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The Comfort and Peace of Breath Prayers

A woman with her clasped hands at her heart and her eyes closed enjoying the peace of being surrounded by trees.The ability to commune with God in prayer is one of the most precious and powerful gifts we have as people of faith. God invites us to share all our cares, concerns and loves to receive our thanksgiving and praise. There are many ways to pray, but one of the easiest and most natural is through praying “Breath” prayers.

Breath prayers make us more aware of the rhythms of our bodies and help us remember that our breath connects us to the Spirit of life itself. At creation, God breathed the Spirit into humankind and that is what made us living souls (Gen 2:7). After Jesus’ resurrection, He came to the fearful disciples in the upper room and breathed His Spirit onto them to bring them peace and deliver them from their fear and confusion (John 20:22).

Deep breathing, especially when we are worried, angry or afraid, while focusing on a passage of scripture, a line from a hymn or a simple thought or request can bring us a wonderful sense of comfort and peace. Breath prayers help us focus on the nearness and goodness of God. It is one way to “abide” in the one who is as near as our next breath.

To pray a breath prayer:

  • breathe in slow and deeply as you whisper or think the words on which you choose to focus
  • hold your breath for a moment and be mindful of God’s presence
  • then exhale as you whisper or think the next part of your prayer

For example, you can inhale deeply as you say, “The Lord is my Shepherd,” hold your breath momentary and feel God’s presence and love, and then exhale as you say, “I shall not want.” Another example is “I need you Lord … Be near me now.”

Breath prayers can be offered any time or anywhere we feel the need or desire to share the company of the One who knows and loves us and promises to never leave or forsake us.

About the Author

Rev. Eileen Kelley-Warner join CLV in 2020 as the community’s chaplain. Her experience includes serving as interim pastor at The Lutheran Church of The Good Shepherd, pastor at St. Johns Lutheran Church and chaplain, counselor and religion classroom teacher at St. John’s Episcopal Church and School.