How to Pray with Your Breath

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Life in the Spirit is freeing! “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom” (2 Cor 3:17) One of the best ways to experience that is through prayer, breath prayer specifically.

Wind, like the Spirit, moves wherever it wills mysteriously

The word for spirit in both Hebrew and Greek (the two primary languages scripture is written in) is also used for wind and breath (ruach in Heb, pneuma in Grk). While that may surprise or puzzle an English speaker (given we have several distinct words for these different things), it points us to a common perception. For ancient people, things of the spirit or of the spiritual realm were related to and often illustrated by the breath and the wind, two things that are unseen but are vital to life and existence.

Stay with me on this. Jesus actually drew out the comparison in his own teaching. In John 3, Jesus taught Nicodemus about the new birth and in the process he gives an analogy for how the Spirit moves like the wind–and we really can’t explain either one very well (John 3:5-8). It’s also not a mere coincidence that when the Holy Spirit came with power on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2 there was a sound like a mighty roaring windstorm (Acts 2:2).

Further, after his resurrection Jesus appeared to his disciples several times. On one occasion that John records, he speaks a word of peace on them, then he breathes on them and says, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:21-22) Again, it’s not just a coincidence because God is the one who first breathed the breath of life into Adam after making him out of clay. (Gen 2:7)


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Pray and don’t give up!

Why do we give up on a prayer? Is it discouragement? We ask for something and don’t see results. Or we don’t like what happens and assume God isn’t listening or at least not giving a favorable answer. In Luke 18 Jesus tells his disciples a short parable about prayer that challenges us to persist.

There is a judge who doesn’t fear God or care about the opinions of others. In other words, he’s not very open to persuasion.

A widow in the city keeps coming to the judge asking him to hear her case. In Jesus’ world, women didn’t have the rights and protections that they have today. Without a patron–a husband or a powerful relative–she wasn’t likely to have her case even heard. Judges decided their own docket, whose case they would consider and who they would turn away. The judge gave the woman a cold shoulder.

But she keeps coming. And coming. Showing up and asking to be heard.


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