14 Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. 15 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.”
Greetings my Friends!
Today is Thanksgiving! A day when we are called to reflect on the abundant gifts our Lord provides us each day and give thanks to God!
Alas, it has been my experience that many of us, even on a day that intentionally invites us to slow down and give thanks, are simply too busy or preoccupied to “pause for the cause!”
I know, I know, you barely have time to read this message let alone any additional minutes that it might create, but yet, I implore you to dedicate five extra minutes after reading this message.
Did you know that offering five (5) extra minutes each day can change your life?
I promise this is true. Today, I invite you to join me in “the breathing prayer!”
When we are participating in the “breathing prayer” the first thing you should know is that it’s OK if you have additional thoughts while sharing the “breathing prayer.” Actually, it would be a little strange if you did not. You can participate in this “breathing prayer” anywhere! In your car (not while you are are actively driving), in your bed, in your kitchen, wherever you are… you can participate in the “breathing prayer.”
Why should you consider the ‘breathing prayer?”
Here are some short-term and immediate effects:
· This will interrupt the output of your stress hormones
· Decrease anxiety
· Calm your mind
· Improve your focus
· Lower your heart rate
· Temporarily lower your blood pressure (Yes, this is my secret Dr. Nick!)
· Increase blood flow to your brain
· Increase your sense of well-being
· Improve your mood.
Now that is some wonderful results for five minutes, right?
Here are some long-term effects from regularly participating in the “breathing prayer.”
· This prayer actually lowers risk of cardiovascular disease
· Strengthens your immune system
· Improves digestion
· Improves focus
· Increases energy
· Decreases over reactions
· Increases your ability to choose helpful thoughts and release critical ones.
Have I convinced you to give this “breathing prayer” a try?
OK, so here is how you participate in this wonderful prayerful meditation!
When you first try this, if you are very worried about time, set up a timer for five minutes.
Next, find a place where you can sit relaxed for five minutes with your eyes closed.
Now you are ready!
Step one: Inhale, as you breathe in say the words “Lord Jesus Christ.”
Step two: exhale, as you breathe out say the words “have mercy on me.”
(Please note: phrases can be said out loud or in your head.)
Repeat steps one and two for five minutes!
As you are participating in this breathing prayer, pay attention to:
· The thoughts that come into your mind (but keep praying through them)
· What you hear
· What you smell
· How you are feeling
· What you want to “give up”
· What blessings you have
Once finished, recall that indeed you, and all of us, are loved children of God! We are forgiven for our transgressions and we are invited to forgive others for their transgressions. Let go of those negative thoughts and live in the “new light” God offers.
The “breathing prayer” takes a little bit of practice, but I promise you it can help change your outlook on life.
So, on this Thanksgiving Day your pastor is asking that we all take five minutes a day to allow ourselves to be completely enveloped in God’s loving arms and at least try out this “breathing prayer.” Five minutes out of the 1440 minutes that God gifts us today. Ready to take a “pause for the cause?”
Until we meet again.
Keep trusting God, keep washing those hands, and “breathe!”