Breath as Prayer: Calm Your Anxiety, Focus Your Mind, and Renew Your Soul

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Breath as Prayer: Calm Your Anxiety, Focus Your Mind, and Renew Your Soul

Breath as Prayer: Calm Your Anxiety, Focus Your Mind, and Renew Your Soul

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I think of times when both of my daughters, in the middle of the night, would come to me terrified, afraid they had a bad dream, scared of something or when my daughter has a panic attack and she’s panicking over something. One of my friends was talking to me about this today, who’s also a counselor, and she said, “You know, so many people deal with high-functioning anxiety.

During that time I remembered a breath prayer I’d written previously based on some words from the apostle Paul. Sometimes, start with the breath and slow it down, even if it’s a simple inhale and exhale and slow. The irony isn’t lost on me that a prayer practice done in movement with my breathing should be so comforting during a respiratory virus pandemic…perhaps it’s simply a reminder of the Spirit of God with us in the brokenness of this season, as the ancient Hebrew and Greek words for spirit are also the words for breath. Breath Prayer, too, began to expand beyond the use of Scriptures, becoming a way to invoke the name of God and ask for help in just a few short words. It’s very helpful in times of busyness and stress as it can be prayed while working or during a short break.When the role of unconscious, and therefore involuntary, physiological responses are unknown, shame often berates a person for her/his response to the traumatizing pain and fear. This is the privilege of breath prayers, repeating with confidence to our loving Heavenly Father the truth of his living Word. There must be something wrong with my relationship with God if I’m feeling this deep sadness and sense of numbness for me sometimes. One of the earliest known breath prayers, known as the Jesus Prayer, was “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me,” which is based on Luke 18:13.

Breath prayers should encourage active thinking on the words of the prayer, with the purpose of fully embracing the meaning of the words. Such an experience of prayer supports Paul’s admonition to pray without ceasing and fits with the simplicity of Breath Prayer. Scripture tells us to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17, NIV) and while I find great worth in the opportunities I get to focus and pray for an extended period of time; it just isn’t always practical to do so.I feel like I prayed all the words I knew by that point and I’m like, “God, I have nothing else to say. If you feel yourself beginning to be anxious through your day, take time to stop, breathe, and pray. It came out of the hardest time and darkest days of my life when it was hard for me to see the light or hope at all. Carrie: It’s very mindful, too, in the sense that it connects us back to the present moment because we’ve talked about mindfulness on the podcast and how that can be helpful for anxiety.

As we retrain our brain to, for example, breathe, prayer is one way I have changed how I respond to my anxiety. To access your eBook(s) after purchasing, you can download the free Glose app or read on your browser by logging into Glose. This book shows how desires and disciplines, including prayer, work together to lead us to the transformation we’re longing for that only Christ can bring. An ARC was provided to me by Netgalley, the publisher, and the author Jennifer Tucker for free in exchange for an honest review. Breath Prayer is a short, ancient, contemplative prayer which is said by inhaling and exhaling for one breath.In testing times, where can we find the inner resources to cope with the inherent anxieties ahead and rise to consider others? When deep trauma occurs—the tragic death of a child, physical violence to a loved one—the well-trod paths of faith can be erased. When we slow our breathing, it sends signals through those vagus nerves to our brain saying, “You’re safe and it’s okay.



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