This Is the Air I Breathe

Today is Friday, the twenty-fourth of June, 2022, in the twelfth week of Ordinary Time.

May the peace of Christ be with you today!

Day 23,479

I got up early, this morning, because I wanted to get a look at the planet alignment that is going on, right now. I didn’t get a great view, this morning, as it was almost too light out, but I did see Venus, the Moon, and Jupiter. So, right now, we have Mercury, Venus, Uranus, the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter all in a straight line. Saturn is up there, too, but couldn’t be bothered to get in line with the rest. Hah! I could see Jupiter and Venus with the naked eye, but not the rest. As I said, it was a little too close to sunrise. I was unable to get a bead on Jupiter with my telescope, but did get a decent view of the crescent moon.

I had a pretty good day at the library, yesterday. There were a few challenges, and I had to consult my manager a couple of times, but it all went well. I’ll be back at the library tomorrow morning, for a Saturday in the circulation department.

Okay. Time to get on with things.


Lord our God, we lift our hearts to you, our help in every need. You do so much for us even in difficult times, letting us always see your light and giving us your help in the many things you want us to bear in your strength, O Almighty God. In the end you will help our age come to your light. Through your great mercy let us receive your Word. Bless it within our hearts, and help us to serve you everywhere we go and in everything we are allowed to do. Amen.
(Daily Prayer from
I lift up my eyes to you, to you who sit enthroned in heaven. 
As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, 
as the eyes of a female slave look to the hand of her mistress, 
so our eyes look to the LORD our God, 
till he shows us his mercy.
(Psalms 123:1-2 NIV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the beauty of the night sky, especially on days like these, when planets are aligned
2. for the mercy of God in giving us His Word
3. for the breath of life, breathed into me daily by the Lord (I'm alive and breathing)
4. that there is no need to worry about tomorrow, for God is already there
5. that God never changes and, having Him, I lack nothing

And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’ You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”
(Mark 7:6-8 ESV)

Today’s word, in Pray a Word a Day, is breathe. Thich Nhat, a Buddhist monk, is quoted as saying, “Breathe in deeply to bring your mind home to your body.”

There will most certainly be some folks who will “lose their minds” because a “Christian” devotional book included a quote from a Buddhist monk about breathing. If you’re one of those people, just scroll on, please.

One of the things that we, as a society, have forgotten how to do is breathe. Obviously, no one really “forgets” to breathe, because that is something we do naturally. Fortunately, the Lord created us with that as a kind of automatic thing. Imagine, if we had to remember to breathe, we would never get anything else done. But we aren’t talking about the natural thing that happens anywhere from 12 to 20 times a minute, for most people.

We’re talking more about how we breathe. We get so stressed out over so many little things, so many “first-world problems,” or, as I have called them in the past, “footstool” problems, that we forget to stop and take a breath for ourselves.

“When that deep pain in my chest starts to rise, for a moment I pause in confusion. What’s going on? Why am I feeling this way? The answer is simple. I didn’t take a breath. I’d let anxiety and stress take over.”

A little over a year ago, I read a book, called Breathe Well, in which the author was of the opinion that we, in the West, have forgotten how to breathe properly. A major cause of this is anxiety, and it begins about the time we start school. The author also believes that technology has hindered our breathing. No surprise, there, right? You can read my review of the book, if you are so inclined, as I have linked it with the title.

While there are certainly aspects of easter religions, such as Buddhism, that we might not want to embrace, we could benefit well from their practices of breathing. When things aren’t going the way we think they should, “Step back. Breathe. Inhale and exhale.” We’ll feel better.

And, in addition, there is certainly no harm in “breathing” a prayer in the process. The Jesus Prayer, for example. “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Breathe in: “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God.” Breathe out: “Have mercy on me, a sinner.” Repeat as needed. I have found that practice to be most beneficial.

After all, what is it that made the first man a “living person?” It was breath.

Then the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.
(Genesis 2:7 NLT)

Father, when anxiety threatens me, when fear knocks at the door of my heart, help me remember to just breathe, to breathe in the breath of Your life and remember that You are in control of all things. When opinions threaten my well-being, or my relationships with others, help me to remember to “Breathe deep the breath of God.”

You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus.
(Philippians 4:19 MSG)

Another reason for us to breathe is that, when it comes to our worries and fears about tomorrow or next week or next month or next year . . . God is already there. I wrote about this a few days ago, and it seems to be an ongoing thread, lately. It’s almost as if God is trying to tell me something. It also makes me worry wonder if things are going to get worse in this country. Like, is God trying to prepare me for something?

