Thursday, November 2, 2017

What If Praying is Like Breathing?

What if praying is like breathing? With every breath we take, we are engaging in a life-sustaining activity.

We unconsciously breathe every second of every day to propel us through. When you breathe in, or inhale, your diaphragm contracts (tightens) and moves downward. This increases the space in your chest cavity, into which your lungs expand. When you breathe out or exhale, your diaphragm relaxes and moves upward into the chest cavity. The intercostal muscles between the ribs
also relax to reduce the space in the chest cavity. Breathing out requires no effort from your body unless you have a lung disease or are doing physical activity. A respiratory control center at the base of your brain controls your breathing. This center sends ongoing signals down your spine and to the muscles involved in breathing. These signals ensure your breathing muscles contract (tighten) and relax regularly. This allows your breathing to happen automatically, without you being aware of it. (Source:

Our breathing changes based on our activity level or the condition of the air around us. When our breathing becomes labored due to illness or overexertion, we stop so that we can breathe with a regular cadence again. When we are in a heavily polluted environment, we don't inhale as frequently.

There are different types of breathing for different scenarios. We can use deep breathing to release stress; we employ variants of deep breathing to relieve muscle stiffness and clear clogged breathing passages. All of these special breathing techniques are used for stress management or relaxation. Sometimes we take deep breathes to cleanse and then fill our lungs. Deep cleansing breaths are therapeutic though we can't live on deep breaths alone; we live by breathing in and out just what we need, because the way you breathe affects the entire body.

The best breaths I ever took were through an oxygen mask when I needed all my strength to push a child out of me. Breathing never felt so good! It was a relief, it was comforting, it made me feel strong because, with the assistance of additional oxygen, I was.

On a daily basis, we breathe in and out.

In and out

In - Pray

Out - Amen

In - Pray

Out - Let it be so

In - Request

Out - Let it be so

In - Thanksgiving

Out - Let it be so

In - Strength

Out - Let It be so

In- Wisdom

Out - Let It Be so

In - Pray

Out - Amen

What if we've misunderstood prayer and in our attempts to formalize it we have made it the oxygen mask or stress management needing for special circumstances instead of just praying as often as we breathe? As I process and write this I'm making this paradigm shift for myself. Since we are told to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), non-stop like breathing, I've found myself praying out loud or quietly when I least expected it. Sometimes I pray out loud to drown out distractions around me but more often than not it is a momentary pausing and praying knowing that He's a God who hears and I don't really need to do anything special to get his attention. Yes, some days I need stress management prayers which is what happens when I'm in fellowship with others and sometimes I need the breath of God Himself in the form of that oxygen mask where He meets me right where I am and breathes for me until I'm able to breathe on my own again.

What if we prayed so often we depended on it like we do breathing? What if out of our regular times of prayer we were infused like Daniel (Daniel 6), to the point where this became our normal?

What if praying were like breathing? Continuously, regularly, repetitively, adialeiptos - regularly yet intermittently, habitually attuned to the Breather of Life.

In the same way, we intuitively love our spouses or our children without ceasing, we can pray without ceasing.

I will bless the Lord at all times, his praise will continually be in my mouth. Psalms 34:1

What if our souls are so intertwined with His and praying is like breathing?

Breath in - Pray

Breath out - Amen


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  1. Wow! Awesome message! I really enjoyed your take on this. I believe our praying SHOULD be like breathing!
    Thanks for sharing!

    Blessed to be your neighbor at Tune in Thursday ;)

  2. Prayer is always a challenge for me, and you've pictured the nearness of prayer as being like my next breath. Thanks for encouragement to persevere.

  3. This-prayer as natural, as constant as breathing is what I long for.

  4. I really don't need to do anything special to get His attention... Well said!
    Blessings to you and yours!

  5. So glad that I'm next to you at Susan Mead's link up. This post is such a great reminder to me!

  6. You're right! What a great goal to strive for! And, we don't have to get His attention! We can talk to Him all the time. I wish that area of the brain that controls breathing would work for my prayer life also. But instead, we have to make a daily continual effort to turn our thoughts God-ward. I'm glad He continues to seek to get our attention when we get distracted from Him.
    This is great!

  7. Breath in - Pray

    Breath out - Amen

    Those last lines were my favorite!


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