Breathe! Quiet your mind. Relax. Take another breath and blow it out. Now slowly say this breath prayer: “My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Say it again; “My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” And one more time; “My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Did you remember to breathe? It’s okay. It will come with a little practice. I love this simple little exercise that some practitioners say changed the way they live.
If you are like me, the recent news and political climate continue to create some real live tension and anxiety. It’s beyond overwhelming; it has become altogether consuming to our minds, our hearts, our souls, and our strengths. But, before you throw your arms up in a defeatist tone – stop, and say the above breath prayer again.
Lent begins this month and with it comes the age old ritual of “giving up” something for Lent. But rather than “giving up” something for Lent this year consider taking on this useful spiritual “discipline;” namely the breath prayer. Here is a short description of the concept.
Breath prayer is an ancient Christian prayer practice dating back to at least the sixth century. Historically, it is associated with the Eastern Church, particularly Greek and Russian Orthodox churches. Known as the “Jesus Prayer” or “Prayer of the Heart,” early practitioners would repeat to the rhythm of their breath the phrase, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” In time, the prayer was shortened to, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy” or simply, “Jesus, mercy.”
The breath prayer is usually said silently within. But some people sing it; others chant it. The reality is that it’s your prayer; use it your way. Here’s how it works:
- Close your eyes and say or think the line “My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.” Then try to be still, calm, peaceful, and open to the presence of God.
- With your eyes closed, imagine that God is calling you by name; that God is actually asking, what do you need?
- Then give God a simple and direct answer that comes from the what do you need? question. Write down your answer. Whatever your answer, this is the foundation of your breath prayer.
- Select the name that you are most comfortable using to speak with God. Combine it with your written answer to the question God asked you. This is your prayer. Breathe in the God name word; and then breathe out the second phrase/word which is your request or need. Repeat as many times as the spirit moves Example: “Compassionate God (inhale), help me to control my emotions (exhale).”
For more information go to: https://gravitycenter.com/practice/breath-prayer/
As we begin another Lenten journey may we be ever mindful of the needs and concerns of us all as we discern for ourselves how God is moving in our lives and what direction God may be leading. Hold fast, therefore, to the hopeful word of God; and may the breath of God blow gently upon you this day, and for the weeks to come.
And as always, I hope to see ya’ in church.