But, yeah, since God exists outside of time, as we understand it, whatever future events I’m worried about, God is already there, waiting for me. He’s letting me know that, as Julian of Norwich famously said, “All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” Then, there is also the prayer of St. Teresa of Avila.

Let nothing disturb you,
let nothing frighten you,
all things will pass away.
God never changes;
patience obtains all things,
whoever has God lacks nothing.
God alone suffices.

(St. Teresa of Avila)

“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!”
(Matthew 6:7-8 NLT)

Breathe deep

How I praise the Lord that you are concerned about me again. I know you have always been concerned for me, but you didn’t have the chance to help me. Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
(Philippians 4:10-13 NLT)

Breathe deep the breath of God

And the city has no need of sun or moon, for the glory of God illuminates the city, and the Lamb is its light. The nations will walk in its light, and the kings of the world will enter the city in all their glory. Its gates will never be closed at the end of day because there is no night there.
(Revelation 21:23-25 NLT)

Breathe deep

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand.
(Isaiah 41:10 NLT)

Breathe deep the breath of God

Father, truly we are blessed. Truthfully, having You, I lack nothing, and You are unchanging. You are not a man that You should lie or change Your mind. Humanity is fickle, ever self-seeking and self-centered. You are constant.

It is so very tempting to worry during these days. The world has been dragged through some deep darkness over the past couple of years, and there doesn’t seem to be any light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, just yet. Unless, of course, we can manage to keep our eyes focused on You, in which case, all we can see is light.

I will not allow myself to be worried. There will, no doubt, be temporary periods where I will forget myself, and, for a moment, lost sight of Your control over everything. But You will, also no doubt, restore that sight and renew my faith and remind me that I have nothing to fear. I pray that we who follow Christ, who truly follow Him, will be able to spread the Gospel of peace and love to the world around us. Help us to follow the commands of Jesus, to love You with all our being, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.

All glory to You, through the Son and by the Spirit.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

Even so, come soon, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends.

Name the Road for Its Destination

Today is Thursday (Pre-Friday), the fourth of February, 2021.

Peace be with you!

Day 22,974

Yesterday was one of those challenging work days; I’m sure you know the kind, unless you don’t work anywhere. It just seemed like the demands never stopped, all day long. I did get a lot accomplished, but it sure didn’t seem like it, because I was further behind at the end of the day. Sometimes, you just have to stop and breathe, and I need to remember to do that better today.

It was a beautiful day, outside, yesterday, so C took one of her outdoor walks. I don’t think she’s done that but a couple times since we got the treadmill. I did not walk on the treadmill last night, and may not tonight, depending on what we do for dinner. My general rule for weeknights is that, if we cook something after I get home (stir-fry or the Pecan-crusted chicken), I won’t exercise, because it is too late, by the time we get through eating. Unless it’s Friday night. In which case, it doesn’t really matter.

Winter is coming. Looking at next week’s forecast, I see multiple days with lows in the twenties and highs that don’t get out of the thirties. Ugh. This, too, shall pass.


Won’t you revive us again, so your people can rejoice in you?
(Psalms 85:6 NLT)

Today I am grateful:

  • For the nice weather before Winter sets in
  • For the strength I get from You, without which I would fail in so many areas
  • For the model of prayer that Jesus gave us
  • For the Lord’s forgiveness when we acknowledge our sin
  • For this road I travel

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year



How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth!
I gain understanding from your precepts; therefore I hate every wrong path.
(Psalms 119:103-104 NIV)


Of David. A maskil.

Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.
Blessed is the one whose sin the LORD does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.

When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night your hand was heavy on me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer.

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
(Psalms 32:1-5 NIV)


“This, then, is how you should pray:
“‘Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.’
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.
“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
(Matthew 6:9-18 NIV)


There is something about confession, even if it is just to the Lord. Obviously, we cannot hide anything from God, and I believe that most of us realize this.

But we still try, sometimes, don’t we? Or maybe we are trying to hide our sin from ourselves, by just ignoring it. Maybe if I ignore it, this feeling of guilt will go away.

But it won’t, and the psalmist has recognized this. “When I kept silent, my bones wasted away.” I would imagine that most of us know this feeling. It’s horrible; debilitating; almost impossible to function on any level of life.

But then? “I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. And you forgave the guilt of my sin.”


“This, then, is how you should pray,” says Jesus.

And while we often repeat the words verbatim, I don’t believe that He means that we should pray exactly this prayer. There is nothing wrong with repeating this prayer, especially if my heart is involved and I mean the words when I speak or think them. You know . . . not vain repetition that He mentioned in yesterday’s passage.

