Have you ever heard of breath prayer? It’s another way to practice abiding with Jesus, dating back to the sixth century. This simple practice concentrates on saying a quiet, short devotion, typically less than eight syllables in a single breath. This short prayer helps to fix your mind on God.
People who practice breath prayer find it helpful to repeat the same prayer repeatedly until their mind is at ease, undistracted and grounded on God’s presence and His Word. You can do this prayer in a quiet place to help you focus, or you can do them throughout the day when you need to be reminded of God’s truth and presence.
Breath prayer is a great way to focus on one verse, sentence, phrase or attribute of God that helps you focus your mind on Him. You can write your breath prayer to fit what you need from God by picking one of God’s names that draw you near to Him. It could be Father, Lord, or Dad. Take your time to ask for what you need in as few words as possible. Here are some breath prayers to renew your soul and calm your anxiety.
“The Lord is my shepherd. I have all that I need.”
One of the most lovely and comforting pictures of how God cares and loves is when He’s shown as a shepherd tending to His sheep. In John 10:14, Jesus says, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me.” A flock of sheep depends on their shepherd because they’re exposed to danger, likely to wander, and unable to right themselves independently. However, under the care and guidance of a shepherd, they’re led to bountiful green pastures and protected from predators.
Sheep can recognize their shepherd’s face and voice, and they trust their shepherd to give them everything they need. As our shepherd, the Lord lovingly guides us through every day. No matter our path or circumstances, the Lord, our shepherd, is with us, so we shouldn’t be afraid. With Him, we have everything we need.
“You are my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Does anxiety trouble you? Perhaps worry and fear paralyze and press you? What about your sleepless nights when your racing thoughts can’t seem to slow down? Everyone experiences these things, especially during stressful or challenging seasons of our lives. Still, we aren’t alone in these battles.
When anxiety bears down on us and trouble starts closing in, turn your attention to Jesus. He’s a safe place, refuge, and shelter during the storm. God is your strength when you’re weak and a steadying hand when you stumble. He is with you and ready to come to your aid, no matter your circumstances. So when stress and trouble come your way, and you feel the panic set in, let that indicate that it’s time to look to Jesus and seek His peace.
“You are my shield. I trust You to help me.”
The purpose of a shield is to protect. It’s usually the first line of defense and a barrier between you and the incoming trouble. If your enemy wants to get to you, they must go through your shield first. We’re good at making our shields, using armor around our hearts to protect ourselves from disappointment and pain. Still, even the strongest guards aren’t perfect, and no shield we make will ever be strong enough.
God is your strength and the perfect shield. You don’t have to be strong enough because God already is. God is there to be the strength you need and protect you. If you’re tired and vulnerable to life’s attacks, allow God to shield you because He’s more powerful than any enemy coming after you. His shield of protection is unwavering no matter what weapon is wielded against you.
“I give my burdens to You; You will take care of me.”
Most times, anxiety is connected to the worries and burdens we carry. When circumstances are out of your control and the future is uncertain, it’s easy to worry and let the weight of your worries weigh you down. It usually seems like this instinct is hard to rein in, like anxiety is an automatic stress response. However, the truth is worrying never does us any good. When we worry, we might feel like we’re taking control of the situation, but worrying has never solved an issue, predicted an outcome, or calmed our hearts.
Worry leads to anxiety, which activates our stress response and dysregulates our bodies. For believers, fear reflects our skepticism about the provision and care of God. The Bible tells us that we shouldn’t worry and should pray instead. We should also tell God everything we need while thanking Him for what He’s done. If you’re holding on to any burdens, give them to God and let Him take care of the rest.
“Your unfailing love is higher than heavens. Your faithfulness reaches the clouds.”
No matter what you do, you’ll never stop God’s love for you. Still, we typically live like our problems are more significant than Him. We’re afraid, restless, worried, and stressed. We say we believe in God’s promises and that His love is stronger than anything, but do we really believe that? Be honest with yourself: what limits have you put on God’s faithfulness and love?
Is there a relationship, diagnosis, or stressful situation that you believe overshadows His faithfulness to you or His love for you? No matter what it is, God is more vital, and His love is more significant than that. Take in the truths of this prayer and rest in God’s unfailing love.
These breath prayers are only examples. If you feel a breath prayer in your heart, pray it quietly out loud, and God will hear you. Breath prayer is an excellent way to take your mind off of your troubles and put your focus back on God. Whenever you need Him, call out to Him, and He’ll answer.