Breath Prayers

  • Breath Prayers

    Posted by Nichelle Harrison on April 3, 2023 at 5:33 pm

    I recently came across the concept of breath prayer. Although, I think it is something I have done to a certain degree all my life (usually in times of stress) I didn’t realize how helpful and grounding it can be everyday throughout the day. Breath prayers are very short, broken into two halves, and prayed in rhythm with the breath: the first half is prayed while inhaling, and the second half while exhaling. Breath prayers are easily adaptable. Christian breath prayers are typically based on Scripture and are also known as “The Jesus Prayer” or “Prayer of the Heart”. Does anyone here use breath prayers or some adaptation of them? Sharing a 5/6 minute clip from the Abide App for anyone interested.

    Nichelle Harrison replied 2 months, 1 week ago 5 Members · 8 Replies
  • 8 Replies
  • Dan Hines

    April 3, 2023 at 9:56 pm

    Hi Nichelle, I use a breath prayer quite often these past years that is in breath mantra, ‘please’ and out breath mantra ‘thanks’. I wrote a poem and a reflection a few months back about this breath prayer that I am glad to post here for those interested.

    Twaiku 2 Two Words



    two words

    frame my life

    before i knew any word

    i pleaded

    first sharp breath

    from a warm aquatic home

    breathe in

    i need you


    as i die


    the other word


    what a ride!


    every other breath


    in and out




    Dan Hines 2022

    The psychologist Marshall Rosenburg revealed that if you listen carefully to anyone, you will hear two words.

    The first word is please. It is a request to for help, for understanding, or for collaboration. It is how I express what I need.

    The other word is thanks. It is a response to having a need met.

    Sometimes it is very hard to hear the words, beneath violent or aggressive communication. Yet, if I listen with an open heart, I can hear it.

    When I received this teaching from Marshall, I was aware that my first desperate breath at birth was ‘please’. Dependent and weak, my cry was a request for the care I will need to survive.

    I am also aware that I will let out a final breath. I have been present for this last breath in others. It is a release: a letting go. I pray to have the grace to be conscious at this moment and to be able to let my dying word be the only utterance possible: thanks.

    (Now, I practice these first and last breaths as a breathing meditation: please on the in and thanks on the out.)

    Reflection Questions:

    What ‘please’ am I ready to express? What request am I prepared to make?

    Where has gratitude arisen in my life in recent moments?

    How might I better express my ‘thanks’? And to whom?

    • Winton Boyd

      April 7, 2023 at 2:36 pm

      I love this Dan. It is not lost on me that as a child, the need to say “please” and “thank you” was drilled into me by my mom. A whole lifetime of spiritual journey and I’m still coming to understand what they an mean in my life and others.

      • Dan Hines

        April 8, 2023 at 7:19 pm

        Me too Wint and thanks for the loving note. The simplicity of being clear about my needs and my gratitude is a profound practice.

    • Marianne Barber

      May 13, 2024 at 10:03 am

      I join others in thanking you so much for sharing this, Dan ❤️

      The writer Anne Lamott had a slightly different but spiritually similar approach: she said “there are really only two prayers in the world: help me help me help me and thank you thank you thank you.”

      Love these both!

      I will print out your reflection and put it on my “altar” (aka, my fridge door) today 🌞

  • Soeren

    April 4, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    Hi Nichelle and Dan

    I thank you for the introduction to breath Prayer. Its New for me. I see breath prayer as usefull in my everyday life, bringing more awareness and gratitude in my life. Dan! Thanks for the poem and the words from Marchall Rosenburg. Just was I needed today in a Restaurant. The waiter had a very negative attitude. I thought about how to react. Now I know that he was saying please and thanks which makes it easyer to cope with.

    • Dan Hines

      April 5, 2023 at 12:54 am

      This is so lovely to know Soeren. Thank you for writing about your experience. Cheers, Dan

  • Nichelle Harrison

    April 5, 2023 at 10:49 am

    @danhines Thank you for sharing all of that. I am going to be intentional about trying to listen for the “please” and “thank you” in the way Rosenburg talked about it. Very interesting