Like me, maybe you set aside much of your normal work for the Christmas break and this week you have a lot to do!
There’s a gravitational pull to “Hurry and catch up!” But that’s not the best way.
“Breathe. Walk it out in Jesus’ easy yoke.” That’s much better.
So today, as I often do, I’ve been literally pausing to breathe a prayer. It helps me to re-center and relax — especially if I stay in the prayer a bit and smile. Thank you Lord… You are with me and we can do this together…
It’s called living in Jesus’ easy yoke. This has had more practical impact on my daily life than other Bible passages. Don’t you love it?!
“Walk with me and work with me,” Jesus offers, “watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:30, MSG)
These words of Jesus are helpful to me in the busyness and expectations of the first day back to my regular work schedule. I’ve been putting them into practice with a simple Breath Prayer, which I got from Jesus’ lips: “Thank you… Lord.” (Matthew 11:25, MSG)
Here’s how I do this Breath Prayer:
- Breathing in, “Thank you…”
- Breathing out, “Lord…”
- Breathing in as a prayer of appreciating God’s blessings.
- Breathing out as a prayer of entrusting outcomes to the Lord.
Or if you’re rushing around or pushing yourself to do more you can pray, “In Jesus’ name… Not my strain…” (This is the key idea of Matthew 11:28-30.)
Or if you’re worried about how a situation will turn out or for a loved one’s well-being you can breathe the prayer: “Father… Into your hands I commit _______.” (Luke 23:46; Psalm 31:5)
Or if you or someone you’re concerned about is hurting you can breathe the prayer: “Jesus embraces _(name)_ in Abba’s love.” (Based on Mark 10:13-16.)
I unpack these Breath Prayers From the Bible, along with seven others, in Your Best Life In Jesus’ Easy Yoke. The idea of them all is to further our apprenticeship to the Lord Jesus. We’re using a simple, concrete practice to apply deep spiritual truth to daily stress. The result is more and more of God’s peace and power!
More Breath Prayers
To pray a short verse or paraphrase of Scripture as a Breath Prayer is refreshing and empowering. It helps you learn to practice God’s presence all day and stay in tune with the peace of Christ. I’ve selected key verses of Scripture and developed step-by-step instructions for meditation, breathing rhythms, and prayer in “Breath Prayer Guides.”
Bill is a psychologist and ordained pastor, specializing in ministry to pastors. He was personally mentored for many years by Dallas Willard and Ray Ortlund Sr.
As a Spiritual Formation Pastor, he’s served in a mega-church and a church plant. He’s also trained over 1,000 lay counselors and taught courses in Christian psychology and spirituality at the graduate school level. He and Kristi train pastors and other men and women in ministry in their Soul Shepherding Institute and Spiritual Direction certificate program.
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