RHW Podcast Episode 15

Stillness Practices: Breath Prayer

Hi Friends! Welcome to Episode 15 of the Reaching Hurting Women Podcast: A Contemplative Path of Recovery. Here we are learning new ways of coping with our daily struggles. My name is Tamara and I will be your host. Today we are talking about: Stillness Practices.

Last week on Episode 14 I gave you an overview of our eight categories of Contemplative Spiritual Practices. I’ll review those briefly just as a reminder. They are:

  1. Stillness Practices
  2. Movement Practices
  3. Creative Practices
  4. Learning Practices
  5. Influencing Practices
  6. Relational Practices
  7. Serving Practices
  8. Ritual Practices

For the remainder of this year we will be focusing each week on a different Contemplative Practice category. Since there are only 7 weeks left in the year, so I will combine Influencing and Serving together. Today we are talking about the Stillness Practices category. It includes:

  • Silence
  • Centering Prayer
  • Breath Prayer
  • Lectio Divina
  • The Daily Examen
  • Journaling

In previous podcast episodes we have talked about Silence, Lectio-Divina, and The Daily Examen. Today I want to focus on the Breath Prayer.

Breath prayer is an ancient Christian practice dating as far back as the 6th century. It is usually associated with the Eastern Church, specifically the Russian and Greek Orthodox churches. The Breath prayer is also known as the “Jesus Prayer” or “Prayer of the Heart.” Early practitioners of the prayer would recite, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” to the rhythm of their breath. Over the years, the prayer was shortened to, “Lord, Jesus Christ, have mercy.”

Some people sing or chant the prayer but most usually say it silently within. There are some monastic traditions that use this as a prayer mantra to recite throughout their day. They will quietly whisper it under their breath as they go about their daily activities. I sometimes use the breath prayer during times of stress, or sleeplessness. But usually I use it at evening prayer time with a recorded song by John Michael Talbot called Kyrie, which I will include in today’s show notes on ReachingHurtingWomen.com

Here are a few steps to help you get started with your own breath prayer.

  1. Set aside about 5 minutes where you can be uninterrupted.
  2. Ask God to help you form your breath prayer.
  3. Ponder your favorite name for God: Father, Holy Spirit, Jesus. Choose what resonates with you.
  4. Contemplate on what you want to express in your prayer, what it is that you need. Make it short enough that you can say it in one breath.

Here are some examples:

Lord, show me your way.

God give me peace.

Lord Hear my prayer.

Once you have settled on your breath prayer write it down, sit with it, then recite it quietly to yourself. Let the words flow with your breath. Saying the first part when you inhale and the second part as you exhale.

This is a wonderful way to meditate on scripture. It’s very powerful way to calm your self down in times of stress, or when having trouble sleeping. Even throughout the day when stuck in traffic, whenever you need a dose of peace, remember your breath prayer.

Today we have talked about The Breath or Jesus Prayer a Stillness Practices in Contemplative Spirituality. I hope you will take some time to try out these Stillness Practices during one of your devotional times in the coming days. 

Thanks so much for joining me today on the Reaching Hurting Women Podcast: A Contemplative Path of Recovery. Here we are learning new ways of coping with our daily struggles. I hope you have enjoyed our discussion on the Stillness Practices of Contemplative Spirituality. As always I look forward to hearing from you. You can leave comments or questions below the show notes. Please take a few minutes and check out the other columns and resources at ReachingHurtingWomen.com. Until next time, may the grace and peace of God be yours.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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