Breath Prayer

My life has been filled up by numerous obligations and responsibilities this summer. There have been days when my head was swimming with all the stuff I need to get done. When that happens, I just have to let it all go and focus on one task at a time. Before I headed out to Colorado for the second of three Tour of Hope training camps, I had a day like that. Because I live in a fairly rural area, I try to be efficient and get my errands run on my trip to or from work. Well, after I was home, I tried to squeeze in a two-hour ride before dark. While riding, I realized I forgot to stop by a friend’s house to drop off some papers. I started to get really frustrated and could not imagine how I would get that done before I left for Colorado the next day. But I let it go, and decided to concentrate on my ride since there was nothing I could do to change the fact that I forgot that errand. I finished my ride, and while I was stretching in front of my house, a mini-van pulled up. The friend that I needed to get those papers to pulled up in front of my house! What made this really strange is that she has never been to my house before.

She came because she wanted to give me a book, called The Cup of our Life, by Joyce Rupp. She said she was at a conference and was compelled to purchase two copies of this book when she heard the author speak. She did not know who the second copy was for until a few days earlier. She knew that she needed to get a copy of the book to me soon. Then she saw my husband at the store and learned that I would be leaving, so she came over that night. (Consequently, I was able to give her those papers!)

The great thing about all this is that the book was exactly what I needed. At a time when my life is getting busier and busier, I needed something to keep me grounded and connected to what really matters. And what really matters to me is having a real love relationship with God. The one thing that the book offers which is really unique to devotional books I’ve used and seen is the use of breath prayer. I use breath prayer a lot, and this book uses it as a part of a daily devotional practice. When our lives get crazy busy, and we lose track of where we fit in the bigger scheme of things, when we allow little things to get us upset, and we make poor choices in setting our priorities, a simple breath prayer can help us to center again.

I believe God knew I needed this help, and he used his instruments to make sure that I got reconnected with this important tool. When you focus on your breath, you focus inward and away from earthly distractions. When you combine this focus with a one-line prayer it can be a power form of renewal and redirection. On the in breath, you visualize yourself filling up. On the out breath, you visualize yourself emptying. I visualize God’s love coming into my heart on the in breath, and I visualize all the negativity, pain, anxiety, fear, etc. emptying out on the out breath.

Here are some of my favorite ones:

Lord have mercy/Christ have mercy (when I am afraid)
I can do all things/ through Christ who strengthens me (when I feel overwhelmed)
Guide me/Guard me (when I need direction)
God is/Love
I am/ a love song (From The Cup of our Life)

Even a few minutes in breath prayer can bring serenity and peace to an otherwise chaotic world.


“I will sing to the Lord all my life;
I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
May my meditation be pleasing to him,
as I rejoice in the Lord.” –Psalm 104:33-34


“From morning until night
I am busy.
Surely all this motion
Is getting me somewhere,
isn’t it?
What an indefinite term!
Where am I going?
Am I any closer to being there
than I was yesterday?
I don’t know…
I’ve been so busy going.
I haven’t thought about

-Gladis and Gordon DePree


Lord, I breathe in your love. I let it fill my heart. I take in all I can, and still thirst for more. I breathe out my smallness. I let go of my fears, my prejudices, and my anger. I breathe in and find I’ve made more room for your love. Thank you for the gift that sets me free.


<Back to Archive