What is a “breath” prayer?

( This post is from a few years ago. I love this whole concept of “breath” prayers.)

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”. I have a number of them.  A few of my favorites are,

“Be still and know”. (Psalm 46:10)

“He makes me lie down”, (Psalm 23)

“Be anxious for nothing”. (Philippians 4)

Today I’m including, “Focus”.

It’s one of those days. Someone I love is going through a difficult time.  She lost something. That’s it. She just lost something. Nothing irreplaceable, mostly annoying.  Sandwiched 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. It generally 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.

I knew what she was doing. We react to stress by either doing something constructive about our situation or by letting it fester and “souring”  other parts of our life. Because of the mighty outpouring of adrenaline, our emotions careen out of control. We make mistakes, sometimes really big ones.

Our thoughts get all messed up.

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 her 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.

So I’m praying my “breath” prayer.


Focus on not letting myself get dragged down to a place where I juxtapose this incident to everything else. And I could. Her perception of her failing health has great implications for me as well.


Focus on the fact that when I need further wisdom, I will receive it.


Focus on what I can and cannot do. And what I can’t do is make anyone think positively if they’re determined to think negatively, especially if it has been their lifelong pattern.


Focus on not feeling guilty for being at our cabin when this happened.


Focus on not buying into unnecessary drama.


Focus on not letting the stress of how she’s feeling cause me stress!

Maybe that’s a “breath” prayer you can pray today if you’re trying to stay above the fray.


God bless and have a good day.

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