Breathing in and out

21 Jul

Recently my wife and I took a trip to Seattle, Washington. We were in the Northwest for a Vineyard leadership conference and took a couple extra days on the front end of the trip to spend some time together.

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The Seattle area is one my favorite places on the face of the earth. I spent much of my childhood in and around Seattle and in many ways it feels like home.

We took the ferry to Bainbridge Island. This simple 35 minute boat ride is always one of the highlights of a trip to Seattle (for a longer trip head north to Anacortes and visit Orcas or San Juan Island).

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Since I was a child, I have a simple practice that I do during these ferry rides. I stand as far forward as I can, close my eyes, breathe in through my nose and then out through my mouth. The cold coastal air is invigorating and filled with the smells of my childhood. After I came to faith in Jesus, this practice has become a sacred time of prayer and communion in the midst of God’s creation. I love it. There’s nothing like it.

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My simple childhood discovery is not unlike the ancient practice of “breath prayers”. The idea is simple. You choose a short phrase, something like “Holy Spirit, do Your work in me” or “Lord Jesus, have mercy” praying the first half of the phrase as you breathe in and the second half as you breathe out. Simple, yet profound. For me, the addition of this beautiful and familiar setting has made this practice all the more powerful.

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The refrain for my song “Peace” is another example of this “breath prayer” concept. I found myself praying the following lyrics from the song while on this recent trip:

Breathe in peace, breathe out strife

Breath out death, breathe in life

Breathe in love, breathe out hate

Breathe out fear, breathe in faith

While writing this song, I had the sense that God would actively use this refrain to break the power of anxiety, fear, and shame over people, especially those who struggle with night terrors and insomnia. I know it’s been a powerful tool in my life. I pray that God continues to use these simple words to bring life and freedom to many.

Breathe in, breathe out…

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11 Responses to “Breathing in and out”

  1. Wedgwood in Seattle History July 21, 2012 at 3:15 pm #

    Cool air in Seattle again today, I’m breathing in and out.

  2. Madison DuPree July 23, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    I’ve never been to Seattle but this is certainly on my to-do list now :) Great post.

  3. caseycorum July 23, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    Madison, you would love it. You might find it hard to leave.

  4. caseycorum July 23, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Wedgewood, I’m jealous!

  5. Rachel Blanke July 23, 2012 at 7:22 pm #

    I had to do some breathing like that today. It was something along the lines of, “Give me patience” mixed with “God help me not hit a kid.”

  6. Tim Wheeler July 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

    Where can I hear this song? Looked on google, spotify, itunes, and vineyardmusic.com and couldn’t find it. The lyrics sound awesome.

  7. caseycorum July 23, 2012 at 8:28 pm #

    Tim, it will be released next month! :)

  8. Blaine Motsinger June 8, 2013 at 4:43 am #

    I’m very glad you wrote this song, Casey :)

  9. caseycorum June 8, 2013 at 12:37 pm #

    Thanks Blaine!!

  10. Meg Moran November 27, 2013 at 6:09 pm #

    I have been fortunate enough to hear you do this song when you lead worship at Vineyard Anaheim. It fills me with the Holy Spirit and releases every worry and fear. I always hope it will be included in Sunday worship

  11. caseycorum November 27, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

    Thanks for the note Meg. We’re playing a medley with Peace and Silent Night this weekend. :)

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