Drinking Coffee at Church on Sunday Mornings
I walked into the Soul City Church auditorium at 11:15 this morning with a mug full of hot coffee and a mind determined to breath. Worship had already begun so I wiggled my way into a middle-aisle seat, took a sip of coffee and soaked in the song.
There’s nothing I love more than drinking coffee from a coffee mug. Heck…I love drinking everything from a coffee mug – even water! There’s just something soothing about it, something comforting and cozy.
Sunday mornings are the busiest day of the week for me and my team. I work at a church so I don’t always get the chance to sit down and enjoy the message on Sunday mornings, but today I did!
During the service I was reminded why it’s so important for me to take an intentional pause. Even on the busiest Sundays when I don’t make it downstairs for service, my heart still requires a direct connection to God – a moment of stillness where I can say “thank you,” or “this is what I need…will you help me?” Lately, I haven’t been good at finding ways to do this, but I want to make a change.
Today, I’m reaching into my “toolbox” to I share a short prayer exercise that I find helpful when my soul needs to slow down. I first heard about this prayer several years ago when I worked for Cru. It’s called a “breath prayer.”
Breath prayer is a simple prayer exercise to help your soul connect its deepest desire to the person of God. It is both a stop and a start – a stop to pause and a start to connect. The great thing about a breath prayer is that once you’ve discovered it, you can incorporate it into your daily rhythm of life. It’s literally a prayer that is uttered in one single breath.
The following breath prayer exercise is based on a practice found in Ruth Hayley Barton’s Sacred Rythms. I recreated a shortened version for the purposes of this blog, but the idea is all hers! If you’ve never read anything by Barton you should click here and buy her books – she’s got so much wisdom to say share about resting and walking in God’s spirit.
Take 10 minutes right now to read through this exersize and discover what your breath prayer might be. I hope this space for your soul to breath* provides the godly connection you’ve been looking for.
Take a moment to sit in silence. Close your eyes. Quiet your mind.
Begin focusing on your breath. Inhale and exhale. Deep, long breaths.
As your mind begins to settle, think of a name for God. What is it that you need him to be? Father? Comforter? Holy Spirit? Prince of Peace?
Let the names of God roll through your mind as you breathe until one of them emerges as the one you need. Repeat this name on every inhale. Simply breathe for a few moments, repeating your name for God and allowing his presence to become real to you.
Next, ask yourself these questions: What is my greatest need? What do I need from God? As you begin to identify that need, say it on your exhale. For example: (inhale) Holy Spirit (exhale) draw near to me. (inhale) Holy Spirit (exhale) draw near to me.
Continue taking deep breaths and breathing this prayer. It should be around 6-8 syllables long.
This is your breath prayer. A simple sentence that reminds you of who God is and allows you to bring your need to him. You can use it at work, taking a few minutes at your desk to quiet your mind and utter the prayer. You can use it at home – maybe in those small moments while you’re rocking a crying baby or just before you get dinner started. Whenever you need a moment to connect with God and let yourself be known, you can utter your breath prayer and know that he hears you and he’s with you. I know I’m eager to bring this practice back into my life. I hope it helps you too.
To read Ruth Haley Barton’s extended prayer lesson, click here.
*space for your soul to breath – this is a phrase that writer, Emily P. Freeman, uses all the time, and I love it. You can check out her blog here.