Lord, Teach Us to Pray {Part 1} Focusing in Prayer with Prayer Breathing

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prayerOne of my personal goals is to cultivate a habit of prayer. In the last month or so, the Lord has taught me about prayer through many different avenues. I have participated in #21Days4Sons, attended a prayer retreat, and read Prayer On Fire by Fred A. Hartley, III. My plan is to share what I’ve learned and the tools that have been helpful to me over the next 2 weeks. Here is the line-up:

Today, Monday, May 21st: Focusing in Prayer with Prayer Breathing
Tuesday, May 22nd: 10 Thresholds in Prayer
Thursday, May 24th: Praying the Lord’s Prayer Part 1
Monday, May 28th: Praying the Lord’s Prayer Part 2
Tuesday, May 29th: Praying Scripture: 10 Passages
Thursday, May 31st: Obstacles to Prayer
Friday, June 1st: Book Review: Prayer On Fire by Fred A. Hartley, III

I will be tweeting using the hashtag #Luke11 (the Lord’s Prayer) during the series. I hope you’ll join in the conversation after you read my posts! As always, you can comment directly on the post or join us on Facebook as well.

I will be giving away a copy of Prayer On Fire on Friday, June 1st. Come back tomorrow to learn how to enter.

Prayer BreathingFocusing in Prayer with Prayer Breathing

(Prayer breathing was taught by Chip Henderson, lead pastor of Pinelake Church, at a Kneel Prayer Retreat.)

I am already a little nervous about this prayer retreat. I have never done anything like it and have absolutely no idea what to expect. A friend of mine says he expects we will be handling snakes. (He was joking, of course). Our small group is gathered in the main meeting room of Lake Forest Ranch. The camp is located literally in the middle of nowhere Mississippi consisting of about 20 cabins, the main building, a dining hall, recreation hall, and office located in the middle of hundreds of acres of pine tree forests nestled right up next to a picturesque lake. We can see the lake just to our left out the meeting room windows. It’s breathtaking.

The setting is intimate as there are less than 50 people gathered. Half the room has chairs and the other half has pillows scattered on the floor for kneeling in prayer. Again, I have no idea what to expect and don’t know most of the people here. I am intimidated to say the least. So when the lead pastor says we are going to begin with a prayer breathing exercise, I’m not really sure what to think. I consider myself very conservative. I grew up in a traditional Southern Baptist church. I graduated from one of the most conservative seminaries in the nation (if not the world). You may be like me, not really sure about this prayer breathing but hang with me, I think you’ll find it useful as I did.

Do you ever find your mind wandering in prayer? You are totally committed to spending time with the Lord in prayer, but all of a sudden you awake from you daydreaming to realize you’ve been thinking about your grocery list, the laundry, how long until the baby will wake up, your husband’s job, or any other of the many worries that bombard our minds daily?

You do? Good. Glad I’m not the only one. So this exercise has really helped me to focus. It’s really quite simple:

Breath in deeply. Exhale deeply.

As you breath in, ask the Holy Spirit to fill you up.

As you exhale, release your worries and concerns to the Lord.

Breath in deeply. Breath in a little more. Until you feel you might pop. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill absolutely every cell of your body.

Exhale deeply. Blow out a little more. Give up every last thing plaguing your mind so that you can focus on Christ. Ask Him to show you if there is anything left. Blow it out.

That’s it. So simple. I’ve found it SO helpful.

I try to do this before my “scheduled” prayer time to help get me focused in on spending time with the Lord. However, that’s not when it’s been most helpful.

I’m a huffer. Do you know what I mean? When I get frustrated, I huff. It’s a family thing. We all do it. We cracked up the first time my son did it when he got frustrated. Apparently it’s genetic. Or learned. I’m blaming genes. I digress…

So I’ve found that when I huff now, it reminds me of prayer…because its that same deep breathing feeling. I’m reminded to breath in the Holy Spirit and blow out whatever frustrated or made me angry.

I’m reminded to pray continually. (1 Thessalonians 5:17)

Do you have any other strategies for focusing in prayer? Have you tried this before? If you have or try it soon, let me know how it goes.

This post is linked with thanks to:

Works for Me Wednesday
iFellowship
Women in the Word Wednesday
Living Well Wednesday
Walk with Him Wednesday

Photo credit: Hand, Glasses

Some links in this post are affiliate links.

Comments

  1. I love this post. I have done several posts this month on prayer myself. I hope you will drop by my blog and check them out. You can find them easily by clicking on the “Christian belief” tab on the top right of the page. BTW, I found your site from the link up we both did from “We are that family”.
    http://www.countrifiedhicks.com

  2. interesting! I have never tried this, but I think I might have to!! I definitely find my mind wandering when I pray at lot of the time when I pray, so this just might help!

    great post!!!

  3. I have tried this prayer breathing exercise & it is so helpful to get back on track being focused on God & filling of the Holy Spirit to succeed as God’s will for me each day!! I’ve never really had anyone explain it like so, just something I did as I fight anxiety attacks & do my best not to become overwhelmed (although lately, its not working). It’ll be alright, though, b/c I know that God is right here in the midst of all of this. I look forward to your continued journey & sharing!
    Hugs, HL

    • MB@NewLifeSteward says:

      I often use it when I’m getting overwhelmed with anger and really need to calm down. I can see how it would be helpful for anxiety attacks as well. Maybe you could choose a specific passage to meditate on that is especially comforting in regards to your anxiety. I often meditate on “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry” for myself. (If you can’t tell, anger is a bit of an issue for me!) I imagine anxiety attacks can be very difficult to work through.

      I’m glad you stopped by! Thank you for sharing. I look forward to hearing from you more as we work through this series!

      MB

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