It is not unusual for me to get caught up in the activity of life – busy tending toward hectic. Lists of things to do at work and home run through my mind, and it becomes difficult to just sit still and be.
Yet, I long to just be. To be present with my family. To be present in my work and ministry. To be aware of, and present with, God throughout my day.
Prayer generally roots me in the present (and God’s Presence), but recently I have truly struggled to pray with any sort of focus or regularity. A wandering mind and a failure to form many words have been the norm. Thankfully, I was reminded that prayer can take many forms, and one form in particular has been helpful in giving me some focus and stillness of mind.
The simple act of breathing, something we do every minute of everyday, when paired with a simple, prayerful phrase becomes a powerful, centering, and calming experience for me. Breath prayer has been around for a very long time in the church and there are numerous explanations of how to do it and examples of prayerful phrases you can use.
The basics, are simple: breathe in, silently praying a short phrase; breathe out, silently praying another short phrase. The breath in can focus on naming or praising God, the breath out can focus on a request or petition, or other scripture of prayerful phrases can be used. The same phrases can be repeated, or different phrases used.
(Breathe in) Loving God… (Breath out) fill my heart and soul.
(Breathe in) Create in me a clean heart… (Breathe out) Renew a right spirit within me.
(Breathe in) Holy Wisdom… (Breathe out) Guide my words and actions.
(Breathe in) Creator and Redeemer… (Breathe out) Heal our broken world.
As breath sustains my physical life, breath prayers are renewing and sustaining my spiritual life. Bringing me back into the moment. Bringing me back to awareness of God’s present and presence.