I have never been through something like COVID-19 pandemic before! How about you? One of the questions I’ve been wondering about is how do I pray when I find myself anxious. After a while it seems hard to find the words.
This is where the ancient practice of Breathe Prayer can be helpful. A Breathe Prayer is a short sentence that we repeat as we breathe in and out. You can use Scripture, a song, a poem or make your own. Saying a prayer as we breathe in and out places us in God’s presence, calming our hearts and minds. The act of breathing calms our body. We believe that God is concerned not only about our spiritual life but also our bodies. So doing a prayer that impacts both of these can remind us that Jesus is both human and divine. How comforting to know that in his humanity he understands our stresses and fears, and in his divinity is able to address them and help us.
Here’s how it works. First decide on your prayer. If you want to make your own, think of a way of addressing God that is meaningful to you and then in 5 to 6 words state your deepest desire. You will see a whole list of possible Scripture prayers for this time at the end of this post.
Begin by finding a comfortable place to sit. Sit in such a way that you can deeply breathe in and out. Take a few slow, deep breathes. Acknowledge the presence of God with you. If it is helpful, use your God-given imagination or light a candle. As you breathe, notice the tension in your body and invite God’s healing touch in those areas. Begin praying. Start with 10 x at first and see if you can work up to 5 minutes. Set a timer if that would be helpful.
As you inhale, fill your whole self with breathe. Feel the air in your lungs. And then say the first part of your prayer. As you say the second part, exhale slowly and fully.
When you are finished, sit quietly for a moment. Slowly transition from prayer to the rest of your day. If you desire you can do this several times a day. You can also use your Breathe Prayer anywhere and anytime you need to reconnect with God and remind yourself he is with you during this time of anxiety.
Here are some ideas of prayers you could use:
From Matthew 11:28 – 30
Inhale: Humble and Gentle One
Exhale: you are rest for my soul.
from Romans 8: 38 – 39
Inhale: Nothing can separate me
Exhale: from the love of God
from 2 Chronicles 20:12
Inhale: Jesus, we do not know what to do
Exhale: so we keep our eyes on you
from Psalm 23:4
Inhale: I will not be afraid
Exhale: for you are with me
from Psalm 46:1
Inhale: You are our refuge
Exhale: and our strength
from Psalm 91:1
Inhale: I find rest
Exhale: in your shelter
from Psalm 121:1 - 2
Inhale: I lift up my eyes to the hills
Exhale: my help comes from the Lord
from 2 Corinthians 12:9
Inhale: Your grace
Exhale: is enough for me
from Philippians 4: 5 – 6
Inhale: You Lord are near
Exhale: I need not be anxious
from Philippians 4: 7
Inhale: Peace of Christ
Exhale: Guard my heart
from Colossians 1:17
Inhale: You are before all things
Exhale: You are in all things
from 1 John
Inhale: There is no fear
Exhale: in your love
Inhale: Perfect love
Exhale: casts out fear
I pray that God will bless you in whatever way you choose to spend time with him. The truth is, it is only in his strength that we can journey through this unprecedented time.
Here is a blessing for you:
The peace of God which passes all understanding,
keep your heart and mind in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessings of Almighty God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
be upon you and remain with you always.