July 1, 2023
Today, we are officially half way through the year, so it’s kind of like a mid-year check-in (which, of course, is better than a mid-life crisis!) This exercise does not require a new convertible or drama. But this mid-point is a good time to consider what you were thinking when this year started, when you first picked your One Word.
Remember, there’s a reason why your word is your word.
At the beginning of the year, there was something about it that gave you hope that God could use it as a tool in your formation. There are two contemplative practices I would like to share to help you reflect on your word and to use as a part of your mid-point check-in, a way to reorient your view for the second half of this year.
By its nature, a contemplative practice requires us to be mindful and unrushed. We have to intentionally make space and enter into communion with God, and in this case, specifically through prayer. It’s a slowing down of ourselves in preparation to fully enter into His presence.
I think it’s important to note that both of the contemplative prayers below involve our breath -something vital to our life that we live mostly unaware of until we find ourselves struggling or without.
Breathing occurs involuntarily, unconsciously for most of us, something we are only reminded of when our watch reminds us to take a breath. So, these practices serve to remind us- to make us conscious, intentional, and thankful.
Scripture says that God breathed life into us. It was His breath that made Adam a living being (Genesis 2:7). God made us in such a way that our life-sustaining breath can serve to calm us. A deep breath can motivate us. Pausing to inhale can redirect our thoughts.
This type of prayer invites us to focus on a single word as we take deep breaths. The single word can be a descriptor of God, or a word that describes what you long for, or a truth you need to be reminded of. You’ve probably already guessed this, but in this centering prayer, we will use our one words.
This is one of the powerful benefits of My One Word. The single word is not only a lens through which we see, but is a way to articulate our prayer to God. The simplicity of this invites us to focus and center ourselves.
The first step is to just pay attention to your breath, inhaling and exhaling at a pace that feels relaxing. Once that’s established, as you exhale, speak or think your word. As you do this, you are thanking God for His faithfulness. It may also be a prayer for Him to restore your hope for your future. Your word is also an offering to God, a seeking for Him to use it for His purposes.
A breath prayer is another simple way to express our heart and needs to God. In the classic sense, breath prayers are usually six to eight syllables, easily said (or thought) within one inhale and exhale.
A breath prayer for your one word can be something like this (My One Word is ANIMATE):
Inhale: Animate my life
Exale: for Your purposes
Other prayers can be like this:
Inhale: You are faithful
Exhale: to form me.
You can also quote Scripture:
Inhale: You will complete
Exhale: Your good work (paraphrase of Philippians 1:6)
You can do either one of these prayers as many times as you would like, several times in a row or set a reminder on your phone to do one several times a day…there is not a wrong way to go about either one.
With both, the purpose is to seek God, to align yourself with His ways and intentions. My hope is that both of these contemplative practices are ways for us to engage with God in prayer while also keeping our one words in front of us.
Take advantage of this midpoint.
There are still six months in front of you and God has promised to bring His grace to your life as He brings breath to your lungs.