I'm in the kitchen washing dishes. I hear one of our kids (4, 4, and 7) screaming at another, "Aacccchhhhh!!" I come rushing into the bedroom and see the early earmarks of a potential UFC fight breaking out, with tug-of war and wrestling, "That's mine!! Give that back to me!! Give that back to me right now!" Like a police officer arriving at the scene of a burglary in progress, but using a different imperative, I say, "(child's name), breath!" and then I demonstrate by deeply and slowly breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth. It works. Okay, not always, but often. As a parent, I need and use the same calming routine to good effect, too!
When those moments come where life seems overwhelming or busy, and perhaps you feel guilty about not having spent more quiet time with God, or uncertain about how, what if you use the time you do have - right then - and connect with yourself and with God? What if you tried this twenty-second breath prayer that powerfully embodies you in your prayer and can be a simple yet profound way of experiencing God.
Here's how it works. Select a Bible phrase - let's use Psalm 46:10, "Be still and know that I am God." Break the phrase into two parts. Let's select "Be still" as our first part and "and know that I am God" as our second part.
For the first part, breath in through your nose, hold your breath for about four seconds or so, and then for the second part, slowly and evenly exhale through your mouth. While doing the first part, silently speak the words, "Be still." While doing the second part, silently speak the words, "and know that I am God."
As they say on shampoo bottles, "Repeat" (as often as you want). You and I can do this while driving (eyes open, to be sure), doing laundry, just before engaging your loved one in what you know will be a heated argument, before reading the Bible. The possibilities are unlimited. God wants to meet with you as often as you'll allow time to meet.
Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! - Psalm 150:6 (AMP)
(Over the next few weeks, check in with Spiritual Milk, a series sharing and exploring habits for growing more mature - for knowing, experiencing, and participating with God; help get the word out and share this blog with friends).