In the stress of the Christmas season, we can lose our sense of Christ Jesus and his joy. We’d like to share with you another simple Breath Prayer from the Bible for Advent called “Room for Jesus.”
We constantly hear from people who appreciate our short, Scripture-inspired prayers of the heart. (See our resources Breath Prayer Guides and Your Best Life in Jesus’ Easy Yoke.) They help us overcome our many challenges to prayer like distractions, restlessness, and difficulty engaging our mind and heart with God.
Repeatedly breathing in and out a phrase of Scripture is an ancient Christian practice that can help us to pray with focus, depth, and persistence. It is a simple way of using our bodies in our discipleship to Jesus, much like kneeling in prayer or raising our hands in worship. Training with a Breath Prayer fosters intimacy with the Lord, practicing God’s presence, emotional health, and fruitful intercession for yourself and others.
Let’s take a moment to enjoy our Savior.
“[Mary] gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them” (Luke 2:7, NIV).
Mary was pregnant and close to having her baby Jesus when she and Joseph were ordered by Caesar to register for the census in Joseph’s ancestral town of Bethlehem. So at this vulnerable and difficult stage in Mary’s pregnancy, they had to leave their home and family in Nazareth and travel seventy miles on foot and with a donkey. Somehow mother and baby survived the perilous journey, but they must have been exhausted! To make matters worse, all the hostels were full so Mary had to give birth to her baby in a dirty stable full of noisy, smelly animals! For us today that scene has become symbolic of how overcrowded our lives can become at Christmastime—and all year long. Despite our best intentions to celebrate the coming of Christ, we may struggle to make room for him.
Making generous space in your schedule and your heart to appreciate Christ Jesus begins with watching and praying. Consider your schedule for the days ahead. What would help you to enjoy the presence of the Spirit of Jesus? Where can you set aside blocks of time for Scripture meditation, prayer, or another spiritual discipline? You can cultivate a willing heart and a bodily habit of devotion by using the breathing prayer. (You can pray this for a loved one too.)
Room for Jesus… No distractions…
Use your rhythm of breathing to help you pray:
- Breathe in slowly and deeply as you appreciate the birth of Jesus Christ for you…
- Breathe out slowly and completely as you renounce diversions…
- Breathe in as you whisper, “Room for Jesus…”
- Breathe out as you whisper, “No distractions…”
- Let distractions slip away by re-focusing on breathing your prayer over and over…
What feelings or needs arose? What was your experience of God? I encourage you to share and pray in your journal or with a friend. (You can pray this for a loved one too.)
Excerpted from Breath Prayer Guides by Bill Gaultiere.
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.”
Listen to this week’s SoulTalk: This time of year brings an abundance of activity that can end up as distractions. Unless we intentionally set aside time to attune to the presence of Jesus, we risk not hearing his voice. In this episode, take a moment to make room for Jesus with a simple, but powerful Breath Prayer.