“Please pray. We heard gunshots in the village. Some are going to respond.”
The message arrived late at night as I rocked my daughter—an infant at the time—in the nursery. All around us, the house was dark and still, my husband and other children sleeping peacefully.
When the notification lit the screen, it stole my breath and sparked a surge of fear. Half a world away, my dear friend had sent the urgent message to a group of us praying for her as she journeyed to help others in a war-torn Middle Eastern country. As I read her message, I immediately began what felt like an endless litany of unceasing prayer: Jesus, be near.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 reminds us to “Never stop praying” (NLT). In the busy pace of life, that can sometimes feel like a daunting task. Yet when we utilize something like breath prayers, we can connect with God. Like other prayers, breath prayers are personal. However, they are also short—usually just six to eight syllables, a short sentence or phrase we can repeat easily.
Be near (exhale)
That night, I couldn’t manage more than those three words. But as the minutes ticked on, I felt peace steal through my body. My heart began to slow and my panic started to recede. Although my concern for my friend didn’t disappear, the breath prayer was a reminder that not only does God see and hear us, He cares—for me, and for my friend.
I’m glad to say my friend’s situation was resolved without further violence. But I’m grateful for God’s comforting presence in helping calm my fears.
If you are fearful, worried, tired, or in need of comfort today, remember that God is only a quick prayer—and a breath—away. He is near. We are loved.