What a blessing it is to use a beloved Bible verse as a short Breath Prayer. Breathing a prayer from Scripture can be a special way of abiding in prayer. We’re simply using our bodies to engage our mind and heart with God’s Word that restores our souls.
A Breath Prayer rhythm is simple: Breathe in slow and deep as you whisper or think on a Bible phrase… Hold your breath… Then exhale. It’s that easy.
My article on Breath Prayers explains the Christian history of Breath Prayers, their Biblical background, and their value for spiritual formation in Christ. In my book Your Best Life In Jesus’ Easy Yoke, I show you how to use a number of Breath Prayers From the Bible to deal with stress, overcome anxiety, and be more effective in ministry to others.
Breath Prayer Rhythms
For Breath Prayers, I find a particular breathing pattern that fits the Bible verse and aids in meditation. This is a simple and powerful way to use our bodies with intentionality to help us engage our minds and hearts on God’s Word. With each Breath Prayer below I suggest that you whisper or think the words of Scripture in connection to your rhythm of breathing. To help you follow along I put ellipses after the part of the prayer that you whisper or think as you breathe in.
There are three basic breathing patterns I use:
- Breathe in as you pray a Bible phrase…
- Breathe in as you pray the first half of a Bible phrase… Breathe out as you pray the other half.
- Wait to breathe as you meditate on the first part of a Bible phrase / Breathe in the second part / Breathe out the third part.
Experiment With a Breath Prayer
Try it. That’s the way you’ll understand the value of Breath Prayers.
At first, it might feel awkward, as it takes practice for slow, deep breathing to become natural and beneficial. It also takes practice using the Breath Prayer rhythms below before their meanings become deeply associated with your breathing pattern such that they live in your unconscious mind and don’t require much thought.
Rely on the Spirit of Christ to assist you, helping you to find the Bible phrase you most need to pray and to get into a good rhythm with it. He may lead you to develop your own Breath Prayer practice that will have special meaning for you.
Favorite Breath Prayers from the Bible
Here are a few of the Breath Prayers from the Bible that have been most helpful to people. Each includes a suggested breathing rhythm for you to try. (All verses are NIV84 unless indicated otherwise.)
Listen to God
“Speak Lord, for your servant hears…” (1 Samuel 3:9 & 10, NKJV).
Try it this way: Ask God a question. Then breathe in your longing for God’s guidance… Breathe out stress and hurry.
“The Lord is my Shepherd… I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1, KJV).
Try it this way: Breathe in to entrust yourself to Jesus… Breathe out to let go of wanting _______.
Submit to Father God
“Father… into your hands I commit my spirit” (Psalm 31:5 & Luke 23:46).
Try it this way: Breathe in the Father’s love… Breathe out to stop trying to control or worry about the outcome of ________.
“Know that Jesus is Lord… Cease striving” (Based on Psalm 46:10, NASB).
Try it this way: Breathe in to seek the Lord Jesus… Breathe out to cease striving about _______.
Rest in Christ
“In Christ alone my soul finds rest… Selah” (Based on Psalm 62:1, 5).
Try it this way: Breathe in the peace of Christ… Breathe out worry, fear, anger, guilt, or shame.
Center on Jesus
“Jesus, be the center…” (Based on Matthew 17:6-8, MSG, and Matthew 21:9, NLT).
Try it this way: Breathe in to focus on Jesus… Breathe out distractions.
“Abba, I belong to you…” (Brennan Manning’s prayer based on Romans 8:15).
Try it this way: Breathe in your longing for Abba… Breathe out insecurity to rest in his arms.
Trust the Spirit’s Guidance
“Live by the Spirit… Keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
Try it this way: As you’re walking, breathe in to trust the Spirit of Christ… Breathe out to follow his lead.
Humble yourself in Intercession
“In Christ’s humility… Consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
Try it this way: Breathe in Christ’s love… Breathe out his love for another person, perhaps someone you feel jealous of.
Easy Yoke Breath Prayers
Your Best Life In Jesus’ Easy Yoke invites you into an emotionally-healing and life-transforming apprenticeship to Jesus Christ. I help you deal with stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, hurried living, people-pleasing, and fear by showing you how to live from the spiritual reality of God’s kingdom. Each chapter shows you how to practice a specific Breath Prayer From the Bible to de-stress and grow in grace.
“This is ground-breaking! Pastors and others will come under this teaching and develop aspects of it in their own ministry.” Dallas Willard, author of The Divine Conspiracy.
Try a Breath Prayer Now!
I lead you in a five-minute Scripture meditation and breathing prayer on “Jesus Be the Center” (Matthew 17:6-8, 21:9) on Soul Shepherding’s YouTube Channel.
More Breath Prayers
To pray a short verse or paraphrase of Scripture as a Breath Prayer is refreshing and empowering. It helps you learn to practice God’s presence all day and 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.”