Breathing is something we do all day every day. We wouldn’t be alive without our breath. One of my favorite passages is from The Message translation of Psalm 62:2:
God is breathing room for my soul.
I picture God making room for my breath within me—as I breathe intentionally, I can feel my chest and my belly expand.
Sometimes when we stop to notice our breath, we notice that it is shallow or fast. While breathing is autonomic (natural and without our need to control it), we can also change the rhythm of our breath for a short time. As we slow down and become present to our breath, we can begin to slow our breath and draw it out. As we deepen our breath, we can add a short prayer on the inhale and exhale. Repeating this prayer can be like a mantra— a grounding place that we can come back to throughout a day or during times of transition.
I encourage you to try on a few breath prayers to see what fits you…the one that fits is the one that you can feel resonating with you. Maybe it brings a deep sigh as you hear yourself say it. Maybe it brings tears to your eyes. Maybe it feels like a resting place. While I have given a few examples, you might try on a few other phrases or a short Bible verse. Feel free to be creative and notice where God is inviting you to pause and breathe. If you would like to go a little further, I would invite you to place a hand on your heart and close your eyes as you breathe and repeat the breath prayer a few times.
Inhale: Be still and know
Exhale: I am God
Inhale: Even though the path is unknown
Exhale: You are with me
Inhale: I release (this season) to you
Exhale: I make room for what is new
Inhale: I enter this liminal space
Exhale: Trusting you are with me here
Inhale: I don’t know what lies ahead
Exhale: But I will trust you
Inhale: You are with me here
Exhale: As everything changes
Inhale: My soul finds rest
Exhale: In God alone
To help you out, we’ve put these breath prayers in a number of formats for you to easily use.
—A Beautiful one page print off with all of the breath prayers.
—A bookmark that you can print out, trim and “laminate” with packing tape (it’s the exact width of packing tape :)).
—Two version of a computer screen saver
—Images you can use on your phone or social media (You can find those on our Instagram page).
If you try this practice out, feel free to share your experience with it. Or maybe you have come up with your own breath prayer and would like to share it with others! We always love to hear from you.
P.S. Thank you Karen Huber of Full Stop Copy for feeding our souls with these visual images!