Skip to content


I have been struck by the importance of breathing recently. I know that sounds a bit odd and obvious. The news has been full of people struggling to breathe because of Covid-19. 

At the moment exhalation is seen as a big risk. In the UK churches are being stopped from re-opening, one main reason being when people sing they exhale and the virus is spread more prolifically. I have regular hospital appointments at the moment and recently was given a mask to wear so I didn’t exhale on the consultant and potentially spread the virus. People have to adhere to strict 2m social distancing rules so that they don’t breathe the virus onto each other. 

In the gospels, a number of times it is mentioned that Jesus breathed and amazing things happened. Jesus breathed, and people were healed (Mark 5:41). Jesus breathed. and storms were calmed (Matthew 8:26). Jesus breathed, and the disciples received the Holy Spirit (John 20:22). C. S. Lewis speaks of Jesus in mere Christianity as the carrier of a good infection, he says: “One of our own race has this new life: if we get close to Him we shall catch it from Him.”

Edwin Hatch, in his hymn of 1878, invites us to pray with him:

Breathe on me breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love as you have loved,
And do as you would do

Breathe on me breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until my will is one with yours,
To do and to endure.
Breathe on me breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with you the perfect life,
For all eternity.

How different is the sentiment of this hymn compared to the current panic around breathing on people! The breath of God is life giving, cleansing and pure. It enables us to go and live as everyday missionaries in the world. 

I am NOT encouraging us to go out and breathe on people. But I do challenge you to consider the importance of God breathing on us. God’s breath contains something infectious but it isn’t a virus, it is hope and peace and power to go and show his love in practical ways, to live as a servant of others and to develop our spiritual gifts. 

We need to be close enough to God that we can be infected by his breath in the knowledge that it can have a huge impact in our lives and the lives of those around us.

Rachel is the Prayer Coordinator for the Inspire Movement. If you would like to share your own reflections, answer to prayer or prayer requests, you can contact Rachel at: [email protected]

error: Content is protected !!