The Psalms are the Bible’s prayerbook. It teaches all kinds of prayers for all kinds of situations. One type of prayer in the Psalms are short phrases repeated meditatively. I call these “Breath Prayers from the Bible.” They’re also “Prayers of the Heart,” “Abiding Prayers,” “Centering Prayers,” or “Arrow Prayers.”
Here are some of the Breath Prayers from the Psalms. For each I’ve included a suggested breathing rhythm:
“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 tying to control or worry about the outcome of ________.
“Jesus, my One Thing… nothing else” (based on Psalm 27:4).
Try it this way: Breathe in to cultivate devotion to Jesus alone… Breathe out _______ that competes with Jesus for your affections.
Live the Moment with God
“I am God’s breath… Selah” (inspired by Psalm 39:5, 11).
Try it this way: Breathe in to appreciate God’s breath of life in you… Breathe out to rest in God.
“Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10).
Try it this way: Breathe in (slow and deep!) the Word of God to you… Breathe out to rest in his arms of love.
“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 _______.
Thanksgiving and Submission
“Thank you… Lord” (Psalm 57:9, 108:3, NLT).
Try it this way: Breathe to receive from God with gratitude… Breathe out to submit yourself to the Lord and his will.
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 your stress.
“His love endures forever…” (26 times in Psalm 136; 41 times in the Bible).
Try it this way: Breathe in God’s love… Breathe out your hurt.
“Se… lah” (Selah means, “Pause to reflect and pray.” It’s used 71 times in the Psalms).
Try it this way: Simple breathe God’s peace in and out.
In “Breath Prayers” I provide the Biblical basis for this ancient Christian practice and I offer further guidance on a variety of ways to use Breath Prayers. For instance, I discuss ways to apply your prayer to overcome specific problems or to intercede for other people.