Cover Image: Breath as Prayer

Breath as Prayer

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I think this is a wonderful reference book for anyone who is looking for prayers that speak to various moments in life. I found a lot of prayers that I bookmarked for myself. Both the art and writing are beautiful
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Having Faith in God

Jennifer Tucker recap the real life event of her daughter being in the hospital, where she recants how she was too worried and stressed and didn't know how to begin to pray. Then she states the only prayer she could recall was the 23rd Psalm.

She states that from that terrible event she came to understand what breath prayers are, those prayers  that combine two powerful tools that can help calm anxiety: the science of deep breathing and prayers of meditation on God’s word. She, also, states that they are:
• Short, mostly one-sentence prayers
• Rooted in Scripture
• Aligned with the rhythm of the breath:first half is prayed while inhaling, second half is prayed while exhaling
• Repeated several times for the purpose of meditating on God’s Word by actively processing the words and reflecting on them
• Mind-FULL: focusing the mind on Christ and filling the mind with His Word
• Directed upward, to God

The author outlines and discusses four basics for breath prayers: 1. Breath, 2. Pray, 3. How and Why they work, and 4. 

Additionally, she categorizes her breath prayers into twelve categories: 
1. Prayers of Trust - Give God your worries & surrender to His will
2. Prayers of Surrender - Know God is always with you
3. Prayers of Help - Depend on God to help you
4. Prayers of Presence - Abide in God’s unfailing love
5. Prayers of Strength - Trust God to strengthen you
6. Prayers of Gratitude - Focus on God’s goodness & give Him thanks
7. Prayers of Love - Turn to God, follow Him & let Him guide your path
8. Prayers of Direction
9. Prayers of Hope - Hold on to hope
10. Prayers of Peace - Experience peace in your soul
11. Prayers of Protection- Rest safely under God's protection
12. Prayers of Repentance - Seek forgiveness & freedom from the weight of sin

The author provides 365 days of breath prayers that are so amazingly scripture based. The pages of artwork inthis book are heavenly. Highly recommend.
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What I love about this book:
*the explanation of the science and reasons that Breath techniques support anxiety.
*the added explanation and teaching on how for one who believes and listens to the Word of God in life, this practice will help calm, focus, and renew your heart, soul, and mind even better when TRUTH is layered in.
*the images and stories to explain how the models of scripture work for the author.

What I wonder about the book:
*I've seen some critical reviews concerned about the 'ew age strategy and not understanding that perhaps meditation is a new age strategy, but the introduction does a great job explaining the science of breath techniques for bugs me that some readers miss that it can be that- and it can be a biblical practice for those of faith- the way God makes our minds work and calm works whether you know Him or not.
*If some will be disturbed by the true focus on this practice for born-again believers and have expected a less specific audience for the book. I can see it being a fit for many individuals who don't believe, but I can see others finding the faith element to be un-relatable instead of refreshing to the reader as it is intended.

I am giving this book 5 stars. Likely for some of the reasons that others gave it fewer stars. I learned of this book because I follow this blogger for her strategies (and since she openly admits that she has mental health struggles) on anxiety and stress overwhelm. I have printed her free resources, laminated them, and shared them with many people.

I loved the intro chapters that talked simply and directly about all the brain-based research on mindset, deep breathing, etc. Having been an avid reader of all things mental health, trauma-informed, neurodiversity, and the Bible for many years now, I found her short and informative chapters shared clearly and simply the reasons that these strategies work based on science. She also shared why she prefers to use her breath to calm anxiety, focus her mind, AND renew her soul. So to her, it made it natural to add scripture and shorten phrases from key verses, to help support the rhythm of her intentional calming breath. So if you too seek the Word of God in your life, you know that only focusing on the truth will really set your mind free.

Some criticize why she doesn't use the direct quote, her examples, etc. But I think they are missing the point of the book, I believe it is a teaching tool to model how breathing for calming anxiety, focusing, and bringing calm and peace to your inner self, fits naturally as a form of prayer. She refers to the fact that some who practice liturgical strategies have done some of this. But as someone who has not been directly exposed to those practices in my local church, I appreciate the modeling and examples she gives.

