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Breath Prayer: A Way to Reflect and Connect with God Part 1

Person praying
Did you know the average person can have 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day? And we all know that not all of these are positive thoughts! With the constant chatter of our minds and the demands of the world around us, finding moments of stillness and connection can feel like a rare treasure. Yet, within the simplicity of our breath lies a profound opportunity for inner peace, presence, and spiritual awakening. Additionally, breathing is one of the best ways to reset the nervous system, when done properly.

Breath prayer is also a great way to reconnect and still our racing thoughts. Breath prayer is rooted in ancient wisdom and embraced by diverse spiritual traditions, breath prayer offers an opportunity for mindfulness, contemplation, and communion with God. At its essence, breath prayer is a practice of rhythmically repeating a short phrase or mantra in harmony with the natural flow of our breath. In this simple yet profound act, we synchronize our physical being with our spiritual intention, inviting a deeper alignment of body, mind, and spirit. These simple prayers can be a way to transform our inner lives.

In the Christian tradition, breath prayer has its roots in the practice of the Jesus Prayer, which dates back to the early centuries of the Christian Church, particularly in Eastern Orthodox Christianity. The Jesus Prayer is a short invocation, such as “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner,” that is repeated rhythmically with each breath. This prayer is believed to have been inspired by biblical passages, such as Luke 18:13, where a repentant sinner cries out, “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” For more short prayers to pray, check out Breath Prayer Part 2, found here.

Here’s how it typically works:

  1. Choose a Phrase:

Select a short prayer or phrase that holds personal meaning or significance to you. This could be a verse from scripture, a sacred mantra, or a simple affirmation.

 

The phrase should be brief enough to repeat comfortably in one breath. For example, the practice of breathing in and saying, “I’m here” ~God. Then you say, “I’m here.”  Repeat this 3-5 times as you settle into your body and relax.

 

  1. Find a Comfortable Position:

Sit or stand in a relaxed and comfortable position, allowing your body to be at ease. Close your eyes if it helps you to focus inward.

 

Picturing yourself in your favorite place where you can feel completely relaxed and safe will help.

 

  1. Sync with Your Breath:

Take a few deep breaths to center yourself. Then, begin to silently repeat the chosen phrase as you inhale and exhale. Let the rhythm of your breath guide the repetition of the prayer.

 

  1. Repeat and Reflect:

Continue to repeat the breath prayer with each breath, allowing the words to sink deeply into your consciousness. As you breathe and repeat the phrase, gently focus your attention on the meaning and intention behind the words.

 

  1. Embrace the Silence:

As you engage in breath prayer, you may notice thoughts, sensations, or emotions arising. Simply acknowledge them without judgment and gently return your focus to the repetition of the prayer.

 

Through the gentle cadence of inhales and exhales, breath prayer offers us a sanctuary in the chaos of the world, a sacred space where we can anchor ourselves in the present moment and connect with the divine within and around us. In the simplicity of this practice, we discover a profound truth: that the gateway to inner peace, presence, and spiritual awakening lies not in striving or seeking, but in the gentle act of breathing with intention and awareness.

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