Originally posted on the Bibles for America Blog.
We all know breathing is the most fundamental need for sustaining our physical life. But did you know that continually breathing in the life of God is essential for maintaining our spiritual life?
We were saved eternally when we believed in Christ, and we received the divine life when we were born again. From the moment we’re saved, we need to continue to breathe spiritually so we can grow in the divine life.
In the post How Is Prayer Our Spiritual Breathing? we saw that to breathe in the life-giving Spirit is our greatest need. We also saw that the Greek word for “Spirit” is pneuma, and this same Greek word is also used for “breath.” The resurrected Lord is now the life-giving Spirit, or “breath.”
So how can we breathe in the Spirit as the living breath? It is by prayer. Just as we have to use our lungs to take in oxygen, we have to use our human spirit when we pray to breathe in God as life.
Physical breathing involves both inhalation and exhalation. In the same way, as we breathe in all the positive things of the Lord Himself, we also exhale all the negative things in our being. We’re revived and strengthened by the fresh supply of the Spirit, and most importantly of all, we gain God Himself.
In our fast-paced, busy lives, it’s easy to find ourselves “holding our breath.” No wonder we’re spiritually weak, negative things build up in our heart, and we’re susceptible to sin. How we need to breathe! We need to absorb the life of God in order to live the Christian life. Too often we pray to ask God for things and answers to problems. But our primary need is to breathe in God.
Today, we’ll touch on eight points that can help us breathe in God through prayer.
1. Set aside time to pray. Much like working out, if we don’t schedule time to pray, we won’t do it. Maybe it’s simply a matter of going to bed at a decent time and waking up thirty minutes earlier than usual. In fact, spending time with God first thing in the morning really sets the tone for the day. We can begin our time with Him by telling Him we love Him: “Oh Lord Jesus! Lord Jesus, I love You.” We can exhale all of the things that are bothering us and focus on enjoying Christ.
2. Develop a habit of prayer. Studies show it takes about twenty-one days to form a new habit. We can try to spend twenty minutes with the Lord in prayer every day for three weeks to begin to develop a healthy prayer habit. It will make a big difference in our life if we spend consistent time in prayer to be filled with the Lord and be spiritually recharged.
3. Turn off our electronic devices. Matthew 14:23 tells us Jesus “went up to the mountain privately to pray.” He left the crowd below, even His disciples, to be alone and spend uninterrupted time with the Father. While modern technology helps us, it also brings huge distractions into our lives that keep us from spending time with the Lord Jesus and breathing Him in. He wants to spend personal, private time with us. By going to a place free of other people and putting away our devices so we’re not distracted, we can shut out the world and take in the Lord in a solid way.
4. Muse on the Word. Psalm 119:15 says, “I will muse upon Your precepts and regard Your ways.” Note 1 in the Holy Bible Recovery Version defines muse:
“To muse on the word of God is to enjoy His word as His breath (2 Tim. 3:16) and thus to be infused with God, to breathe God in, and to receive spiritual nourishment.”
Did you know that not only the Spirit is breath but also His Word is breath? Second Timothy 3:16 tells us, “All Scripture is God-breathed.” By using our spirit to pray with the words in the Bible, we can muse on and take in every God-breathed word, so we can be infused with God and nourished by Him.
5. Pray with the Bible. We can make any verse in the Bible our prayer. For example, we can pray, “All Scripture is God-breathed. Thank You, Lord, all of Your Scriptures are Your breath! I come to breathe You in through Your Word right now.” We can spend time praying over a certain verse; we don’t need to feel like we have to rush ahead to another one. Instead, we can continue to enjoy a particular phrase, lingering to breathe deeply.
6. Praise the Lord. When we spend time with the Lord, musing on His Word and enjoying Him, praises will spontaneously issue from our lips. Say, for example, we’re enjoying Matthew 1:21, which says, “And she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins.” From musing on this verse, it will be easy to praise Him, “Lord Jesus, I praise You. You’re the most wonderful One in the universe. Praise You for becoming a man! Thank You, Lord, for saving me from my sins. I praise You as my Savior!”
7. Allow God to finish His speaking. We often cut our time with the Lord short. Imagine if we were treated like this by the people in our lives. Let’s say a good friend comes to talk to us. He tells us about something that happened to him, tells us how he’s doing, asks us to do a few things for him, and before we can respond, he walks away. How would we feel? We might have had a lot to say, but we didn’t get a chance. Quite often, this is how we treat the Lord. We vent to Him, unload what’s on our heart, ask Him to do something for us, ask Him to help us with something, and then finish our time of prayer without allowing Him to say anything to us. To breathe in the Lord, we also need to allow the Lord the opportunity to speak what’s on His heart to us.
8. Pray throughout the day. The simplest way to pray throughout the day is by calling on His name. Calling on the name of the Lord Jesus is something we can do anywhere at any time, whether loudly or quietly. It’s an easy way to breathe in the Lord all day.
Prayer isn’t a duty; it’s a necessity for survival, because it’s our spiritual breathing. And it’s a delight! We can breathe in our enjoyable God moment by moment to be refreshed, strengthened, and filled with Him.
A hymn by A.B. Simpson aptly describes the experience of breathing in God by prayer. The final verse says:
I am breathing every moment,
Drawing all my life from Thee;
Breath by breath I live upon Thee,
Lord, Thy Spirit breathe in me.
To see the entire hymn and listen to the tune, visit this page.
If you live in Australia, you can order a free copy of the New Testament Recovery Version here.
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