As a teacher, I recognize that if you want to change the words, or rephrase, feel free. She is doing her thinking aloud (metacognition) for the reader and sharing her story/experience with these phrases and offering that in a written beautiful book since she cannot come to sit next to each of her readers and show them how it works in her life. Her breath prayer examples have been free online as a resource for a few years now, and I believe this work is a response to people wanting more explanation, modeling, and the reasons why this is a healthy restorative practice.

I enjoy her examples, I am stalking my mailbox for the physical copy to arrive, and have a visual to keep out and remind me to use my breath and pray when needed, model it, and support my teens and young adult in adopting this practice for themselves as all of my children have very high anxiety naturally. I look forward to giving away copies to those who want to try it and need this tool for support. It's great for visual and experiential learners in the book format!

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher to review and online advanced copy and share my thoughts.
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I love the topic of breath prayers. In my own life breath prayers got me through long nights as a new mom, long lonely days in the pandemic, and hard days of anxiety. I greatly enjoyed Jennifer Tucker's book. It was laid out in a devotional format with breath prayer practices included in each chapter. When I first picked up the book I thought it was going to be more of a study on how they help, why they help scientifically, and practices explained. It did have informational pieces at the beginning, but was not an information based book. If you are looking for a devotional with breathing exercises, this is a wonderful option.

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC, provided in exchange for an honest review.
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Breath as Prayer is a fresh way of engaging both breath, and prayer. Jennifer Tucker writes with clarity, passion and joy about something that for so many can become dry and painful. Thank you for the renewal.
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This is a beautiful and highly useful book, and would be a lovely gift, especially thoughtful for anyone looking for prayerful ways to help with anxiety. A short introduction and explanation of scripture-based breath prayer is followed by numerous examples, with a page of reflection on a short passage from scripture and a beautifully designed page of the prayer itself with in- and out-breaths. Really special.
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"Breath as Prayer" is a beautiful book with an interesting concept. I like the idea and the layout, but the simplicity of the meditations didn't appeal to me. That being said, I'm open to the idea and I like that Tucker makes the breathing exercises so easy to follow. It's a very accessible book for people who are looking to combine breathing exercises with Christian prayer meditations.
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Given the heightened levels of anxiety that we have been facing the past few years Jennifer provides the reader with tactical ways to incorporate breath prayers into their daily lives.  As you read you will be challenged and encouraged by the prompts for prayer and soul talk.
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This book assisted me in connecting health and spirituality. The guidance was down to earth. The flow of the book was smooth.
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Beautifully illustrates the concepts of breath work and using breathing as a tool for anxiety, stress relief, and better overall health. The prayers-as-breath-work are simple to follow and lovely, but I was a little put off by the way that other religions and beliefs were condescended to.
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As a mother, wife, professor, therapist and photographer it’s safe to say that I suffer from anxiety at times. Devotional and prayer are my go to! I love this book. I’m going to purchase some for friends!
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Breath as Prayer includes an introduction, information on "basics and techniques", and 84 illustrated breath prayers. Each breath prayer is accompanied by a corresponding 1-2 sentence reminder, a verse, and a few paragraphs written in somewhat of a devotional style.

The illustrated breath prayers themselves are the star of the book. I could have completely done without the 40  pages of "intro" and all of the "devos." The writing doesn't shine (I often found myself wanting to skim), but I suppose it makes the book more gift-able with a couple paragraphs alongside each breath prayer. 3.5 for the resource of breath prayers, rounding up to 4 with illustrations.
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Inspiring, helpful, would make a great gift for all Christians. I think it's so important that we as Christians prioritize mental health and actively seeking assistance either from the Lord or a mental health professional and that's what this book does. It provides some great advice and tips and I will definitely carry the lessons learned from this in my day-to-day life.

Thank you Netgalley and Thomas Nelson for the ARC!
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First off, I think some of the criticism has been unwarranted. While the author does attempt to distinguish breath prayer from other forms of breathwork, I really don't think she was denying that breathing practices predate hers, nor trying to say that hers is better: she is simply showing that the focus of breath prayers in particular is different. 

