Read John 20:19-30
Much attention is given to the belief/unbelief of Thomas in this passage (and it should be given attention). But today I want to focus on what is sometimes called the 'Pentecost of John' - the moment Jesus "breathes" the Holy Spirit onto the disciples (“receive the Holy Spirit”).
When John uses the word "breathe," he's calling us back to our beginnings. In Genesis, humans are forms, but they are lifeless until "God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life" (Genesis 2:7). Our ability to breathe is linked very strongly with what we know as our uniquely conscious life. Today, we get a sense of this important aspect of life when a child is born. When both of my children were born, I remember the sensation of not breathing while I waited for my kids to take that first breath. All of us seemed to inhale and exhale in sync as life filled the room and we became aware of it.
For millennia, breathing and prayer have been partners. The ‘breath prayer’ was developed and practiced early in Christianity. It’s any simple, short phrase that you can pray within the span of one breath. As you repeat the phrase over and over again while paying attention to slowing your breath, both your spirit and body pray and become more aware of the presence of God.
If you haven’t tried this practice before, the phrases below are a great place to start. If you haven’t prayed this way in a while, give the phrases below a try. Take several minutes to try this unique and beautiful form of prayer throughout the coming week.
Breath Prayer Phrases (choose one and repeat):
- Come, Holy Spirit.
- Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.
- Your love reaches to the heavens.
- Be still and know that I am God.
- You are the Beginning and the End. (or You are the Alpha and Omega)
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Tomorrow on the Daily Connection: Deeper Dive Podcast
About the Author
Isaac Gaff is the Managing Director of Worship and Creative Arts at Calvary UMC