In his letter the the church at Thessolonica, the Apostle Paul wrote that they should “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This has always seemed to me a daunting task, but that is exactly what Br. Lawrence seems to be suggesting for the unnamed soldier mentioned in today’s passage.
Let him then think of God the most he can; let him accustom himself, by degrees, to this small but holy exercise; nobody perceives it, and nothing is easier than to repeat often in the day these little internal adorations.
When I read this, I can’t help but think of a conversation I had some years back about the usefulness and importance of “breath prayers.” Now, I will admit that this is not a practice I grew up with or was very familiar with until relatively recently. The idea is this: you pick a short phrase, petition, or expression of praise. You commit this phrase to memory and repeat it to yourself as often as you think of it throughout the day. It becomes a mantra of sorts that you can use to re-center your thoughts and emotions on God and God's presence in your life. It is actually a wonderful practice once you get used to doing it. There is a pretty good introductory article found on the website of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (you can access that here) that gives a few more details, including some examples of breath prayers you might try out.
What's been your experience? Have you tried breath prayers in the past? Have they been helpful? Would you be willing to give it a try? Why or why not?
Ecclesia Writer's Consortium
We are blessed at Ecclesia to have a number of gifted writers and teachers. Here, you'll find devotions, meditations, and musings from a sample of those writers.