One of the things that our previous pastor taught us, and I still hold on to this, was how to pray around a “hexagon” shape, using the six main pieces of the Lord’s Prayer.

We begin by praying about the Father’s character: Hallowed be Your Name. Then we pray for His Kingdom: Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. This is a powerful prayer. “Your will be done” is the safest prayer anyone could ever pray. If you can’t think of anything else to pray, you can’t be wrong if you pray that. Then we pray for the Father’s provision: Give us our daily bread; just enough for today. Don’t ask for tomorrow’s bread. You don’t need that, yet. Then we pray for the Father’s forgiveness, but be careful with this one. There are dangerous warnings included, here. We follow that with the Father’s guidance: Lead us not into temptation. And we finish with the Father’s protection: Deliver us from evil (or the evil one).

The tag that is added in later manuscripts is certainly worthy, and I always include it.

For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

As far as “formulas” for prayer go, this one is by far my favorite, because it is straight out of Scripture.

But just like Jesus taught us in yesterday’s passage, and like He teaches about fasting in the passage for today, we should be careful about doing this publicly, in order to be seen, or to impress folks. It’s an easy trap into which to fall. Many people won’t even pray out loud in public because of Jesus’s warnings. I don’t think that’s what He was after, but that’s fine, too. To each his own, right? Motivation is the key. Why are you doing it?

Father, I thank You for this prayer that Jesus gave us. I have loved it dearly for many years, now. There have been periods of my life where I prayed it earnestly, several times a day. And I have used it as a model for my own prayers, fairly consistently. I feel inspired, today, to return to this practice, as I have drifted away from it. Help me to renew and refresh my prayer life. I pray frequently, but often just at the prompt of others who send me prayer requests. It needs to be more of a regular part of my life. Kind of like breathing, you know?

"Listening God,
thank you that I can bring
all of my life,
my deepest desires,
to you in prayer.
Don't let my prayers and devotion
become a religious show;
keep me honest and true,
full of gratitude for your mercy.
(Westminster Shorter Catechism 98)


Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.
(Psalms 25:4-5 NIV)

the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
(Psalms 121:8 NIV)

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
This I declare about the LORD: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.
For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease.
He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.
Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor the arrow that flies in the day.
Do not dread the disease that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday.
Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you.
Just open your eyes, and see how the wicked are punished.
If you make the LORD your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your home.
For he will order his angels to protect you wherever you go.
They will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.
You will trample upon lions and cobras; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
The LORD says, “I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will reward them with a long life and give them my salvation.”
(Psalms 91:1-16 NLT)

The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.
The sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon at night.
The LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life.
The LORD keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.
(Psalms 121:5-8 NLT)

What powerful words!! Psalm 91 has long been a favorite of mine. Today, the message I receive from this is that we need to believe in God’s protection rather than believing in our fears.

Consider the road you are on in your life. What would you call it? If you were asked to name that road, what would its name be?

In the land of Zion, roads are named after their destination. “The Road to Bethlehem, the Damascus Road, the Road to Emmaus,” and so on.

“In the journey of your life, you will find the road to be at times rocky, at times smooth, harder, easier, dangerous, pleasant, unbearable, joyful. But you must never make the mistake of judging your road or your life by what it looks like or feels like. A pleasant road may lead to a cliff. And a hard and rocky road may lead to the Holy City. A pleasant way may lead to hell, and a hard way may lead to blessing and eternal life. Always look to the end of your course, to where it’s taking you. And if you’re on the right road, don’t get discouraged by the terrain. Never give up. Keep pressing forward to your destination. Because it is the end that matters most. And your road, and the journey of your life, will not be known by its terrain, but by the place to which it brought you.”

The Mission: Today, take your eyes off your circumstances, and focus only on your destination. Press on to the good, the highest, and the heavenly.”

“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.
(Matthew 7:13-14 NLT)

I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
(Philippians 3:12-14 NLT)

Father, I praise You for this road I am on. I thank You that, as far as I can tell, at this moment, I am on the right road that leads me to You. Help me to stay on this path, and when I deviate, bring me back quickly. May I not focus my eyes or heart on the terrain or appearance of the road, but keep my heart focused on the destination, on those things above, because my life is hidden in You.

Father, thank You for Your protection over my life and the lives of those whom I love. While this does not mean that we will have no pain or struggles, it still gives me great comfort to trust in Your protection, rather than focusing on my fears. Thank You, Lord!

Lord, I pray for Your blessing on people who work in occupations where they care for Your creation. I lift up human efforts for conservation and energy technologies. Make us better stewards of the natural resources You have provided for us.

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.