10 'Breath Prayers' to Pray

10 'Breath Prayers' to Pray

Bob Hostetler shares quick and powerful prayers to pray on the go.

Start Your Day With These Inspiring Devotionals From Guideposts

  • A woman in a field with a cross in front of her

    1) "Lord, have mercy."

    The Desert Fathers, monastic Christians in Egypt in the third and fourth centuries, often prayed the prayer many know as the “Kyrie Eleison” (Greek for “Lord, have mercy”). Also called the “Jesus Prayer” when pronounced as “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner,” it is rooted in Psalm 123:3, Luke 18:13, and Luke 18:38.

  • Man standing in front of the horizon praying

    2) “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.”

    Based on the words of the boy Samuel (1 Samuel 3:9), I occasionally pray these words to quiet my soul and express my desire to hear from God.

  • The sun shines on a cross in the middle of a field at dawn

    3) "My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth."

    I often pray this prayer of affirmation and dependence, from Psalm 121:2, in times of need and desperation. It reminds me that my help does not come from my own strength or the support of others, but from God.

  • A woman stands on the beach at dawn with her arms raised in praise

    4) "Here I am."

    This is a prayer of presence, and availability, based on the cry of the prophet in Isaiah 6:8.

  • A man kneels at the foot of a cross on a hill at sunset

    5) "Show your power."

    I often pray this short prayer (based on Psalm 68:28, among others) to intercede for others, particularly when the need is great and the situation dire.

  • A woman in shadow prays as the sun rises

    6) "When I am afraid, I will trust you."

    My children memorized this verse (Psalm 56:3) when they were four and five, I think. It has since helped not only them but also me to remain calm and trustful when tempted by worry and fear.

  • Hands are raised to heaven as the sun peeks through the clouds

    7) "Not my will, but yours."

    This prayer, of course, echoes Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane (Luke 22:42). Like the previous prayer, it helps to pray this “breath prayer” when you are anxious or impatient. It places the praying heart in a position of surrender, where great answers are likely to come.

  • A woman stands in prayer as the sun sets in the background

    8) "Bring your kingdom."

    Based on the prayer Jesus taught his earliest followers (Luke 11:2), I often breathe this prayer when I am overwhelmed by the sadness and horrors of the latest news or a devastating diagnosis. In just a few words, it expresses a heartfelt desire for the day when “the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God” (Revelation 12:10) will be fully realized and the Evil One will be defeated.

  • Praying hands

    9) "Say the word."

    When a Roman centurion sent word to Jesus asking him to heal a sick servant, he told Jesus that he didn’t even feel worthy for the Lord to come into his house. He simply requested, “Say the word, and my servant will be healed” (Luke 7:7). Jesus commended the centurion’s faith, for his request showed that he knew Jesus could heal with a word. So I will often pray for someone’s healing–from sickness, addiction, emotional pain, depression, etc.–with this breath prayer.




  • A group of people praying

    10) "Come, Lord Jesus."

    I breathe this prayer–the last prayer recorded in the Bible (Revelation 22:20)–not only as a prayer for Christ’s return but also as a prayer for him to come repeatedly, constantly, into my situation and struggles.




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