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Dear Easter People,

We are currently in our worship series “Life’s Highs and Lows,” based on the Psalms. Each week, we explore a different landscape image from a psalm and how it connects to God and the human experience. Last week’s service was about the mountains in Psalm 121, which you can view online here. This Sunday we’ll unpack the beauty of Psalm 23. By the time the series is over, we will ponder moments in our lives that are like deserts, skies, rivers, and roads.

This journey through the Psalms would not feel complete without some acknowledgment of Psalm 46. It contains the often-quoted verse 10, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

It is a verse that is quite conducive to a special form of prayer called the “breath prayer,” practiced by Christian mystics for generations. In her book Paths to Prayer: Finding Your Own Way to the Presence of God, Patricia Brown shares one way to practice breath prayer based on this psalm.

It involves inhaling and exhaling for counts of five, along with holding one’s breath for a few seconds between each exhale and inhale. Momentarily holding your breath allows for a slight build-up of carbon dioxide which helps relieve anxiety and stress. Patricia Brown also notes that in those satisfying moments of taking in a full breath, Christian mystics believed that the Spirit of God is most fully recognized. Holding that full, beautiful breath for a few seconds can be an act of resonance with God’s presence.

In January 2020, Patricia Brown provided a workshop for our entire church leadership, and she led us in this guided exercise, based on Psalm 46:10, which I invite you to experience now:


Sit with you back straight and your palms on your lap, face up or down, with your feet flat on the floor.

Close your eyes.

Remember in this moment that God holds you in a loving presence, just as water filling every nook and cranny.

Now, slowly count to five, taking in a deep breath: (1…2…3…4…5) and hold that breath in for a second or two. This is the place where the mystics say God dwells.

Now begin to exhale slowly (1…2…3…4…5) and hold for a few seconds.

Continue that pattern of silent breathing, counting to five with each inhale and exhale, holding a pause in between.

Patricia Brown then read each of the following lines, slowly, with enough time in between for people to take their five counts of inhaling, exhaling, and holding.

Be still, and know that I am God… (inhale, pause, exhale, pause)

Be still, and know that I am… (inhale, pause, exhale, pause)

Be still, and know… (inhale, pause, exhale, pause)

Be still… (inhale, pause, exhale, pause)

Be… (inhale, pause, exhale, pause)


Now gently, slowly open your eyes.

How are you feeling? As the spirit releases you from this time of breath prayer, carry its calm awareness with you as you move on with your day.

I hope that you will find moments during this Easter season to practice the sacred act of breath prayer, giving thanks for the presence of God that is as close to you as your own breath.

Grace and Peace,

The Rev. Magrey deVega
Senior Pastor, Hyde Park United Methodist


As I finish my preparations for General Conference from April 23 to May 3, I will be taking a break from writing the Midweek Message until mid-May. I may share a special pastoral word if the need arises from the events of General Conference. As always, keep up with all the exciting things happening at Hyde Park United Methodist on our website.