Breathe in, breathe out, repeat
Today is a day like no other. The times they are confusing.
What day is this? What is on my to-do list today? Do I have a to-do list? If so, where is it?
Should I call or should I text? Are they even answering their phones?
Why do I keep getting that ad for ear wax every time I go to that webpage?
Is there really a medical condition called leaky gut? If I have it, will I know?
Why did the telephone solicitor hang up on me when I asked if he really was calling from Atlanta, Georgia?
And what about our hair? I knew I should have gone to beauty college after I retired!
You may be thinking, "I'm breathing already." And, yes, you are, but this is a different sort of breathing. This is what we call mindful breathing.
Pause a moment and observe your breath. Maybe even close your eyes while you do it and set a timer for two or three minutes. Don’t think about whether you are doing it correctly because there is no right to wrong. It just is.
Watch your breath flow in and watch it flow out.
Over and over and over.
When you are done, offer up a prayer of thanksgiving for the gentle, natural flow of life-sustaining, holy breath that moves in and out of your body. The breath of life. The breath of God.
As I was going through some files last week, I came upon a much loved breath prayer based on Galatians 5. The author is unknown to me.
What so moves me about this prayer is that it enumerates our thoughts, emotions and actions that prevent us from living the life God wants for us. With our minds' eyes, we can picture those attributes of God flowing gracefully into us and taking up residence. Then we can imagine all that unwanted "stuff" riding out and away from us on the air current of the exhale.
Inhale the good; exhale the not good.
There are many different ways to use this prayer.
You might want to take one line a day to read aloud, read silently and then close your eyes and repeat it to yourself several times, allowing the breath to flow naturally.
Another way is to read the entire sentence aloud and then meditate on it for three to five breaths before moving to the next line. Here it is:
Lord, I breathe in Your love; I breathe out my hate.
Lord, I breathe in Your joy; I breathe out my discontent.
Lord, I breathe in Your peace; I breathe out my worry.
Lord, I breathe in Your patience; I breathe out my judgment.
Lord, I breathe in Your kindness; I breathe out my sarcasm.
Lord, I breathe in Your goodness; I breathe out my impulses.
Lord, I breathe in Your faithfulness; I breathe out my uncertainty.
Lord, I breathe in Your gentleness; I breathe out my brashness.
Lord, I breathe in Your self-control; I breathe out my weakness.
Lord, I breathe You in; I breathe me out.
Lord, make me more like You.
The breath prayer. It's a beautiful thing.
Lord, we come before You today with thankful hearts, offering up the words of the Psalmist when we pray, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, Lord, my rock and my redeemer. Amen.