Breath Prayers from the Bible

Spreading The Truth One Byte At A Time

By Ron Bender© 2008, 2013

Read The Bible

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly”

What a blessing it is to use a beloved Bible verses as a short Breath Prayer. Breathing slow and deep as you meditate on a verse of Scripture can be a special way of Abiding in Prayer that God uses to restore our souls in his peace.

Using Breath Prayers have helped many people I counsel or mentor to draw closer to the Lord Jesus Christ and thereby to overcome worry, fear, low self-esteem, compulsive behavior, or anger. This simple practice can make for a delightful time of meditating on Scripture and then throughout the day you can use your Bible phrase as a little arrow prayer that you shoot up as often as you can remember, which helps you to learn to follow Paul’s teaching to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

To meditate deeply on Scripture is to “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16). We take God’s Word from our mind down, down, down into our heart so that our will is formed by it. Breath Prayer meditations on Scripture help us to become as the branch that abides in the Christ-Vine to bear fruit naturally (John 15:1-7).

Breath Prayer Rhythms

A Breath Prayer rhythm is simple: Breathe in slow and deep as you whisper or think on a Bible phrase and hold your breath… Then exhale. Why focus on your breathing? This is not an Eastern meditation approach to reach Nirvana. It’s a Christian practice that goes back to the 3rd Century. This approach to Breath Prayers is a way to be intentional about using your body to engage your mind and heart on praying Scripture. You’re training yourself to be with Jesus and become more like him. You’re practicing a fundamental spiritual formation rhythm. You’re turning your breathing into prayer.

Try it. That’s the way you’ll understand the value of it. At first it might feel awkward, as it takes practice for slow, deep breathing to become natural and beneficial. It also takes practice using the Breath Prayer rhythms below before their meanings become deeply associated with your breathing pattern such that they live in your unconscious mind and don’t require much thought. Trust the Spirit of Christ to assist you, helping you to find the Bible phrase you most need to pray and to get into a good rhythm with it.

Here are some basic Breath Prayer rhythms (depending on the Bible verse you’re using pick the rhythm with the meaning that fits best):

  • Breathe in as you receive God’s peace… Breathe out to let go of your stress.
  • Breathe in to submit yourself to Christ alone… Exhale the sin or burden that distracts you from the Lord.
  • Breathe in to trust the Lord… Breathe out to follow him
  • Breathe in as you appreciate God’s love… Breathe out to pray for others.

Favorite Breath Prayers from the Bible

Below I share some of the Breath Prayers from the Bible that have been most helpful to people. For each one the suggested general breathing pattern is to breathe in as you whisper the words before the ellipses and then breathe out, whispering any words after the ellipses. Each Breath Prayer works well with one or more of the specific rhythms/meanings above. (All verses are NIV unless indicated otherwise):

  • Be Still: “Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10).
  • Cease Striving: “Know that Jesus is Lord… cease striving” (based on Psalm 46:10, NASB).
  • Listen to God: “Speak Lord, for your servant hears…” (1 Samuel 3:9 & 10, NKJV).
  • Psalm 23: “The Lord is my Shepherd… I shall not want” (Psalm 23:1, KJV).
  • Join Mary’s Prayer: “Let it be to me… according to your word” (Luke 1:38, NKJV).
  • Center on Jesus: “Jesus, be the center…” (Based on Matthew 17:6-8, MSG, and Matthew 21:9, NLT).
  • Live for Christ Alone: “To live is Christ… and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21, KJV).
  • Rest in Christ Alone: “In Christ alone my soul finds rest… Selah” (inspired by Psalm 62:1, 5).
  • One Thing: “Jesus, my One Thing… nothing else” (based on Psalm 27:4).
  • The Lord’s Prayer: “Our Father… hallowed be thy name” (Matthew 6:9, KJV).
  • Kingdom Prayer: “Lord… your will, your way, your time” (based on Matthew 6:13).
  • Abba Prayer: “Abba, I belong to you…” (Brennan Manning’s prayer based on Romans 8:15).
  • Trust Jesus to Show you that God is your Loving Abba (Papa): “Jesus embraces me in Abba’s love…” (based on Matthew 19:13-14, Mark 14:36, Romans 8:15).
  • For Others: “In Christ’s humility… consider others better than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
  • Peace: “Peace… Be still” (Mark 4:39, KJV).
  • Selah: “Se… lah” (71 times in the Psalms).
  • Love: “His love endures forever…” (26 times in Psalm 136; 41 times in the Bible).
  • Live in the Spirit: “Live by the Spirit… keep in step with the Spirit” (Galatians 5:25).
  • Be Fruitful: “Abide in Jesus… bear fruit” (based on John 15:5).
  • Live the Moment with God: “I am God’s breath… Selah” (inspired by Psalm 39:5, 11).


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