Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Advent Breath Prayer

A friend shared the other day that her most cherished times during the frantic days of Advent are sitting at night in her dark living room lit only by the lights on her Christmas Tree. I have yet to get my tree up this year, but I can totally relate to her sentiment. There is something sacred in that quiet space.

Today’s post is a prayer prompt using the practice of the Breath Prayer.

The Breath Prayer is the perfect prayer practice for those people, like me, who struggle to practice silent meditation or centering prayer. Instead of needing to empty your mind in the silence, you use your breath to mark the time and to repeat a simple prayer or piece of scripture.

It is my plan this year  - once that tree goes up - to spend time in the evenings in the dark of the December night next to my Christmas tree experimenting with this simple prayer practice.

Here are the instructions:
Get into a posture for praying – this can be on your knees, sitting, standing or whatever works for you.
Slow your breathing and think about the rhythm of your breath. Ask God to calm your mind and heart.
Repeat silently this prayer in whatever rhythm is most comfortable with your breathing. It is a little hard to describe, but you want to be repeating this phrase in your head as you inhale and exhale.

This is the traditional text for the breath prayer:
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God,  (inhale)  have mercy on me, a sinner. (exhale)”

Here is an Advent alternative
taken from the Gospel of Luke -  

Sing out my soul, (inhale) my heart rejoices in the Lord (exhale)
And another from the first verse of the Gospel of John:

In the beginning was the Word, (inhale) and the Word was Life (exhale)
Continue repeating this prayer with every breath for 3 to 5 minutes.

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