Breath prayer is an important part of my Christian mindfulness practice. That’s common. The Christian breath prayer is a supercharged mantrum: the repetition of a word or phrase repeated in conjunction with a breath to center the mind on the presence of God.
I have used the phrase “Come, Holy Spirit” frequently during the day for more than 20 years. I inhale on the word “Come” and exhale on “Holy Spirit.” I plan to continue that practice for the rest of my life, but there are times when I could use another phrase.
Some Christians use short pieces of Scripture in breath prayer, and I see an advantage to this. I’ve found several ideas on Christian websites. For example, a piece written by Joe Iovino for the United Methodist Church website nicely summarizes various ways to expand our prayer lives, including using breath prayer. As he says,”The Holy Spirit is as near as the air we breathe.”
The mennoniteusa.org website offers a pdf on breath prayers with good ideas for using breath prayer. Two are different from anything I’ve seen before:
- Confessional Breath Prayers: Exhaling, you breathe out a confession of a personal failing or worry. Inhaling, you breathe in an assurance of God’s love. An example that they give is: (exhaling) I breathe out worry. (inhaling): Grant me your peace.
- Breath Prayers for the World: In this style, we exhale as we live up the sins of the world. We inhale as we breathe out corrections, such as “I am the hands and feet of God in the world.” The corrections are about love and justice. One example from me: (exhaling) I lift up all the suffering in Ukraine. (inhaling) May you bring peace and justice.
Finally, the website Soul Shepherding talks about breath prayers as a way to “deal with stress, overcome anxiety and be more effective in ministry to others.” The author, Bill Gaultiere, offers more information in his book “Your Best Life in Jesus’ Easy Yoke.” He recommends using Bible verses in breath prayers.
One of Gaultiere’s suggestions that I love is asking God a question first. Then do a breath prayer to “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
You can find Bible verses that meet your needs in “The Bible Promise Book,” which has verses organized by topic. Any other source that presents Bible verses for various situations could work as well.
The breath prayer is an important tool in Christian mindfulness. Using the Lord’s own words can expand its use.