A “breath prayer” is a simple and short prayer that can be done in a single breath. It’s a powerful tool and beautiful application of Bible memory that’s accessible to anybody, and yet most people have never heard of it.
Although often confused with different kinds of New Age mysticism, this form of Scripture meditation has been a part of the church for centuries. It’s a simple acknowledgement that God’s Word has power not only over our minds, but also our physical bodies.
If you’re looking for a way to apply basic Scripture memory with everyday life, the breath prayer is a practical tool that’s worth understanding.
Understanding the Practice of Breath Prayers
Breath prayers don’t replace traditional memorization of Scripture – whether you’re memorizing extended portions of Scripture or even individual verses. It’s simply a new tool in keeping God’s word in my heart.
How do you do a breath prayer?
It’s simple. The first portion of the verse is usually recited upon an inhale, while the latter portion is recited on an exhale. For example:
- “Be still…” Recite these two words as you slowly inhale. Hold your breath for an intentional pause and focus on these words that you’ve memorized from Psalm 46.
- “…and know that he is God.” Say these words as you slowly exhale the breath that you were holding.
I know it sounds ridiculously simple (and it is), but the power of breath prayer comes in recognizing that the word of God has authority over our thoughts and our physical body. It’s a practical way to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) and to “let the word of Christ dwell in you richly,” (Colossians 3:16).
Breath Prayer Example Verses
Breath prayers can be created out of almost any verse in the Bible, but it’s usually best with short, impactful verses.
- When you are stressed: [inhale] “My soul finds rest…” [exhale] “…in you alone.” (Psalm 62:1)
- When you are tempted: [inhale] “Resist the devil…” [exhale] “…and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)
- When you are afraid: [inhale] “When I am afraid…” [exhale] “…I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3)
Take your time to truly feel how your body responds to this. Does your heart rate decrease? Does your mind stops racing?
Remember that the ultimate purpose of a breath prayer is to pause, to reset your body, and to intentionally focus on the Word of God. So take time to reflect on what you feel.
What’s so great about Breath Prayers is that it doesn’t really require you to have an amazing memory. Literally anyone can do it. If you’re interested, here’s a list of breath prayers for when you’re anxious, tempted, afraid, grateful, and many more!
But of course, Breath Prayers can never replace memorizing extended portions of the Bible. There is great value in memorizing entire books of the Bible than just Bible verses.
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