Practicing Breath Prayer

May Work of Piety
Practicing Breath Prayer

On May 19 we will be celebrating Pentecost Sunday, when we remember how the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples empowering them to be bearers of the good news of the kingdom. In Hebrew the word ruach means both spirit and breath, and the ancient practice of breath prayer is a way to remind us that God is as near to us as our every breath.
Original breath prayers used short phrases or verses from the psalms like “Lord, in you I trust.” (Psalm 25:2) Later, personal petitions began to be used as well, petitions arising out of heart- felt needs or desires like “Shepherd, guide me” or “Healer, make me whole” or “Lord, grant me peace.” Here are some simple steps to follow when practicing a breath prayer:

  1. Decide upon a simple prayer petition. It can be either a brief phrase or verse of scripture, or a petition expressing some personal need or desire. 
  2. Find a quiet place and a few moments of quiet time. Settle into a comfortable position. Close your eyes, and begin to notice your breathing. Try to breath slowly and naturally, remembering that God is as near to you as your every breath. 
  3. Then begin to offer your prayer petition to God. You may want to do part of the petition on the in breath “Healer” and part on the out breath “make me whole”. Or you may do a full breath with each word, breathing in and out “Lord,” breathing in and out “grant,” breathing in and out “me,” breathing in and out “peace.” Experiment. There is no one, right way. 
  4. As you bring your prayer time to an end, notice again your breathing. Offer a simple “Thank you, God” or and “Amen.” Then slowly open your eyes. 
  5. As you go about the rest of your day, try to bring the spirit of your prayer petition to all that you say and do.

Practicing Breath Prayer Together
Wednesday, May 22nd, at 9:00 am and 6:30 pm

For our May Work of Piety we are encouraged to practice breath prayer. If you would like the opportunity to talk some about your experience of this practice and to learn a little more about it, and then to have a time to practice it together as a group, Pastor Marty will be leading prayer times twice on May 22nd. We will gather in the Reception Room at 9:00 am and 6:30 pm. Each prayer time will last about 30 – 45 minutes.