When I first dated my husband, I knew I’d have to learn to ski since he grew up in Vermont. Attempting a slope too steep for my inexperience, when my skis carried me too quickly to stop, I merely … fell over… and over… and over. By the end of the day, the staff called me Snow White (unaware that my maiden name is “White”). No explanation needed.
Over the years, my technique improved enough that I attempted to relax and enjoy the rhythm of the slope. One day while skiing, I tried to practice breathing and praying in rhythm. “Breath prayer”.
I invite you to try it: Settle into a slower breathing rhythm; praying in and out words that speak to you such as: “Holy Spirit… fill me”, then repeat the phrase with each breath, in and out. The possibilities are endless, but other ideas are: “Give me strength… O Christ”; “Teach me patience… gracious God”; “Hold me… in your love”; “Healing God… I hope in you”.
I love this type of prayer because it is short and said or thought in a single breath. Depending on the circumstances, it changes according to your deep desires of the moment. Over time, I experience the Spirit praying in me. In Hebrew, the words breath and spirit are the same word, “ruach”.
Many spiritual traditions have found that being attentive to our breathing is a helpful way to become centered or focused on our inner world. Breathing attentively, at an easy, regular pace, slows us down and calms our rushing mind and body. ~Joyce Rupp
The Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. –Romans 8:26-27