Try a Breath Prayer — it’s Simple and Delightful!

In my teaching, counseling, and leading of retreats I find that pastors, ministry leaders, and others greatly benefit from learning how to use a Breath Prayer approach to meditating on a phrase from the Bible. I’m not surprised because this has been so helpful to me personally.

A Breath Prayer is Like a Smile to God!

A reader of the Soul Shepherding Blog asked me for help in learning how to do a Breath Prayer. My recent post, God’s Word to Me (based on my meditations from Psalm 19), included a few Breath Prayers. Let’s take one as an example of using a Breath Prayer rhythm to help you meditate on Scripture and rest in God’s presence: “Jesus… I smile in your light.”

This easy and joyful prayer is a deep and profound response to God’s Kingdom in our midst!

Jesus said that he is the Light of the World and that we are lights to shine for him in the world. When we trust in him his light shines on us and all around us from above, inside us to permeate our whole being, and through us to bless everyone we come into contact with.  This is by the Holy Spirit (“the Spirit of Christ”).

Light is the source and sustaining power behind all life on earth. Light is what enables us to see.

Smiling to Jesus helps us to appreciate that indeed he lights on us, smiles his favor on us, 24×7.

Breath Prayer Instructions

To help you to meditate on and enter into the reality of God’s glorious kingdom of the heavens try slooooowly praying this meditation from Psalm 19: “Jesus… I smile in your light.”

There are a variety of Breath Prayer patterns that I’ve found helpful. I introduce some of these in Breath Prayers from the Bible. Here’s a Breath Prayer pattern to try for this meditation from Psalm 19:

  • Breathe in as you whisper: “Jesus…”
  • Breathe out (and smile!) as you whisper: “I smile in your light.”

Pause and then repeat the prayer gently.

Why Breathe a Prayer to God?

Tying your meditation to your pattern of breathing and doing this slowly and deliberately is a simple way to put your body into your praying (like raising your hands when you sing a praise song to God). Being intentional about how we use our bodies in prayer and worship helps us to engage our minds and hearts on God’s Word.

As you breathe a phrase (or paraphrase) from Scripture in and out your marinating in God’s Word, connecting with Christ and taking his words way into your heart (which is your will that orients your whole life).

Breathing is important! Not just physically, but psychologically and spiritually as well. Remember that God breathed His life into Adam and Eve and Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into his disciples. No wonder God has made us such that relaxed breathing is part of being at peace in his presence.

Breathing in the name of Jesus or a prayer from Scripture is an expression of receiving or internalizing God’s Word and Spirit.

Breathing out is an expression of releasing tensions and control (submitting to God). Or breathing out a prayer can be viewed as overflowing with (sharing) God’s Word and Spirit with others.

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.”


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