Breathe and Pray – Descending with our head into our heart

I talked about breathe prayers yesterday in the sermon (full sermon link here) and thought I would repost a piece I did in June about the practice. Breathe prayers are a great way to descend with our head into our heart as Henri Nouwen puts it in his Reaching Out.

Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing.

Luke 10:41-42 NRSV

By descending with our head into our head we move from full of knowledge (which the Apostle Paul says puffs up), or anxiety, or worry, or resistance, to full of love which Jesus said is the basis of the great commandments to love God and one another in Matthew 22..

Trust me solely and I will bless you completely is the promise Jesus gives.

Martha was wearied because she was worried and distracted. And in so doing she cut herself off from the presence of Christ even though he was standing in her home. Please don’t miss that (pun intended!)…Christ was present, Martha was distracted. And because of her state of mind, it was as if Jesus wasn’t even there.

In recent days I have taken up the practice of breath prayers. It is an old and tried practice of keeping your focus. They are short sentences designed to center your mind on Christ throughout the day. The breath prayer I am saying is “Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.” I begin each morning with a time of meditation using these words to center myself and then throughout the day, I come back to them to wake my soul to the presence of Christ.

If Christ is going to be Lord of all of my life, I realized that I needed an intentional plan for my mind as well as body and spirit. I sure don’t want to miss him because my mind is somewhere else, unproductive, and unaware.

And what I’ve found is that – I have a long ways to go! And I’ve always found that when the words flow from my heart so does God’s peace.

Todd, Todd, you worried and distracted by many things; there is need for only one thing.

Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.

2 thoughts on “Breathe and Pray – Descending with our head into our heart

  1. I also have found using breath prayers helps me to focus at the start of my morning devotional prayer time. The prayer I’m using this week is inhale-“Speak to me, Lord” ; exhale “I’m listening.”
    Thank you, Todd, for sharing.

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