This past Sunday we focused on the Hebrew word “ruach” in our last week of our sermon series Words to Live By. In this series, we have focused on five different key words in the Christian faith. Words that have the capacity to completely transform us if we believe and live them.
In our society, where busyness is a measure of success and where we are entering into the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season, the call to remember to breath becomes increasingly difficult. This Hebrew word “ruach” is one of the most intriguing words in the Bible. This word means spirit, wind, and breath. We often hear the comparison of spirit and wind as interchangeable words. We talk about the spirit is like wind- we can’t physically see the wind but we see the effects of the wind as it rustles the leaves in the trees and blows our hair back on chilly days. Throughout Psalm 139, the psalmist reflects how there is no place the psalmist goes where God is not present. The psalmist writes, if I go up to heaven, you are there, and I go down to the place of the dead, you are there too. Even in place of darkness and desolation, God is there. God’s Spirit is like wind, it is all around us. But have you ever pondered that God’s Spirit is not only like the wind all around us but is also in our very breath. What if God’s Spirit was not only as close as right beside us, in front of us, or behind us, what if God was as close to us as the very breath we breathe? Our breath serves a reminder of God’s closeness and that God’s Spirit is not only all around us but also within us.
For centuries, monks and church leaders have used a simple practice of attentive breathing called the breath prayer to draw close to God. A breath prayer is a simple statement that you pray as you breathe in and out. Some examples of breath prayers include “Jesus loves me this I know,” “Breathe in the Holy Spirit, breathe out the stresses of this life,” and “God, let me find your peace.” In moments of anxiety or fear, a breath prayer can be a helpful tool to remember God’s presence with you and inside of you.
Another theme in Psalm 139 a prayer of thanksgiving, where the author says, “Thank you God for me.” The author praises God for fearfully and wonderfully making him/her. When God created humanity, God called us “very good.” When you begin to feel insecure about your worth and value, remember that you are not a mistake, you are fearfully and wonderfully made by God! When you give God thanks, do not forget to thank God for the gift of you.
Questions to Consider and Discuss:
Consider that God’s Spirit is in the very breath you breathe. How does that make you feel?
Psalm 139 affirms that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. In what area(s) of your life do you need to remind yourself of that truth?
Monday- Psalm 139:1-12
Tuesday- Psalm 139:13-24
Wednesday- Genesis 1:1-13
Thursday- Genesis 1:14-31
Friday- Genesis 2:1-7