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By Joy West

Take a deep breath. Exhale slowly.

I was having a difficult week, and my anxiety level increased as the urgent began to replace the essential tasks, sabotaging my calendar. I found myself sighing frequently and trying to catch my breath.

Breathing is good; it’s a sign of life. Deep breathing is even better and increases our physical and emotional health. It can also increase our spiritual health when we practice continual prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17).

Looking at this with a broader lens, we see that “never stop praying” is bookended with “always be joyful” and “be thankful in all circumstances” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

In her book Breath as Prayer, Jennifer Tucker says, “The science of breathing and the practice of praying God’s Word can work hand-in-hand to help calm your body and reorient your mind toward Christ.” She also gives a tip on how to breathe. Inhale like you are smelling a flower, and exhale like you are blowing out candles.

This idea is not new, as it originated in the third century. It is the practice of praying a phrase as we inhale and then another as we exhale.

Here is an example from 1 Peter 5:7. INHALE: I give You my worries and cares, and EXHALE: For You care about me. Another example is Psalm 18:30. INHALE: Your way is perfect, and EXHALE: All Your promises prove true.

Take a moment to do this.

I encourage you to pray throughout the day by breathing prayer.

What Scripture verses have been your anchor in moments of prayer throughout the day?

How can you link breath prayers with being joyful and being thankful?

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