We have all heard the phrase “the breath of life”. In Genesis God breathed into Adam and Eve to bring them to life. In Acts, Paul tells us that God gives to all people “life and breath and all things”. Every moment we are alive we are breathing. Taking time to slow down our breathing and breathe in God’s love for us is one of the best things we can do for ourselves.

I had the joy of seeing my grandson, Nolan, come into the world and breathe the breath of life to begin his life. We all celebrated his first cry, and I felt my heart would explode because of the deep love I felt. Reflecting on that moment and other precious moments in my life helps remind me of my gratitude for the gift of life. It fills me with an awareness of God’s love for me and I experience joy in His presence.

With all the fear and anxiety that is flooding our world, taking time to stop, breathe deeply, and reflect on God’s presence by recalling those moments of love can give us a place of refuge in the middle of the storm. When you are experiencing moments of stress or fear or grief taking time to practice this reflection can transform those feelings into ones of gratitude and peace.

Here are some basic steps towards healing through breathing:

  1. Create a quiet, prayerful space around you. This can be done anywhere.

(You may wish to light a candle as a symbol of how the light of God shines in our hearts and into darkness.) Close your eyes and breathe deeply, breathe in the love of God that surrounds you.

  1. Think back to a moment for which you are grateful:
  • a moment in which you experienced connection with yourself, God, others, and the world around you
  • a moment when you were able to give and receive love.

(It may be your wedding day, the birth of a child, a time by yourself in nature, a time of connection with a friend, a special time of prayer or a time when you stood up for what you believed.)

  1. Whatever moment comes to you, relive it. Imagine yourself back in that situation. See what is around you, listen for the sounds, recall what you smelled and what you felt on your skin.
  2. Breathe in deeply letting the love and gratitude you experienced in that moment go deep inside you filling you with awareness of God’s love.

May the resting place of His love become the very source and root of your life. May this love fill you and empower you to discover the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is His love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding. May this extravagant love pour into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God and can breathe His life into yours.

(Taken from Paul’s prayer to the Ephesians in chapter 3 from the Passion Translation)

Betsy O’Callaghan