Breath as Prayer, by Jennifer Tucker (Thomas Nelson, 2022)
In this charming gift book, Jennifer Tucker combines proven breathing techniques with Scripture-based prayer to offer tools to “Calm your anxiety, focus your mind, and renew your soul.”
Everyday anxiety is something most of us experience more than we’d like. And if it’s not anxiety, it’ll be something else that agitates or distracts or stirs us up. Settling down can be easier said than done.
These 84 short readings and prayers come with gentle artwork. If savoured one per day, they can begin building a positive and peaceful habit. They can be read in order or by theme, meeting the felt need of the day (prayers of trust, direction, gratitude, help… there are 12).
I love how Ann Voskamp says, in her introduction to the book, “To learn to breathe prayers through all the labor pains of living is to be delivered into peace.” [page 14]
And I love these words from the author:
“Anxiety is not an enemy you need to fight. It is an opportunity to slow down and invite Christ into your struggle, to breathe deep in His presence and let His peace enter into all your broken places.” [page 30]
The book opens with an easy-to-read overview of the idea of focused breathing and brief prayers, grounding firmly in the scientific and in biblical Christianity. Page 21 includes a chart of what breath prayers are and are not, highlighting the difference between Christian practice and general spiritual and self-help practices. The author also points out the difference between anxiety disorder (needs professional help) and the more common everyday anxiety.
Each day’s reading features a truth to “breathe deep and know,” followed by a brief devotional reading and Scripture verse. Then a page of pastel-hued word art presents breath-sized snippets of the verse to repeat a few times in sync with slow inhales and exhales. I found this settled my spirit and led me into a sense of God’s unhurried presence.
A compact hardcover with lovely art, Breath as Prayer makes an excellent gift book for a friend or for yourself. Highly recommended as a gentle resource for spiritual growth and self-care.
For a brief, accessible overview of breath prayers, read this post on the author’s blog: What Are Breath Prayers? Jennifer Tucker’s website, Little House Studio, also offers mental health information and printable art. If you scroll to the end of her book page, you’ll find two free printable colouring sheets and a curated Spotify playlist with songs “to help you slow down and b-r-e-a-t-h-e.”
[Review copy from my personal library.]