Passing by a stranger on the sidewalk. Standing in the checkout lane. Waiting for school announcements. Watching the news. Exercising. Reviewing my to do list…these are just a few of the times I catch myself holding my breath. Have you noticed it, too?
Breathing in and out is physical, emotional and spiritual. Just a few breaths in through the nose and longer out through the mouth can activate the calming part of our nervous system. Air fuels our lungs for a run or workout.
The Bible makes rich connections between breath, life, and God in the Hebrew word, ruah. We need breath to live, and it is the breath of God that inspires us to experience wholeness and fullness of life.
One of my favorite prayers when I find myself anxiously holding my breath is based on a quote from the preacher who founded Methodism, John Wesley. In one of his sermons he described “a kind of spiritual respiration” in which God breathes God’s grace into our souls and we breathe out love, praise, and prayer.
When you find yourself holding your breath, try breathing in God’s grace and breathing out love:
Breathe in, saying, “grace”
Breathe out, saying, “love”
Grace, peace, and deep breaths this week.
Prayer flags are a way to share our joys and concerns with God. They are also a beautiful way to observe the way God moves in our lives like the wind.