“Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being.” (Genesis 2:7)
We all have those days. When nothing seems to go right. When we’re stressed out, or preoccupied, or wound up. We can’t get out of our own way. Our bodies are tense, our shoulders hunched, our faced scrunched into a permanent frown. Like a rubber band stretched so tight we’re about to snap.
We feel as far from “holy” as you can get. And sincere prayer seems impossible in the mood we’re in. The words won’t come and we can’t force it
On these days your prayer can be as simple as breathing. Stop what you’re doing and just breathe. Plant your feet solidly on the ground. Relax your shoulders. If possible, close your eyes. With each breath focus only on the air moving in and out. Fall into a rhythm as you breathe slowly and deeply.
Breathe in God’s love, grace, and mercy.
Breathe out your worries and doubts.
Breathe in God’s presence.
Breathe out your frustrations and defeats.
Breathe in the cleansing power of the Holy Spirit.
Breath out negative thoughts and ill feelings.
Using breath as a form of prayer is an ancient Christian practice. The Hebrew words for “breath” and “spirit” are the same. When we’re breathing, we call forth the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. We’re using our bodies to focus on the essence of our connection with God. Our own moment of Divine creation when God breathed the breath of life into our nostrils.
The focused rhythm of breathing is really all that’s needed to center you and bring you closer to God. But if you’d like to add a bit more, choose a simple phrase to repeat as you breathe.
God is with me
Holy Spirit, guide me
Do not be afraid
Be still and know that I am God
Because breathing is a constant process in our lives, praying with your breath is a wonderful way to access God at any time during your busy days, your stressful days, your bored days, or your really, really bad days.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord
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