Mind & Body Wellness: How to Write and Use a Breath Prayer

how to create breath prayer christian contemplation meditation
breath prayer

Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.
- Søren Kierkegaard

Christianity has a long history of contemplative practice and one of the most poetic is called Breath Prayer. Used like a mantra, a breath prayer is personal, deepens your spiritual practice, centers you throughout the day, and connects you to the Divine through breathing.

Breath prayer is a short request, repeated in the space of one inhalation-exhalation cycle that acknowledges both the nature of you and the Divine. It is meditative prayer that helps you pray from your heart so you are more aware of a Holy presence within your life. Two or three minutes saying your personal breath prayer can bring about inner peace.

To discover your breath prayer, look through the bible for words of comfort or praise and then adapt them to your personal tastes. Here are some examples:

Lord, have mercy on me.
May I trust in the Beloved.
Holy Spirit, work through me.

After you have found a breath prayer, sense God’s presence as you begin saying the words. Slowly say the first part of the prayer as you breathe in. Then slowly say the last part of the prayer as you exhale. For example:

Breathe in slowly and deeply as you whisper or think: “Lord …
Hold your breath and sense God’s presence …
Then exhale as you whisper or think: “… give me peace.”

Say your breath prayer throughout the day whenever you remember. This form of prayer can also serve as a “tape” to replace negative thoughts that often enter your mind. Whenever you observe that you are negatively reacting to a person, event, or thing, say your breath prayer.

To learn more about Breath Prayer and for a simple guide that teaches you how to write your own click here.

To have me facilitate a workshop or retreat on meditation and prayer, visit my Web site by clicking here. 


  1. This is a wonderful exercise! We used to have a priest that during Advent would give us the instruction to sit in the dimly lit church before mass and do this, but we called it a Centering Prayer. I used to teach Prayer and World Religions to my 7th grade students (a million years ago when I was a teacher) and this was one that the kids could really grasp and get into. It is a simple and elegant way to get yourself back to the center, to slow yourself down, to really be present. And I can tell you from experience that it does work! You can change the words to suit your situation, and even your beliefs, as this is not just the exclusive domain of Catholics. Thank you for reminding me of the power of this simple prayer! I will do this today! Enjoy the day, Miss Beth! Erin

    1. How wonderful you already have this practice in place! It's so neat to create your own and see where it leads. Sometimes I forget and then come back to it. Thank you for sharing your experiences, thoughts, and insights about this practice. xoxo Beth


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