Simple Breath Prayer

The Breath Prayer is a way to follow Paul’s exhortation to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). It has the potential to become as natural as breathing. It is a short prayer of praise and petition, six to twelve syllables in length, which can be repeated throughout the day.

The best-known version of the Breath Prayer is the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” But you can create your own version, too.

As you are learning the practice of Breath Prayer, be in a place and attitude of silence and reflection. Be still and peaceful, free of distractions. Spend a few minutes sitting in silence.

Imagine God standing in front of you, asking you “What do you want? What do you need?” Write down the first thing that comes to your mind.

Choose a name of God from Scripture. Something like Father, Jesus, Lord, Abba, Spirit. Combine the name of God, and your want or need, into a short phrase.

Begin your prayer in rhythm with your breathing. Breathe in, and say the name of God; breathe out, and say your request or need. If you’re using the Jesus Prayer, breathe in and say, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God;” breathe out and say, “have mercy on me, a sinner.”

Repeat this prayer over and over again with your breath. Repeat it a certain number of times, or for a certain amount of time.

Slowly, and with practice, your Breath Prayer will become a part of your routine, as natural to you as breathing. You will begin to pray this prayer not only in times of silence, but as you walk, drive, and complete everyday tasks. Through this prayer you will gain a deeper understanding of your need for God, and see God walking with you throughout your life.