Life, Breath and Breathing

I started my simple bedtime prayers as a kid with “thank you for life, breath and breathing.” It seemed pretty simple back then, maybe too simple as I grew a little older; redundant too – breath and breathing? Should I thank Him for seeing and blinking too? Somewhere in middle or late adolescence the automatic opening was dropped, sometimes the automatic thankfulness too…

Fast forward. Awakening early, mentally running through the day’s to-do list, my mind jumped straight into overdrive. Taking a deep breath, I was suddenly mindful that I had a lot of folks that I wanted to pray for. Family and friends, old and new, were weathering rough seas or reveling in the eye of life’s storms – strokes, heart attacks and recoveries; children with issues, illnesses and triumphs; births and deaths; possible job losses and new careers; emotional struggles; joys and victories – a lot to lift up to Father.

At times like these, it is my nature to figuratively grab a screwdriver and start fixing…”God, please heal, hire, fix, cure, calm and replenish…” Taking a deep breath, two thoughts hit me, thoughts I am certain were directly from The Spirit. The first was to pray and trust at a higher level – God doesn’t really need my advice on how to specifically handle each situation, He only desires my love, concern and intercession for those I pray for. I am learning to pray more for His peace, presence and acceptance of His will to be experienced and less for the specific outcomes that I think I or they want.

The second, simultaneous thought was to thank Him. Like the handyman who too quickly fixes before fully assessing the problem, I jump in to asking and fixing before thanking Father for all that He has already done, is doing, and will do. With this thought, the old prayer bubbled up to my lips, “thank you for life, breath and breathing…”

Where did that come from? I had pulled out some old favorite ‘70’s CD’s recently (okay they were vinyl or cassettes back then, but its “still the same” music – Bob Seger in case you missed it!). Was this a related flashback? Initially embarrassed, thinking this was a childish and nonsensical opening to prayer, I couldn’t get it out of my mind, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense – be thankful for the basic stuff. Be thankful for being alive, for the next breath, for the simple miracle of breathing. I could stop doing nearly every other function or activity of life for a few minutes, or much longer, with little or no effect, but breathing means life. What better or more important thing to thank God for?

“If you take care of the small things, the big things take care of themselves. You can gain more control over your life by paying closer attention to the little things.” Emily Dickinson

I think that goes for living our life for God too. Take care of the little things and trust Him to take care of the big ones. But thank Him for both, maybe even more so for the little, everyday ones; they just may be the bigger miracle.


  1. Amen…

  2. My child’s prayer started with “now i lay me down to sleep..” i still start my bedtime prayer that way and many times have thought that it is so….childish. It is a habit and maybe even a compulsion after all these years of doing it. Like you, I also want to pray for fixes, after reciting my little child’s poem/prayer. I want to fix our planet problems, like pollution and I want to fix our political problems, like greed, but from this blog – i hear the truth. God does not really need my advise on how to fix the world, He just wants my connection and my love in action, for all He has created, and my gratitude. Thanks God!

    • Tom Hauser says:

      Thanks Sara, you summed it all up, “He just wants my connection…” It’s all about the relationship, everything else follows or is of lessor importance.