Select Page

“I weakly exhaled the strong name of Jesus.”

A moment of desperation. Empty hands. Foggy mind. Hurting body. Laying in a hospital bed. Tubing full of oxygen wraps around my face, providing rich, life sustaining air into my nostrils. My breathing fast and labored, as had become my normal at that time. I had been waiting for the call for new lungs for months and I could feel my body breaking down more and more each week.

It had been quite a while since I had had the energy and ability to concentrate on anything well. As my lung function declined, reading and absorbing any information became more difficult (it’s amazing what oxygen, or lack thereof, can do to your brain). But it wasn’t just the brain fog and severe fatigue from working so hard to breathe 24/7, there was also a fog in my soul. There were so many thoughts and feelings, but no energy to sort through them. 

At first, I felt guilty and frustrated with myself. I felt helpless. I could not sing praises out loud, I couldn’t focus, I could not pray eloquently. I felt I had nothing to offer to God, or to the people around me. I layed there feeling completely and utterly useless. 

My attempts at prayer became breath prayers. I would often find that all I could get out was a simple, Jesus, I need you. Or sometimes just Jesus.  God knew. He knew all that my heart was carrying, thinking, hoping, and praying inside. It was too much to try to form into a prayer or even into words on a page. It seemed all I had to give was a desperate: Jesus, I need you.

JESUS. 

Simple, but O, so powerful. 

At that name, death was defeated, hope was born, darkness bows, shame cannot exist, wounds are healed, and life is breathed into all of us. His name is a shield from the war around us, a foundation under our feet that will never crumble, and a secure reminder of how deeply we are loved.

In that moment in my hospital bed, as I weakly exhaled the strongname of Jesus, something occurred to me that never had before. It was as if the Father was whispering a reminder in my ear: “Your value has not changed. I do not delight in you because of what you have to offer, or how well you pray. You are fully loved and fully accepted, no matter what.” My guilt dissipated.

That moment allowed me to experience the grace of God in a new way. Something clicked. Eventually we will all come to a point where we feel we have nothing of value to offer this world, or God. But even in our weakest moments, God still views us with immense worth and dignity, and accepts us fully – under the beautiful, powerful blood of Jesus!

It was never about what I could offer (because really none of us have anything to offer God, He has no need, and our debt has already been paid by Jesus). It was, and always will be, about Jesus and his love that is without conditions.

Usually, when we talk about breathing, inhaling tends to come first. With these breath prayers, I’m going to start with an exhale. The lungs first need to release CO2, a byproduct from the lungs, in order to take in the next full breath of air to continue to give our bodies the oxygen necessary to live. Similarly, as you and I position ourselves to pray, we must first let go of certain things, open our tightly clench fists, and release what’s not life giving in order to receive what is. 

Here are some breath prayers for when you are overwhelmed, anxious, or when you feel afraid of the future. These are some prayers that I have prayed often, but surely we are all coming from different places. Bring your heart into this; it’s not about following it word for word, but meeting God where you are personally. 

1. PRAYER OF DESPERATION:


“Jesus, I need you.”


EXHALE: Let go of the pressure to do or be more. Just rest in this moment, as the mercy of God wraps around you like a blanket. You are loved. You are safe.
INHALE: Take in a new moment. Open your hands and your heart. Quiet your mind.
EXHALE: “Jesus, I need you.” Acknowledge your desperate dependence on Him.
INHALE: Receive the extravagant grace of God over you. You are fully embraced, no matter how weak you might feel.

Scripture to reflect on: 
Matthew 11:28 
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 
Isaiah 43:1-4
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you. Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you..”

2. PRAYER FOR ANXIETY: 

“I am safe in your hands.”

EXHALE: Let go of the pressure and tension that you’re carrying in your body and spirit. Our control wants to hold onto it. But just for this moment, let it go. Just be. 
INHALE: The Holy Spirit gives us the breath of life. Ask Him to fill your soul with fresh peace. Like oxygen infiltrating every cell, may peace fill your entire being.
EXHALE: “I am safe in your hands.” Name out loud the worries, stressors, and anxious thoughts that are encroaching on you. Call them out. 
INHALE: Receive rest in the authority of Christ over the looming thoughts and feelings. Resting in God in high stress circumstances is not ignorance or avoiding reality. It’s living in the reality and truth of the ultimate authority of the Father. We can have real peace, amidst difficult mental and physical circumstances because we know that Jesus defeated all the powers of evil and death. Anxiety MUST bow to Him. 

Scripture to reflect on: 
1 Peter 5: 6-7 
“Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
Deuteronomy 33:12
“Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in him, for he shields him all day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders.”
Philippians 2:10-11
“…at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

3. PRAYERS FOR FUTURE UNCERTAINTY:

“Lord, help me to trust you.”

EXHALE: Name the things weighing on you right now. For example fear of your health worsening. Anticipation of possible loss, OR asking, “What’s next, God?”
INHALE: Take in the presence of the Father with you right now. Acknowledge what you do know: He is in control, He desires good for you, He is always with you. 
EXHALE: “Lord, help me to trust you.” Let go of the thoughts that flood your mind with chaos. 
INHALE: Rest in the truth of God as your Shepherd. His protection is over you. Your needs will be met, above and beyond.

Scripture to reflect on: 
Psalm 139:5
You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Psalm 16:5-6
The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup; you hold my lot. The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance.
Psalm 23:1-2,6
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul…
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.