It’s Allergy Season But Don’t Hold Your Breath Too Long

by Christine Sine

I am in New Haven CT for a week of teaching at the Overseas Ministry Study Centre and it is definitely allergy season. Pollen count is at an all time high, and like almost everyone around me, my eyes are gritty, my sinuses are aching and I am not sure if I really want to breathe the air that is coming through the window. To top it off I went for a walk yesterday and found that my daily walks around Greenlake in Seattle had definitely not prepared me for the hills of New Haven. I kept having to remind myself to breathe in sync with my steps.

As I sat here thinking about this, I could not help but contemplate the importance of breathing and the significance of the times the Bible talks about the breath of God. God breathes on us and we live. In other words we are only truly alive when we are filled with the breath of God and thinking of that inspired this prayer:

Breathe out empty yourself: of hate, of fear, of anxiety

Breathe in fill yourself with love, with life, with mercy

Breathe out empty yourself of busyness, of selfishness of greed

Breathe in fill yourself with peace, with joy, with hope

Breathe out empty yourself of idolatry, of self worship, of false gods

Breathe in fill yourself with God, with Christ, with the Holy Spirit

When I wrote my book To Garden with God, one of the references I used commented on the fact that human beings did not come to life until God breathed His life into us (Genesis 2:7). Then after the resurrection Jesus breathed into the disciples and filled them with the Holy Spirit – the life of the new creation. (John 20: 22) I was stunned as I realized the implications of this verse.

In our present reality, it is the Holy Spirit that is the breath of God – something that is very good for us to remember and contemplate as we approach the season of Pentecost. It is the Holy Spirit breathed into us by Christ our Saviour that gives us new life and the ability to become all that God intends us to be – love of God, love of neighbour, a life lived for others and not for ourselves all become possible when we breathe in the breath of God’s Holy Spirit and give ourselves to God’s purposes and not our own. Which lead to the writing of this prayer:

God breathe on us

in the valley of dry bones; in the midst of mourning; in the place of death

God breathe in us

on our dried up promises; on our abandoned dreams; on our unfulfilled hopes

God breathe through us

may your spirit bring back hope ; may your love renew your promises; may your word refresh and renew

Three in one, one in three

breathe on us; breathe in us; breathe through us

Fill us with resurrection life

Over the years I have posted a number of breathing prayers and have revisited and used several of these over the last few days so thought that I would remind all of us of these this morning. Some feel that the very name Yahweh is designed to sound like breathing so being reminded of this on a regular basis is important.

Jonathan Brink commented on one of my posts that at the Emerging Church Conference in Albuquerque, Richard Rohr talked about breathing YHWH as a way of saying the name of God.

Yoh – Breathe in
Hey – Breathe out
Hah – Breathe in
Veh – Breathe out

Here are links to some of the other posts about breathing prayers that I have written in the past

Another Breathing Prayer

Breath of God Breathe on Me by Tom Brackett

Is Breathing a Spiritual Practice

A Breathing Prayer by AB Simpson

And let me finish with the original breathing prayer I wrote which I know has been widely used in worship and meditation. It is also my favourite so I thought that I would repost it here

Breathe in the breath of God

Breathe out your cares and concerns

Breathe in the love of God

Breathe out your doubts and despairs

Breathe in the life of God

Breathe out your fears and frustrations

We sit quietly before the One who gives life and love to all creation,

We sit in awe of the One who formed us in our mother’s wombs

We sit at peace surrounded by the One who fills every fibre of our being

Breathe in the breath of God

Breathe out your tensions and turmoil

Breathe in the love of God

Breathe out your haste and hurry

Breathe in the life of God

Breathe out your work and worry

We sit quietly before the One who gives life and love to all creation,

We sit in awe of the One who formed us in our mother’s wombs

We sit at peace surrounded by the One who fills every fibre of our being

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