Using My Breath to Pray

breath prayer contemplate meditation national day of prayer sarah bessey May 03, 2023

By Carol Woolum Roberts

Today many Christians in the United States observe the first Thursday of May as the National Day of Prayer.

To help observe this annual observance, I decided to share a type of prayer that has been around for quite a while, but I only recently learned about it.  It goes along with the more contemplative, quite prayer life that Paul and I have been learning and experiencing over the past few years.

I learned about this prayer from a book called “A Rhythm of Prayer: A Collection of Meditations for Renewal” edited by Sarah Bessey.

Bessey describes Breath Prayer like this:

Breath Prayer is an ancient form of prayer easily adaptable for anyone.  Simply choose one or two lines to meditate on, and inhale and then exhale through them. One common form of breath prayer is known as the Jesus Prayer.

In the book, Bessey took a collection of Bible verses to create 13 different two-line prayers to use for a prayer meditation.  I took the same verses she did, and created 13 of my own prayer meditations, using “The Message Bible” by Eugene Peterson.

As you read the first line, INHALE.

As you read the second line, EXHALE.

Bessey instructs us to: Start with ten good breaths in and out, with the words that are most meaningful or steadying to your soul.


(From Matthew 11:28-30 )

Inhale:Walk with me and work with me

Exhale: Learn the unforced rhythms of grace

(From John 15 )

Inhale: Love one another

Exhale: The way I have loved you

(From Romans 8:35-39)

Inhale: Jesus you love us

Exhale: Nothing can get between me and God’s love

(From Psalm 46:1 )

Inhale: God is a safe place to hide

Exhale: Ready to help when we need him

(From Matthew 6:10 )

Inhale: Our Father in Heaven

Exhale: Reveal who you are

(From 2 Corinthians 12;9 )

Inhale: Your grace is enough; it’s all I need

Exhale: Your strength comes into its own in my weakness

(From I John)

Inhale: Stay with Christ

Exhale: Live deeply in Christ

(From Psalm 23)

Inhale: I’m not afraid

Exhale: When you walk by my side

(From Psalm 46:1 )

Inhale: God is a safe place to hide

Exhale: You are ready to help when I need you

(From Psalm 91 )

Inhale: God, you’re my refuge

Exhale: I trust in you and I’m safe

(From Psalm 103:1)

Inhale: Oh my soul, bless God

Exhale: From head to toe, I’ll bless His name

(From Phil. 4 )

Inhale: Celebrate God all day, every day

Exhale: Revel in Him


I encourage you to try this form of prayer.  Be still.  Quiet your soul.  Breath in.  Breathe out.  Inhale.  Exhale.  Experience the words of scripture in a new way as you pray and meditate with them. Listen as The Creator, God speaks to you through His words.


Do you have some of your own verses to write your own Breath Prayer, or Jesus Prayer?  I encourage you to write some down, and use it as a new and different way to communicate with God, The Creator.

To leave a comment on our blog, you can use Disqus.  It is easy to sign up.  You can use Google, Facebook, Twitter or your email.  There is no cost.  Just put in your name and email address and create a password.  Then confirm your account with the email they send you.  Then you can use Disqus to comment on the blog.  We would love to hear your thoughts.

Stay connected with news and updates!

Subscribe to our email list to receive the latest news and updates from Paul and Carol about Grow Me A Story.

Make sure you confirm your subscription in the email we send to you.

Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.