Daily Worship

Finding a rhythm: inhale

Pamela Kennedy February 13, 2024 3 0
Image credit: Unsplash
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Matthew 4: 5-7 (NRSVA)

5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, 6 saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,

“He will command his angels concerning you”,
    and “On their hands they will bear you up,
so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.”’

7 Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.”’

Aaaand breathe.

You would have thought we’d have mastered this by now, so why do we need reminding? In through the nose, out through the mouth… To focus on our breathing helps to bring calm; to find a rhythm for our breathing helps to regulate anxious thoughts.

There’s no option for the swimmer but to breathe rhythmically. In order to keep moving, oxygen circulating, there must be a regular movement of breath, in and out, a willing tilting of the head to take it in. The rhythm is set in the interaction between swimmer and water: no two swimmers will breathe in exactly the same way. To force a breath at the wrong time would break the rhythm, sending the swim off kilter. So, with prayer. As I go, there are times of great, watery depth, almost as if I might touch the very heart of God, and then there are times of sustaining inhale, a rhythm set and sustained in Him. The Lord knows the sustenance I need: His word, sweeter than honey. Consecrated thought.

It is said that the name Yahweh allows for a ‘breath prayer’: Yah- on the inhale,

-weh on the exhale. To breathe the very name of God. A form of prayer that doesn’t add words where words are not necessary. It all begins and ends with God. Why not give it a try?




Living God

Closer than breath, everything that I need is found in You. As I draw near to You in prayer, You know the right rhythm for me: be my breath coach. I inhale deeply today, breathing in Your presence and Your love, Your sustaining and Your assurance. I won’t move without Your enabling. Holy Spirit, enlivener of dry bones, breathe Your life into me. Amen