I am noticing that I still am not quite settled with what to call this Tuesday (weekly) blog post on prayer. Tuesday Prayer? Prayer on Tuesday? I WANT ALLITERATION so both of these chap my hide, so to speak. And so, why don't you make a suggestion! Come up with a better name for this prayer posting thingy that happens on Tuesdays. If not, you're stuck with my feeble brain's shenanigans. To skip past my commentary and to go straight to the prayer, click this link.
There is something to be said for breath prayer. I have probably talked about it before. But breath prayer is the inhale and exhale coupled with prayer or the cry of our heart.
Inhale - simultaneously address whom you are speaking the prayer to
Exhale - simultaneously address the cry of your heart
This intersects trauma treatment as breathing is a vital practice to interrupting anxiety. There is some science that says that if your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, you will kick in your body's innate reactions in such a way that it starts working to slow your heart-rate.
But it also intersects theologically with Christian and Jewish scripture. (I'd love to hear from other traditions!)
In Jewish scripture, commonly called the Old Testament for Christians, spirit is referred to as ruach.
ruach: breath, wind, spirit. Original Word: ר֫וּחַ. Part of Speech: Noun Feminine. Transliteration: ruach. Phonetic Spelling: (roo'-akh) Short Definition: spirit. (Strong's Hebrew, entry 7307).
So many things about ruach or breath.
- Breath is spirit.
- Spirit is feminine.
In Christian scripture, we have pneuma.
Strong's #4151: pneuma (pronounced pnyoo'-mah)
a current of air, i.e. breath (blast) or a breeze; by analogy or figuratively, a spirit, i.e. (human) the rational soul, (by implication) vital principle, mental disposition, etc., or (superhuman) an angel, demon, or (divine) God, Christ's spirit, the Holy Spirit:--ghost, life, spirit(-ual, -ually), mind.
A further study of the grammar:
noun singular neuter
The noun for spirit or breath is neither masculine nor feminine in Greek. It is neuter.
The point I am driving towards is that Spirit, in both Jewish and Christian theology, has the divine feminine and the divine neither male nor female present. And yet, we have literally taken those folx right out of our spirituality. Well, some of us have.
I know for a fact that that conservative translators adhere to the idea that the Bible only speaks to men and exclude the idea of women being present at things like the feeding of the masses because the translation is a masculine word. I would invite them to really start translating correctly if they are going to go down that road.
Breathe deep the breath of God. <audible inhale/exhale>
Deep is the breath of God. <audible inhale/exhale>
Breath is the presence of God. <audible inhale/exhale>
Again. <audible inhale/exhale>
Breathe deep the presence of God. <audible inhale/exhale>
<begin your prayer time>
God of many pronouns,
You are with me in my very breath. In my inhales and exhales. Reaching every nook and cranny of my inward being. Help me to remember that you are with me. Help me feel your strengthening presence as I lay before you the concerns of my heart.