However, I really didn't enjoy this book. I so wanted to! Coming from a christian background in which breath prayers were extremely frowned upon, I was so looking forward to an extensive treatment of the subject. Beyond the introductory chapter, which was often repetitive, there was little else. Even the page showing different forms of breathwork was very short, and could have been expanded upon. Maybe exercises provided? Or even anecdotal or application points made. What this book actually is, is a devotional with a breath prayer added to each entry.

I was excited for this book because I have benefited from Tucker's mental health resources previously, and unfortunately I find this book falls flat. I wasn't looking for a devotional. If i were to hand this to the people who had criticised my practice, I don't think they would come to really see how biblical it can be, and be persuaded to attempt it. 

Tucker's freely available breath prayer printables would be sufficient without the book. 

That being said, it would still be a good fit for others, as other reviews show, and particularly those looking for a devotional resource. And it's pretty to boot.

Thanks to NetGalley for this ARC, provided in exchange for an honest review.
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Beautiful book of prayer and breathwork. It starts with an introduction on breathing techniques, and then is like a devotional as it speaks of that particular scripture. Each theme then has a beautifully illustrated prayer of the scripture to inhale and exhale. 

I loved the book. I loved the style and color and meaning and all the pages that help guide us in prayerful breathwork.

What I didn’t like is the area where the author talked down on other meditation techniques, as if breathwork is pagan. I’ve been meditating for years, and I’m happy to add this book to my repertoire. But I can assure you that meditation or somatic breathwork by clearing your mind is nothing pagan and is a judgment that almost stopped me from reading. The chart was unnecessary part of the book that could turn a lot of people away and honestly leaving out the chart would probably help the author reach many other readers, as well as her intended readers. 

Still, the book was beautiful, the artwork stunning, and the prayers with breath were amazing. It’s a practice I’ll be adding to my daily life and a book I’ll be using as a tool. Thank you to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for allowing me to review.
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As at least one other reviewer noted, the section that tried to differentiate the breath practice discussed in this book from "new-age" traditions, as they were referred to, didn't sit well with me. It felt disingenuous and disrespectful. This book is not inventing that practice, but building on a long-established tradition outside the Christian faith. As the book pointed out, there is science to support the health benefits of breath practices. If the author felt the need to address it, I would have preferred transparency about all this and for the book to be framed as a way to incorporate that into one's Christian faith. 

I would have really liked the book if this element hadn't been included and would likely have bought the book myself. The idea of using scripture in this way, as part of meditation, is really appealing to me and I liked how the book was organized into different themes. 

2.5/5 stars
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An ARC was provided to me by Netgalley, the publisher, and the author Jennifer Tucker for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

You don't even know how much I needed this book right now. I've always struggled with anxiety. I've always had a lot of problems with my health. When I was 3, I had a rare blood disorder that most of the doctors in my small town had never heard of before. They originally thought I had cancer because my blood counts were incredibly low. Thankfully they were able to get me the medicine I needed from another country and have it flown in to help me. I had bruises all over my little body because of the blood count and the medicine was incredibly expensive but God got me through it. 

When I was around 5 I was diagnosed with Epilepsy. I would have small seizures very often that were sometimes undetectable to the naked eye. Every time I had them I would cry after and have a major headache. They made me terrified and miserable. That is when my anxiety started. I was constantly in fear that I would have a seizure and hurt myself or others. I was afraid the kids at school would make fun of me. The fear made the seizures worse. I had a hard time with school. I was smart and had almost perfect grades but I had to miss a lot of school. 

When I was in high school my dad had a massive heart attack. He had some surgeries and God helped him through it. High school was even harder for me. I had to miss more school because of my seizures and because of my dad's health. The teachers were less understanding and I ended up dropping out of school my senior year because they told me I had missed too much and wouldn't graduate. Dad had to quit work because of his heart and mom couldn't pay the bills on her own and I wasn't able to work. We lost our home to foreclosure. We were homeless for a while, staying with my aunt in her 3 bedroom apartment with her, her 3 teenage boys, her son's girlfriend, and their newborn baby and of course the dog. God got us through that and we were able to find a low income apartment. We found an amazing church that felt like home and we loved our church family. One night in 2014 we were at a Wednesday night bible study and I was feeling terrible. I felt like I was going to have a seizure. There were only a few of us there so the pastor turned down the lights a little while everyone sang and prayed to try to help me feel better. Everyone surrounded me and prayed for me. That night was the last night I ever had a seizure. I had lived with them for 17 years and they were gone. God had healed me. It was truly a miracle. I went back to school and got my high school diploma and then started online college at a christian university. Things were looking up. 

