Bethlehem Lutheran Church

37000 Union Lake Rd, Harrison Twp., MI 48045
(586) 791-3030

Spiritual Matters

The Breath Prayer

Posted by bethlehemlutheran on July 23, 2010 at 1:10 PM

Here is a pop quiz for you:

     1. What do we all do every day that is most essential to life?    Answer: breathing

     2. As Christians, what is our most essential spiritual practice:    Answer: prayer

     3. What combines these two essential activities?    Answer: the breath prayer

The breath prayer is a simple but powerful prayer. A variation of what is commonly known as centering prayer, it helps the body relax as the mind focuses on short phrases that express a truth, create an image, or make a request. This in turn refreshes and strengthens the spirit. Each breath prayer is the length of a single breath. For example, as you inhale, pray “I trust you” and as you exhale, pray “with my life.” The prayer is then repeated as you continue breathing in and out. It can be repeated many times or just a few, as you wish.


In her book, The Cup of Our Life, Joyce Rupp suggests these breath prayers:

     Held in your mercy (while breathing in) . . . held in your love (while breathing out)

     Joy and sorrow . . . live together

     I stand . . . beneath the cross

     Send your light . . . send your truth

     Strengthen me . . . encourage me


The possibilities are limitless. You already know many phrases you can use. How about “Jesus . . . loves me” or “The Lord . . . is my shepherd”? You can also find a Scripture passage that exactly fits your need of the moment. Use a concordance to help you do this. Or make up your own phrase such as “His amazing grace . . . is saving me.”


The breath prayer is a good way to begin a devotional time, because it fits easily into whatever daily prayer and worship routine you already have established. It’s also easy to do throughout the day whenever you are waiting for the light to change, standing in line at the bank or grocery store, taking a break with a cup of coffee, etc. It is definitely the pause that refreshes – mentally and spiritually.


Let the Spirit guide you and have fun with this! May it bless your journey.

Your shepherd in Christ.

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