Thankful for Every Breath

Today I am simply thankful for every breath. The older I become the more acutely aware I am that each breath is a gift from God. Breathing is necessary for life yet we take this simple and profound act for granted. Most people take 16-20 breaths per minute. That means we take more than 24,000 breaths per day. Of course, there are a lot of variables involved, and most people breath too frequently and shallowly

I try to incorporate Stretch and Pray into my daily routine. When I do, I become more aware of my breathing, particularly in the last portion that focuses on prayer and meditation. This program, designed by ELCA Bishop Murray Finck, combines stretching, yoga, breathing, and prayer and is a great way to begin the day. Taking time to focus on deep breathing reminds me of the gift of the Spirit.

Breathing, or respiration, both supplies our organs with oxygen necessary to sustain life and helps to remove toxins from our bodies. It is part of the wonderful design of our bodies. With attention to breathing correctly, one can improve health and well-being AND reduce stress. Click here for a detailed explanation of correct breathing.

Today, give thanks for the ability to breath. Celebrate the gift of life. Take a few minutes to sit quietly and focus on each breath. Feel your stress and worries lighten with each exhalation. Try this simple prayer: As you breathe in think “God is good, all the time.” As you exhale think “All the time, God is good.” Another option is to pray the “Jesus Prayer”: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Pray the first half as you inhale, and the second half with each exhalation.

Finally, if you have access to Rob Bell’s Nooma series, watch “Breathe.”  Here’s a link to the entire segment on Daily Motion.

Photo by shawnzrossi used under Creative Commons License. Thanks!

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