Here are some sample breath prayers you can use, along with instructions. Feel free to add your own.
Grace in. Breathe in, opening yourself up to grace.
Grace out. Exhale, allowing grace to flow through you into the world.
Bring us your strength,
that we might bear peace. Psalm 29:11
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
Send out your light and your truth,
that they may lead me. Psalm 43:3