I’m part of a prayer internship with GOHOP called Studies In New Monasticism. Each month we have a book to read and a Spiritual Practice to try on. This month was breath prayer. We were asked to try on a very old prayer passed down from the desert fathers & mothers through the Orthodox Church.
As you breathe in you pray “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God…” and as you breathe out you pray “…have mercy on me, a sinner.” As you breath in and out you repeat this over and over. It becomes a way to “pray without ceasing.”
I have used breath prayers before but have generally stuck to shorter prayers that fit my breathing rhythm better (I don’t have great lung capacity), but as I tried to use this less natural rhythm I discovered God interacting with me.
As I was walking in the rain one day with this breath prayer I noticed an inner dialogue happening. A prayer within a prayer.
Breathe in… “Lord Jesus Christ…” (Wow! I’m done breathing in) as I hold my breath I squeezed in a “…Son of God…”
Breathe out… “have mercy on me, a sinner.” (That is kind of negative, I’m use to God being all about love and invitation).
In… “Jesus Christ, Son of God…” (Crap! I forgot to say “Lord”) Out… “…have mercy on me, a sinner.”
In… “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God…” (God is infinite, of course it is a struggle to breathe God in) Out… “…have mercy on me, a sinner.” (Yes have mercy on me)
In… “Lord Jesus Christ, SON OF GOD…” (I’m a child of God, Jesus is The Son Of God, but we are kin. I’m also a son of God) Out “…have mercy on me a sinner.” As I say the word I can feel the mercy (God I’m your child and I can feel your forgiveness, it feels like love.)
“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.”
Amen (let it be so)