Y – H – W – H

Written by on July 29, 2021

She had to get some air. It was the same thing every year; Pen’s cutting remarks thinly veiled in a false air of concern causing Hannah to cry and push her plate away. How was it that this hateful woman was granted such a fertile womb while Hannah begged the Lord for even one son?

As soon as the meal was finished, Hannah walked to the temple, barely able to keep her emotions in check. Collapsing to her knees, she could only groan as she mouthed the familiar prayer that could not get past her throat. Her tired, bitter soul emptied in ragged breaths before the LORD as she fought to hang on to hope.



Moses once asked God what His name was, “I AM” or, “YHWH” in Hebrew, was the answer. The ancient Jews considered it so sacred that they wouldn’t pronounce it aloud, therefore no vowels were inserted in the text. The Hebrew (and English) letters, if spoken, create an exhaling of the breath.

Consider the words of Rabbi Arthur Waskow, “The real Name is BEYOND pronunciation unless you consider breathing pronunciation. The notion of YHWH as ‘the Breath of Life’ accords with a deep sense of God as intimate…”

Imagine the implication of speaking the very name of God with every breath! Even those who reject Him say His name 22,000 times a day! This enriches the idea that the Holy Spirit intercedes for us with/through groanings (stenagmos which can also be translated sighs).

So how do we pray when words aren’t enough? By breathing!

When you don’t know which way to turn? … Y – H – W – H.

When you look at your child in wonder? … Y – H – W – H.

When the grief is more than you can bear? … Y – H – W – H.

When you think you will burst with excitement? … Y – H – W – H.

When you wake up? … Y – H – W – H.

When you lie down? … Y – H – W – H.

In time, Hannah was able to proclaim, “For this child I prayed … My heart rejoices in the Lord … there is no rock like our God.” Our loving, heavenly Father heard her prayers that rose to Him without a single word!



My Creator, YHWH, just as You breathed life into Adam and Eve, You breathe it into me for Your glory! Thank You that Your presence is as near as my breath. Teach me to be mindfully aware of it as I meditate on You throughout each day.

(Ref: 1 Samuel 1, Ex. 3:14, Romans 8:26-27)


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