It all started going down hill when I ran out of financial aid. I was almost finished with school but I didn't have enough money for the last 7 classes. Then on my birthday in 2019 my dad was diagnosed with stage 4 esophageal cancer. They gave him 6 month to a year to live with treatment. He has fought so hard and he's still fighting. God has really helped him. He originally lost a lot of weight but he's gained a lot back and while he has days that are really hard and he's really sick, he is still here fighting. Thank God!

Last year my mom started getting really sick. She was having major problems with her liver and needed to be put on the transplant list. We were still having money problems so getting her to the specialists she needed to see was impossible. She was in and out of the hospital. She wasn't able to walk and was doing physical therapy to try to keep her legs strong. The end of January she got even sicker and was back in the hospital. Her oxygen kept dropping so they needed to put her on a ventilator. They weren't sure why she was having such a hard time breathing. When they were trying to put the vent in, they called code blue. Before they even called it, I could tell she was gone even from where I was waiting out in the hall. It was the worst feeling I've ever felt. I felt completely empty inside and so sick. They were able to get her heart started back so that the family could all say goodbye because the doctor said she would go quick when they took the vent out. Her lungs were full of pneumonia but she showed no signs of it except for the low oxygen. That was the worst thing that has ever happened to me. My mom was my best friend. She helped me through everything. I feel so alone and lost without her. I'm trying so hard to be strong for my dad and take care of him. I'm so afraid something is going to happen to him too and I will truly be alone. 

Throughout all these things my anxiety has been a constant problem. Even after I stopped having seizures, I was still consumed by fear. What if they come back? What if I still can't do the things that the seizures were stopping me from doing? My anxiety has been even worse since I lost mom. It's so overwhelming. Even though I know God is there for me and that He has saved me and protected me from so many things, I'm still afraid. Afraid of everything. I can't talk to some people, I'm afraid to drive, I hate talking on the phone, being in front of people, terrified of doctors, and constantly worried about my dad. Panic attacks sneak up on me at least once a week and sometimes every single day. 

I've never heard of breath praying before but I hope I am able to utilize it because most of the time during panic attacks I have no words to pray. My brain turns to mush and even though I want to reach out to God, I don't know how. How can I think of the words when I feel like my brain is empty except for a big red neon sign that says "PANIC"? I pray that the tips and tools that are featured in this book can help me calm down and help keep me grounded in God's love. 

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to include my entire life story. I just couldn't stop writing after I started.
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Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for a chance to read an ARC of this book. It is so gorgeous. The art in this book is beautiful and I loved the quotes and images. The concept of breath prayer and using deep breathing exercises to calm your mind and body, and essentially meditate on your connection to your religion, is a lovely concept.
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This is a stunning and must-have resource to help one improve mental health, resiliency, and live a more full and happy life. It is full of great strategies, advice, and easy to implement ideas. This is one I'll return to again and again. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for the advanced copy of the book.
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Breath as Prayer will be a wonderful resource for me long-term and for many readers. It combines my faith-based prayer practice with mindfulness meditation and breath-work. One of the introduction pages was an initial turn-off (referenced somewhat haughtily this book having nothing to do with "Eastern" spirituality or practices--could have used a bit less judgement there as breathwork is largely drawn from Hindu and Buddhist practice and Eastern medicine). I hope most Christians will find themselves open to the health and mental health benefits of collaborating with "Eastern" medicine and breathwork practices. I can see what that caveat was included, it just did not speak positively to me. That aside, this is a GORGEOUS book and a great resource for anyone with anxiety, depression, or the desire to be more mindful and connected to God through prayer. I will certainly be purchasing a hard copy and think it will make a wonderful gift. The sections are organized in a way that easily guides you to what type of prayer you may be needing in that moment.
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