Posts Tagged ‘breath prayer’


Slow Reader Friday: Christian Meditation…


Happy 4th Anniversary to the darling daughter and her hubby, aka, the DSL! Hope you have a joyous remembrance of that lovely Texas day 4 years ago and a fun celebration!

The MaryAnn In Progress May 2016 Book of the Month is Christian Meditation by James Finley. Finley studied under the much-vaunted (at least in the “spiritual formation/discipline” circles) Thomas Merton. Thus, Finley has authored a book with a great deal of insight from Merton.

I read this book when we were studying Breath Prayer and Centering Prayer. Both forms of prayer are difficult for someone like me, who tends to be a thinker, analyzer, and processor when praying. Both of the aforementioned prayer styles are about emptying your mind as much as humanly possible and allowing God to interact with us in whatever way He wishes.


The Wild Child…


The longer I am in the HeartPaths program, the more I am convinced that they put together their program with a lot of thought and an active response to prior students’ experiences. I think the roots of that sentiment began with today’s topic: Centering prayer. I learned, quickly, that Breath Prayer was really a warm-up for centering prayer!

If trying breath prayer was challenging for me, centering prayer made breath prayer look like a breeze! In centering prayer, you again empty the thoughts in your head and just try to be with the Lord. The difference between it and breath prayer, or the Jesus prayer is that you choose one word (yes, just one word) and use that word to bring yourself back to just a state of being with God whenever your mind begins to wander.

You’re not even supposed to change the word as you pray. In the Jesus prayer it was common for me to change the phrasing I used if I felt like I couldn’t settle myself with the current phrasing. Thus, settling on just one word and sticking to it was really challenging!


Out of Breath?


Breath Prayer, also known as the Jesus Prayer, is the prayer practice that first challenged me in HeartPaths. I think this is because of two facts:

  1. I’m a little wary of “mantras.” And essentially, breath prayer is about repeating one phrase often.
  2. Breath prayer requires that you empty the mind and just allow God to fill the space in that emptiness.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that a blogger might have trouble emptying her mind! Add to that the “counselor brain” and it’s darned near impossible. But, I now rely upon breath prayer for certain situations, so obviously I navigated my way through these two “mine fields” successfully. Let’s examine the practice:

The Jesus Prayer stems from what blind Bartimaeus said to Jesus in the hopes of Jesus healing him: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Simply by naming Jesus we are inviting Him into our midst and asking Him to take us as we are (warts and all) and to help us in whatever way Jesus/the Holy Spirit feels will yield healing for us.