Take a deep breath

Breathing is the most critical bodily function we can control. We can live for months without eating, days without drinking, but only seconds or minutes without breathing.

“What keeps us alive is not as bright as the ruby throat of a hummingbird, nor as present as the scent of honeysuckle at dusk; it is not as heavy as a praying mantis, nor as pungent as warm strawberries eaten in the field, not as loud as snow falling, yet we inhale, and keep on inhaling and exhaling every living moment, chest rising and falling like the ocean, always the invisible, weightless breath in us and around us; walking, praying, climbing, driving, loving, painting, spending breathing, breathing, breathing, everything and nothing until we let go at last.”

Despite being fully and miraculously formed, the Lord still needed to give breath to man in order to bring him to life.

Gen 2:7  And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Job 27:3  All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;

Without this breath, we (obviously) would have no life:

Psa 104:29  Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled: thou takest away their breath, they die, and return to their dust.


1Co 15:46  Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.

The breath that God gives us is a symbol of His Spirit, which we require even more than we do respiration.

Isa 42:5  Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:

Joh 20:21  Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
Joh 20:22  And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

Job 34:14  If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath;
Job 34:15  All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.

There is a type of breathing, however, that is unprofitable, even harmful, and this we must learn not to do.

Act 9:1  And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,


In order to have good blood, we must breathe well. Full, deep inspirations of pure air, which fill the lungs with oxygen, purify the blood. They impart to it a bright color and send it, a life-giving current, to every part of the body. A good respiration soothes the nerves; it stimulates the appetite and renders digestion more perfect; and it induces sound, refreshing sleep.  {MH 272.1}

Fresh air, like prayer, is one of our greatest privileges which we seldom appreciate, and take for granted, that we would do well to contemplate and thank our Heavenly Father for. We all know how we have done all we can to get fresh air when in a stuffy room or a place with a stench.

The war is going to go on despite our quarrels and our longing for freedom and fresh air, so we should try to make the best of our stay here – Anne Frank Jan. 15 1844

Exercise in the open air, even in winter, is necessary for the healthful circulation of the blood. The pure, invigorating air of heaven is God’s free gift to men and women, and it is impossible for them to be cheerful, healthful, and happy, unless they appreciate these rich bounties and allow them to answer the purpose for which they were designed.  {HR, April 1, 1872 par. 7}

The blessings of Christ are epitomised by the free, graceful, nourishing air that is available to all, drawing quality of air from the nature our Creator has so faithfully placed around us.

Christ recognized no distinction of nationality or rank or creed. The scribes and Pharisees desired to make a local and a national benefit of all the gifts of heaven and to exclude the rest of God’s family in the world. But Christ came to break down every wall of partition. He came to show that His gift of mercy and love is as unconfined as the air, the light, or the showers of rain that refresh the earth. {CCh 288.5}



Breathing symbolises the combination of humanity and Divinity. Breathing is something that happens automatically, which we would not be able to sustain were it entirely up to us, yet it is something we can have a cooperation in to bring to perfection. This important function, God is also shown as wanting to partake of for our benefit.

Heaven’s plan of salvation is broad enough to embrace the whole world. God longs to breathe into prostrate humanity the breath of life. And He will not permit any soul to be disappointed who is sincere in his longing for something higher and nobler than anything the world can offer. Constantly He is sending His angels to those who, while surrounded by circumstances the most discouraging, pray in faith for some power higher than themselves to take possession of them and bring deliverance and peace. In various ways God will reveal Himself to them and will place them in touch with providences that will establish their confidence in the One who has given Himself a ransom for all, “that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments.” Psalm 78:7. {PK 377.1}

Most of all, as breathing is the strength of the body, so prayer is the strength of the soul. Just as we would struggle to find strength when we hold our breath, so do we struggle to find spiritual strength when we neglect prayer.

While engaged in our daily work, we should lift the soul to heaven in prayer. These silent petitions rise like incense before the throne of grace; and the enemy is baffled. The Christian whose heart is thus stayed upon God cannot be overcome. No evil arts can destroy his peace. All the promises of God’s word, all the power of divine grace, all the resources of Jehovah, are pledged to secure his deliverance. It was thus that Enoch walked with God. And God was with him, a present help in every time of need. {GW 254.2}

Prayer is the breath of the soul. It is the secret of spiritual power. No other means of grace can be substituted, and the health of the soul be preserved. Prayer brings the heart into immediate contact with the Well-spring of life, and strengthens the sinew and muscle of the religious experience. Neglect the exercise of prayer, or engage in prayer spasmodically, now and then, as seems convenient, and you lose your hold on God. The spiritual faculties lose their vitality, the religious experience lacks health and vigor. {GW 254.4}

Path through the trees in Glendalough
Glendalough, Co. Wicklow, Ireland: A sepia toned image of a picturesque path through the trees in the forest park high in th ewicklow mountains

I am learning to breath better, exercising my abdominal muscle, but at the same time, learning to pray and exercise the spiritual muscles of faith. We may be formed of the dust as was Adam, but we need the invigorating breath of God in our Spiritual life to make us living souls. May this be our prayer today and forever:

Luk 11:1  And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples.

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