What are “breath” prayers and how to use them.
A “breath” prayer is a prayer that can be said in one breath. The ancient monks often prayed, “Lord, have mercy” as their “breath” prayers. Christians often repeat the name, “Jesus” as their breath prayer. I have a number of phrases I use. A few of my favorites are, “Be still and know”, “He makes me lie down”, “Be anxious for nothing”.
Today I’m including a one-word breath prayer, “Focus”.
A PERSONAL EXAMPLE
It was one of those days. Someone I love was going through a difficult time. She lost something. That’s it. Just lost something. Nothing irreplaceable, mostly annoying. They were sandwiched in between some other situations, however, that were troublesome. But she let it mushroom.
While it was mushrooming, she ruminated. (Rumination is going over the same thing again and again. Unless once is determinedly seeking constructive answers, it always leads one down the path to destructive thinking.) Finally, after ten days of berating herself, she let a couple of people in on it.
I was one of those people.
At first, I wanted to laugh because it really wasn’t that big of a deal. I listened instead because while it wouldn’t have been a big deal to me, it was to her. It doesn’t matter what our age is, we all have things we stress out about. It’s different for everyone. Because of the mighty outpouring of adrenaline, our emotions run out of control.
We make mistakes, sometimes really big ones. We ignored a stop sign and got into an accident. We ended up with points on our license and higher insurance premiums. All because we didn’t corral our stress.
Our thoughts get all messed up, too. Stress unchecked has a destructive effect on all parts of our body. Our constant rehashing keeps the adrenaline levels elevated, not a good thing. I reassured her that losing something wasn’t nearly as much of a problem as her thinking she had to keep it secret.
She was “humiliated she had done such a thing and embarrassed to let anyone else know about it.” She kept her own stress level up by keeping it hidden. When she realized it wasn’t such a big deal, she seemed to do better.
What to do?
A “breath” prayer is often one word and we can use them very creatively. I used the word “focus” for this example. The situation I am focusing on would be on the forefront of my mind and so when I use the word “Focus” this is what I would be referring to. Here’s some scenarios.
- Focus. Lord, help me focus on what can be done. I can’t make anyone think differently. And, especially so if it has been their lifelong pattern. (I have no idea why this print is a different size. I’ve tried everything even to the point of deleting and retyping. These electronic devices have a mind of their own sometimes, huh? Focus, Rebecca, focus.)
- Focus Lord, I need to focus on the fact that wisdom will come as needed.
- Focus Lord, help me focus on the guilt that is mine but not on guilt that isn’t mine.
- Focus Lord help me focus on letting go of unnecessary stress.
Maybe that’s a one-word “breath” prayer you can pray today if you’re trying to stay above the fray.
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