To help you celebrate Advent, you can try asking God to lead you to one or two of these Advent Breath Prayers from the Bible (very short meditations based on a Bible verse). Each one is inspired by one of the characters in the Christmas story.
This article will give you a brief background in practicing breath prayers and guide you through eight special Advent breath prayers to train your mind and heart on the love and presence of Jesus during this busy season.
Breath Prayers for Scripture Meditation
A Breath Prayer is a refreshing way of soul training in which you practice “abiding” (John 15:7, ESV) by slowly repeating the Bible verse (or paraphrase).
You can practice breathing the words in and out as indicated to help you engage with the words. When your mind wanders just gently bring it back to the prayer.
In the way of the ancient devotional masters, you’re seeking to descend with your mind into your heart, relying on the word of God to form your will to be more submitted to God and the new life he brings.
Advent Breath Prayers
The following prayers are adaptations of Scriptures from the Christmas story. Each has a different focus and will help you train your mind and heart together to joyfully submit to God and enjoy his presence.
For each, you will breathe in for the first part, and breathe out for the second. The prayers can be spoken, whispered, or you can silently meditate on them in rhythm with your breathing.
An Angel Announces Christ’s Coming to Zechariah
“Believe the good news… Be silent” (Luke 1:19-20).
Try it this way: Breathe in to trust in God’s good news… Breathe out deceptions.
Mary Receives the Miracle Birth of Jesus
“Let it be to me… According to your Word” (Luke 1:38, NKJV).
Try it this way: Breathe in to appreciate the life of Christ flowing into you… Breathe out to submit to God’s Word.
Joseph Protects Mary and Jesus
“God is with me… I will not fear” (Matthew 1:20, 23).
Try it this way: Breathe in the Holy Spirit… Breathe out fear.
The Innkeeper Offers his Stable (but not his Room) for Jesus’ Birth
“Immanuel, in your name I hope… For your name is good” (Luke 2:7, Psalm 5:2).
Try it this way: Breathe in to open your heart to Immanuel… Breathe out your praise to him.
Angels Sing Out the News of Christ’s Birth
“The Prince of Peace has come… Glory to God!” (Luke 2:10-14).
Try it this way: Breathe in to appreciate Christ’s coming… Breathe out your praise to God.
Shepherds Rejoice to See the Newborn King
“Precious Jesus… You’re above all” (Luke 2:19).
Try it this way: Breathe in to appreciate Jesus as your precious treasure… Breathe out whatever distracts you from Jesus.
Did any Sheep Follow the Shepherds to see Christ’s Birth?
“The Lord speaks… I skip like a lamb” (Luke 2:16 and Psalm 28:7,9; 29:3,6,11).
Try it this way: Breathe in to receive the Lord’s “good news of great joy” (Luke 2:10)… Breathe out with a smile of thanks.
The Magi Bring Gifts to the Christ Child
“Christ, my King / I rejoice in you… / I give you my heart” (Matthew 2:11).
Try it this way: Wait to breathe as you long for Christ / Breathe in to rejoice in him… / Breathe out your prayer to give your best to him.
A New Prayer Experience of Advent
If you enjoy visual devotions, you will enjoy Surprising Joy: A Journey with Jesus for Advent. We commissioned a studio artist to visually portray each of our Advent meditations from the Bible. These devotional cards invite you to enter into the story of the first Christmas with one of 15 different nativity characters. The short reflections and prayers follow their journeys. You can pick one Advent card to deeply experience Advent through that nativity character or pick a different one each day for personal devotions throughout the Advent season.
Surprising Joy Advent devotional cards can be used in small group meetings or celebrations with family and friends. This is a fresh and inspiring devotional experience that you can use with these Advent breath prayers.
More Breath Prayers for All Seasons
Praying a scripture as a breath prayer is empowering — and it’s not just for the Advent season. Breath prayers help you learn to practice God’s presence all day and help you stay in tune with the peace of Christ. I’ve selected key verses of Scripture and developed step-by-step instructions for meditation, breathing rhythms, and prayer in Breath Prayer Guides, a resource you can download today.
Father, help us experience the love of Jesus more deeply this Advent as we train our hearts and mind to abide in you with these Advent breath prayers.