Whether you call them resolutions, goals or longings, you probably remind yourself of a few things that are good for your body at the start of each new year. But what about your soul?
You can exercise work of the soul along with care of your body. Doing so may be as simple as the air you breathe. Soul work may even breathe new life into activities that are good for your body.
Breathe. If you are reading these words, there is breath in your lungs. Scripture tells us our breath is a gift from God:
“The Lord God formed the human from the topsoil of the fertile land and blew life’s breath into his nostrils. The human came to life.” (Genesis 2:7, CEB)
“The spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4, NRSV)
“Then he took a deep breath and breathed into them. ‘Receive the Holy Spirit,’ he said.” (John 20:22, The Message)
“Nor is God served by human hands, as though he needed something, since he is the one who gives life, breath, and everything else.” (Acts 17:25, CEB)
God gives the breath of life, and this gift is a constant way to commune with our Creator. A breath prayer allows you to pray a simple and intimate repetitive prayer before God. Breath Prayer is a form of contemplative prayer. You can use it in a variety of ways, and it is an excellent way to meditate actively while walking, running, biking, swimming or practicing yoga.
Here is how it works:
Breathe in, calling on a biblical name or image of God that is significant to you. Breathe out a simple God-given desire or longing of your heart.
Does it sound simple? It is.
With the reminder that each breath is a gift from God, our prayer becomes an opportunity to abide in union with God. Allow your soul to come alongside the care of your body, and give life and purpose to your physical practices by using your breath to express the longings of your heart this new year.
Breath Prayer examples:
Creator, shine on me.
Abba, show yourself to me.
Holy One, keep me true.
Jesus, give me peace.
Lord, here I am.
Messiah, heal my heart.
Whitney Simpson is a spiritual director and master yoga instructor with Holy Yoga Ministries. She received certification in Spiritual Formation from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary. A life-long student, Whitney enjoys the great outdoors with her family, has a passion for creativity, and savors writing and reading over a good cup of tea. She has experienced multiple physical health crises and is passionate about exploring the mind, body, spirit connection. You can connect with her at www.exploringpeace.com or on most social media sites at @WhitRSimpson.