Breath Prayers

“Take a deep breath,” is what we often hear when someone notices our stress level. Breathing deeply can relieve stress. And when we incorporate deep breathing into our prayers, it not only benefits our physical health, it also benefits our souls. Breath prayers can be spoken in a single breath and repeated numerous times throughout the day.

The breath prayer is an ancient Christian prayer practice in which the rhythm of breathing in and out guides the rhythm of the prayer.

“Lord, have mercy.”
The earliest breath prayer was most likely the Kyrie Eleison (Greek for “Lord, have mercy”) or the “Jesus Prayer”, and was originally spoken as “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Try breathing in as you say “Lord” then breath out and say “have mercy.” Continue breathing in and out and repeating the words naturally as you seek God’s mercy and receive God’s grace.

Here are a few examples of other breath prayers.

“Speak, Lord, your servant is listening.”
Based on the words of the boy Samuel (1 Samuel 3:9), Pray these words to quiet your soul and express your desire to hear from God.

“My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.”
from Psalm 121:2

“Here I am. Send me”
This is a prayer of presence, and availability, based on the cry of the prophet in Isaiah 6:8.

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”
from Psalm 56:3

“Not my will, but yours.”
This prayer echoes Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42). It places the praying heart in a position of surrender, where great answers are likely to come.

“Come, Lord Jesus.”
from Revelation 22:20