In a recent class, and for a recent Bible study, a phrase popped up that I have been contemplating. We know that Prayer is simply communicating with God, but Martin Luther says, “To the Christian, even a sigh is a prayer.” Someone else came up with the term “Breath Prayers” and I’ve really been thinking about how this could work.
All around us we see people and problems and we flag it onto our calendar or into our “to do” list that this is something we need to address the next time we pray. Yet Paul tells the church to Pray without ceasing (1 Thess 5:17), and how that the church should “continue” in prayer (Col. 4:2), and how that he prayed without ceasing for the church in Rome (Rom 1:9), and how that night and day he prayed for Thessalonica so that he may see them soon to continue their perfection (1 Thes. 3:10).
How is it possible for prayer to be uttered constantly, day and night, without seemingly to let the event of prayer interfere with the rest of our life? It seems all we know about prayer requires a closet (storehouse), or a designated room at church or home, or a specially carved out niche of time. I remember my grandmother praying at various times throughout the day sitting in her Bentley rocker. I remember my mom going to the back room of the house and closing the door and spending a great deal of time in prayer. I remember finding others at church, even in the middle of the night, laying out on the floor behind the altar or under a pew, in times of great travailing prayer.
Could it be that Martin Luther hit upon the simple thought that every sigh, every exhalation of breath, could contain a prayer? It could be that it’s as simple as a prayer that is uttered with a sigh of breath leaving our bodies.
I then ask myself, how long is a breath leaving our body, and how many words can I say with that process? Perhaps it’s only a simple thought, or a few syllables, or just a couple of words – but with God it does not take a lot to bring an answer! Just a few words or syllables, uttered on the exhalation of a breath is a mighty prayer.
You do not even have to compose a thought or phrase… Consider these types of examples.
- When dealing with someone who is dumping their woes onto your plate, “Show me his heart…”
- When dealing with the confusion someone might be feeling, “Show me his mind…”
- To someone who is seemingly about to make a major choice in life that might not be entirely the best choice, “Into thy hands…”
- To someone who is desperately in need of a blessing from God, “Bless him Lord…”
These pre-defined words or phrases could be something you breath to God and by doing so you bring God into the problem!