When You give them Your breath, life is created, and You renew the face of the earth. I will sing to the Lord as long as I live. I will praise my God to my last breath! (Psalm 104:30, 33)
We have an enormous backyard, and in some places there is more dirt than grass. As I was mowing recently, the mower began sputtering and coughing. It would barely run. I stopped, pulled off the filter cover, and saw the problem. The filter was clogged with dust. I did not have a new filter, so I knocked and blew the dust out of the old one and put it back.
Note to self – when you blow into a filter, make sure you first gauge the wind direction.
I started the mower and it instantly ran like it was meant to run. Mowers cannot function unless they can breathe.
Neither can people.
The Hebrew word translated “breath” is also the Hebrew word translated “Spirit” and “wind.” God created oxygen, and us, and our lungs. We must breathe in order to live, but how we breathe affects our quality of life.
Ready for an anatomy lesson? Our lungs occupy a significant portion of our torso. They extend nearly as far down as our ribcage. When we take a deep breath we fill those lungs, instantly supplying oxygen throughout our bodies. When we take a shallow breath we do not fill our lungs; in fact, we deprive oxygen throughout our bodies.
The more stressed out or anxious we are, the less of our lungs we use. We breathe anatomically higher, only using the upper section of our lungs. Our wound-up emotions produce oxygen deprivation, forcing our bodies to work harder AND giving our bodies less of what they need.
Since God has given us oxygen and breath and lungs, why not take full advantage of these gifts when we need them the most? If we can condition ourselves to breathe deeply, combining that breathing with Scripture and prayer, we are using what God gave us AND we are seeking God’s peace and strength with every breath we take. Deep breathing lowers blood pressure, slows down the pulse, and clears our minds. Deep breathing also makes us more available to God.
There is a breathing exercise simply called 4-7-8. You breathe in through your nose to a 4 count. You hold your breath for a 7 count. You breathe out through your mouth to an 8 count. You can repeat several times, combining the 4-7-8 breathing with a very short “breath prayer…”
…“Jesus, thank You for being my peace.”
…“God, I let go and let You.”
…“God I need You.”
…”Jesus I trust You.” (That’s my go-to breath prayer.)
Your heart will usually tell you what you need to pray, but you cannot go wrong using Scriptures. You can apply this breathing discipline literally anywhere at anytime, but you may want to start at home by yourself so that you can become acquainted with it. And if you have pulmonary issues or are on medication for anxiety, please consult your doctor first.
God can use our breathing to empty us of anxiety and fill us with His Spirit.
I love what Ezekiel 37:1-6 says about breath. Here it is:
The Lord took hold of me, and I was carried away by the Spirit of the Lord to a valley filled with bones. He led me all around among the bones that covered the valley floor. They were scattered everywhere across the ground and were completely dried out. Then He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?” “O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “You alone know the answer to that.” Then He said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again! I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
God puts breath in us, we come to life, and we know God is God. I love that sequence!
Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! (Psalm 150:6)
Rick Jordan (www.rickcarlajordan.com, firstname.lastname@example.org)