My experience with the breath prayer was one of several stories Ron DelBene included in later editions of his first book, The Breath of Life. I’m “Alex” in a paragraph from page 103:
While showering one morning at a weekend retreat . . . I prayed, “Father, radiate your love through me.” The new prayer had a dual focus: to receive God’s love … and to be a vessel for radiating God’s love outwardly. I prayed this prayer from October 1981 until May 1991. … I was at a camp for a five-day session on spiritual formation. After a lecture we were asked to spend an hour reflecting on John 15. I sat in the chapel looking at a picture of Jesus. The word “abide” … converged with the large, inviting hand of Jesus in the picture to prompt another breath prayer: “Jesus, abide in me.” For five months, this was my prayer. … I began to note … a shift in the prayer. Now, I pray, “Jesus, keep me simple.”
I wrote those words almost 30 years ago, and “Jesus, keep me simple” is still my prayer. Sometimes, a situation may prompt one of the earlier prayers. A few weeks ago, I was helping a relative through a difficult time and I found myself praying, “Father, radiate your love through me.”
I’ll conclude this excursion tomorrow with what may seem to be a non-religious understanding of prayer and its importance for the planet.