Maybe you’ve heard of the “Jesus Prayer.” In the 3rd and 4th Centuries the Desert Fathers learned to pray without ceasing by praying a Breath Prayer over and over, “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.”
Here are some other prayers inspired by verses in the New Testament that you can use to pray the holy name and words of Jesus. Each includes a suggested Breath Prayer rhythm.
The Lord’s Prayer
“Our Father, hallowed be thy name…” (Matthew 6:9, KJV).
Try it this way: Breathe in the precious, holy name of “Father”… Breathe out to rest in his love.
“Lord… your will, your way, your time” (based on Matthew 6:13).
Try it this way: Breathe in to appreciate your Lord… Breathe out to submit _______ to him.
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.
Trust Jesus’ Papa
“Jesus embraces me in Abba’s love…” (based on Matthew 19:13-14, Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15).
Try it this way: Imagine Jesus opening his arms to you and breathe in the love of Abba… Breathe out to rest in Jesus’ arms.
“Peace… Be still” (Mark 4:39, KJV).
Try it this way: Imagine Jesus napping in the boat at sea, tossed by a ferocious storm — he’s resting in his Abba’s arms. Then he speaks the peace in his soul into the storm to calm the sea and it becomes smooth as glass. Now, breathe in the peace of Christ… As you breathe out, say “Be still” to whatever is causing you anxiety.
Re-focus, Let Go
“More of Jesus… less of me” (based on John 3:30).
Try it this way: Breathe in your desire that Jesus dominate your life… Breathe out your desire for more prominence, possessions, or attention.
“Abide in Jesus… bear fruit” (based on John 15:5).
Try it this way: Imagine yourself as a branch in the Christ-vine and growing juicy grapes. Then breathe in to appreciate your connection to Christ… Breathe out your love for others. (With each prayer you might picture someone’s face and name him or her.)
Live for Christ Alone
“To live is Christ… and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21, KJV).
Try it the way: Breathe it to appreciate the life of Christ in you… Breathe out to deny yourself _________ that is competing with Christ for your attention.
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.”