Breath as Prayer
Calm Your Anxiety, Focus Your Mind, and Renew Your Soul
by Jennifer Tucker
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Pub Date 13 Sep 2022 | Archive Date 01 Nov 2022
Thomas Nelson and Zondervan Gift, Thomas Nelson
Find hope amid anxiety through the spiritual practice of breath prayer in this beautifully illustrated and practical guide to connecting body, mind, and spirit during times of stress.
Breath as Prayer will lead you through the practice and the proven health benefits of Christian breath prayer: intentional prayers centered around Scripture that focus our minds on Christ as we calm our bodies through breathing.
Breath as Prayer offers:
- More than 80 breath prayers focused on Scripture, along with brief meditations
- Gorgeous original full-color illustrations
- A quick-start how-to guide to refer to as needed
- Guidance on how to implement a breath prayer practice
- The science behind breath work and prayer and why it works
- An invitation to reflect on the effect of breath prayers on your body
With a beautiful foil-accented cover, Breath as Prayer is an ideal gift for:
- Anyone experiencing stress, anxiety, or fear
- Grief and anxiety support groups
- Prayer groups and prayer ministries
- Men and women looking for new avenues for connecting with God
- Teens and young adults dealing with stress and anxiety
- Adult baptism and confirmation
God created our bodies, minds, and spirits to be intimately connected with one another. Purpose-filled breathing is one of the most effective, calming ways to integrate all aspects of who we are, especially during times of intense stress. Breath as Prayer invites you to the crossroads of Christian contemplative practice, Scripture, psychology, and science to deepen your faith, bring peace to your body, and discover a new reliance on Christ.
Breathe deeply, lean into God's Word, and discover why every breath can be an invitation to pray.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 24 members
Breath as Prayer is a beautifully illustrated and written book that brings the somatic teachings of breathwork and the power of scripture together. I found the concept of prayer in combination with breathwork to be not only fascinating but a beautiful way to worship. Tucker does a beautiful job of tying in the scientific basis with the truth of scripture as well as presenting a grounded perspective of the practice in terms of how while it can be an aide, it isn't an easy-fix method for anxiety disorders or other mental health issues. I truly appreciated the respect and responsibility that she displayed when explaining the method!
My only critique of an otherwise beautiful book was in the beginning chapters where Tucker claims that breath prayers are different than that of the breathwork of "mystic meditation on a mountainside" or "new age practices." I wish rather than disparaging what are clearly the roots of the practice that the author had developed, that she honored and credited the true origins. I understand that this was likely done to build trust with a skeptic Christian audience, but...it didn't sit well with me. Frankly, if not for this aspect of the book, it would easily be a 4 or 5-star read.
I also wish that in some places the author used more exact scripture in the prayers she suggests rather than paraphrasing - there are a few where the length of the specific verse makes it necessary, but other prayers could easily use the original verse. Still, I enjoyed using the verses she selected as inspiration and adapting them to my preference.
In my opinion, this book is best suited for hardcover to save as a physical reference rather than an eBook, so I will be purchasing it for myself in a different format than the one that I reviewed. The illustrations throughout the book are gorgeous and I am certain they would be beautiful in print.
I received a free digital copy of this. book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It took me a while to read the arc provided by Thomas Nelson publisher (thank you, by the way) beacuse of the file format, but When I finally did, I was completely in awe of this book. The construction of it is stunning! Really, every page is so comforting, specially to someone who has to deal with life and its anxieties . The art of take every breath as a prayer is curiously plausible and from easy practicing the word of God in moments When We can't find the words to pray. Altough it's not presented as a solution to the problem like Anxiety disorder (I, for example have to deal with it daily), It surely can help Us to practicing set Our minds on the important thoughts iwhen Our emotions are trying to get Us overwhelmed by worry and pain. I loved a lot the idea, and Hope to get my copy edition whent it's released. Well done!
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.
This book assisted me in connecting health and spirituality. The guidance was down to earth. The flow of the book was smooth.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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 anxiety-.it 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.
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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