In this season of uncertainty, one thing is certain. Jesus is alive and the only answer for our time. His death and resurrection prove he was who he said he was and that everything he said was true. Through the power of his Spirit, Jesus is with us. He is our help and our hope. Whatever concerns we may have or circumstances we may find ourselves in, Jesus invites us to come to him, breathe, and embrace his words: I AM.
Dear Covenant Friends:
We invite you to join with us in prayer through our 2021 Week of Prayer resource, Breathe Together.
For more than 60 years, the Evangelical Covenant Church has provided materials for a week of prayer during the month of January. Whether you choose to use this resource at the beginning of the year or later, it will both challenge and equip disciples of Jesus to live a life of prayer and continually seek new ways to develop this life-giving practice. This year’s Week of Prayer theme is “Breathe Together” and is authored by Covenant pastor Tammy Long.
The Week of Prayer can be used by individuals or groups, over one week or over the course of seven weeks. Each day/week of the resource includes reflection, an image, and breath prayer prompts. We encourage you to use these as starting points. Feel free to customize the resource for your context, adding your own prompts to further enhance the discussion and enrich your time of prayer.
Guides are available for download in both English and Spanish or follow the reading plan below. If you have questions, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Making Disciples Together,
MAKE AND DEEPEN DISCIPLES
As we enter into this week of prayer, each day focuses on one of Jesus’s I AM statements with reflection questions to draw us closer to Jesus and listen to what he may being saying to us about who he is, who we are, and how he is inviting us to respond to his nudging.
A guided breath prayer and an image for visio divina are included to provide sacred space for us to be still with Jesus around each day’s I AM prayer.
ABOUT BREATH PRAYERS
Nothing is more refreshing than a deep breath to refresh and calm the body, mind, and spirit. When prayer is added to this practice, we create a holy moment where we can become aware of how close God is to us.
Followers of Christ have been saying breath prayers for centuries. These prayers turn our hearts and minds toward God, allowing him to restore our souls in a moment of meditation or petition.
To practice breath prayer, breathe in as you whisper the first part of a phrase or verse (or silently say it in your head), then breathe out as you whisper the rest of the phrase or verse.
- SPEAK, LORD (inhale) ... your servant is listening (exhale)
- JESUS SON OF GOD (inhale) ... have mercy on me (exhale)
- I AM ANXIOUS (inhale) ... but my trust is in you (exhale)
ABOUT VISIO DIVINA
Visio divina, or “sacred seeing,” is another prayer practice that has been around for centuries. It involves allowing our hearts, minds, and imaginations to prayerfully enter into an image to see what God may stir or wish to say to us.
The steps for this practice are simply:
• Open your heart and mind, and ask God to guide your experience.
• Take a first look at the image.— Notice what you notice, what stirs within you.
• Take a second look and look more deeply.— What do you notice about your reactions? What draws you?What repels you? What intrigues you? What emotions are stirred?
• Reflect on or journal what has surfaced for you before God.
• Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you as you consider what God maybe saying to you.— Is there an invitation or something you wish to say to God?
• Thank God for your time together.
Tammy Long is co-lead pastor of South Bay Community Church in Fremont, California.
She is an ordained minister with the Evangelical Covenant Church, a trained spiritual director, and a writer. She has a master’s degree in education from Cal State East Bay and a master’s degree in Christian formation from North Park Theological Seminary.
Tammy is passionate about seeing people connect with God and grow deeper in love with the Trinity, both individually and in community. Whether through preaching, teaching, spiritual direction, facilitating a small group, or leading a retreat, Tammy finds her deepest joy in walking alongside others as they draw closer to the heart of God to experience spiritual transformation.
She enjoys reading, movies, traveling, yoga, being in nature, and spending time with her husband, adult children, and grandchildren.