BREATH PRAYERS IN ILLNESS
The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4)
It seemed I was doing well – until a virus hit me. The sickness seemed to come on suddenly with headaches, whole-body aches, and tiredness.
I had no control over it. I needed to acknowledge that it had hit me, and I could do nothing to avoid it. Rather than succumbing to it, I surrendered it to God, not in a despairing way, but trusting that He would be with me through it.
When my head is throbbing, I tend to tense up, making the pain worse. Practicing slow, deep breathing helps me lean into the discomfort rather than fight it. So, that’s what I did, with one addition – I prayed a breath prayer, alternating between these two:
As I inhaled, I said, Be still, and as I exhaled, I said, and know that I am God. (Psalm 46:10a)
As I inhaled, I said, Lord Jesus, as I exhaled, I said, You are here in this moment.
While I repeated those prayers, I felt my body relax. The slow, deep breathing played an essential part in that, but reminding myself of the presence of Jesus with me was even more comforting, helping me to relax and trust.
As I trusted God, surrendering myself to Him, I could rest in His tender care. It may seem counterintuitive, but when we surrender to God, He guides us and gives us peace. We may not always understand His ways, but we can trust that He is good and His love never fails.
AS NATURAL AS BREATHING
Unless we have an illness in which it’s a struggle to breathe, most of us probably don’t even think about our breath. Yet, without it, we would not be alive.
What if prayer became as natural as breathing?
Chronic Joy’s Breath Prayer printable details how the Desert Mothers and Fathers chose automatic breathing rhythms to learn to follow the exhortation in 1 Thessalonians 15:17 to “pray constantly.” Their example inspires me to make breath prayers a part of my daily life.
Dear Father, when illness hits us and we are weak, help us to remember that our very breath can be a prayer as we call out to You. You are the one who gives us life. May we surrender our lives to You, trusting fully, because of Your great power and love. Amen.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- How could breath prayers help you during an illness, a flare, or any day?
- What would it look like for you to focus on breathing, perhaps every day for a week or a month?
- How can surrendering your life to God bring peace, comfort, and rest?
Consider printing out our Breath Prayers printable and keeping it handy. The practical tools will help you to get started with scripture-based breath prayers to use no matter what you may be facing.
Chronic Joy® Content Coordinator and Prayer Team
A grandmother but young at heart, Gayl enjoys exploring creativity through writing, poetry, nature photography, art, crocheting, and piano. She loves coffee, tea, chocolate, and jeans. Gayl has been married to Steve for nearly 50 years, with 7 children and 14 grands (some have chronic illnesses, and one son is now with Jesus). Always learning and writing from her heart about life, her desire is to know God better, glorify Him, and encourage others. She is the author of Journey into Light and blogs at Words, Photos and Art.
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When we’re lonely, anxious, afraid, or overwhelmed, the most significant thing we can do is turn to the One who knows us and loves us completely – the God of all comfort.