Thursday, August 1, 2013

breath prayer cards

Technically, I think I learned my first "breath prayer" when I was 3 or 4 years old.  I remember being quite frightened of the dark, so my Mom taught me to recite the short scripture "When I am afraid, I will trust in you".  I remember saying those words to myself over and over again and feeling comforted by the fact that I could indeed trust in God when I felt afraid. In fact, I still say/pray those verses when I'm frightened or anxious, 25 years later.

I was formally introduced to this ancient spiritual discipline through Asbury Seminary's 2011 Lenten Reader, "Breathe".  I find visual reminders very helpful, so I decided to make some small
"breath prayer cards" to keep with me as I go about my day. These cards can usually be found in my purse, my back pocket or set up on the car dashboard. So far, 
I have found these prayers to be extremely helpful in keeping my heart and mind focused throughout the day.

I try to breath through the prayer at many quiet and in- between moments, but I've found them most helpful when I'm battling anxious or negative thoughts. Sometimes I have trouble finding words to pray (or I just get distracted) so having these short meaningful prayers on my mind and at my fingertips has been enormously helpful and encouraging. I highly recommend giving this a try (and I made it SUPER easy for you - see links below.)

My current breath prayers - 
 To make your own...
1. Gather black paper, collage papers (magazine, photos, scrapbook papers etc.), glue and scissors.
2. Cut black construction paper to the size of a baseball card. 
3. Use collage papers to create an interesting (and perhaps meaningful?) background for your prayer. I like to rip paper to give an interesting border.
4. Type, print and cut out your prayers.
5. Glue one prayer to each card. Divide the prayer into two parts (breath in and breath out)
6. You can either use the original card or you can photocopy it if you like that look or if you want to give them away (something I hope to do). I made my cards with the intention of photocopying them, so the colors I chose didn't matter as much.
7. Cut out your cards (if you photocopied them) and laminate or slip inside a sports card protector sleeve.  
8. Carry your prayer(s) around with you and practice "praying without ceasing".

Below are links to the list I put together from various sources (scripture, the Asbury Reader etc) as well as 2 picture files with scanned images of some of the cards I made. Feel free to download and print to your heart's content. 

(print cards on a full page on card stock or on regular printer paper if you have a laminator or protector sleeve. If you know me in real life, I have some extra sleeves and I'd be happy to share!)

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