Breath Prayer: An Ancient Practice for the Everyday Sacred
October 12, 2021
Whether reciting the gathas in Buddhist practice, the Shema in Judaism, or the Jesus Prayer in Christianity, for centuries the practice of breath prayer has helped center people from a variety of faith traditions on the sacred in everyday life. Through brief words of prayer or petition said silently to the rhythm of one’s breath, this simple, meditative act combines praise for the divine with focused intention, creating a profound spiritual connection in the quiet, and even mundane, moments of the day.
In Breath Prayer, Christine Valters Paintner, online abbess of Abbey of the Arts, introduces us to this spiritual practice and offers beautiful poem-prayers for walking, working, dressing, cleaning, sitting in silence, doing the dishes, living in community–breathing the divine into our daily lives. Over time these recitations become as natural as breathing. We don’t so much recite the prayers as the prayers recite us, guide us, and open our hearts to the everyday sacred.
With each of the forty prayers, Paintner includes reflections on life’s ordinary beauty and heartfelt advice for discovering the sacred all around. Breath Prayer concludes with guidance for creating your own breath prayers to deepen your practice.
To hear Christine speak more about the ancient practice of breath prayer, listen to the Ruah Space podcast and the Presence and Practice podcast
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