The Power of One Word

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

One thing I always tried to teach my children was the power of words. Words of kindness and compassion can make a huge difference; they can often turn around conversations that get heated and they can lift the spirits of those in pain. Words matter. This is why I want to share with you a way to use a powerful word in your prayer life.

The Hebrew word is Hineni. It’s pronounced hee-nay-nee. We see it several times in the Hebrew Bible (the Old Testament). This Hebrew word becomes three words when translated into English: Here I am. This one word packs a punch because it is used by great people in the Bible when they are answering important calls from God.

When God called to Moses from the burning bush, the answer was Hineni. God called Samuel three times before the boy answered him with Hineni. We read in Isaiah 6:8 that God asked, “Whom shall I send?” The answer from the prophet: “Hineni. Send me!”

Hineni means much more than we would automatically think when we hear the words “Here I am.” This one word means we are more than just here, we are open to God and willing to go where God is calling us to go and do whatever God has in store for us. Our hearts are ready and open to trust the One.

Here’s where you can incorporate Hineni into your prayer life, even if you don’t have a consistent prayer life. If you haven’t heard of breath prayer, you might want to look it up online. There are several sites that have ways to incorporate breath prayer. Here’s how it works: You take a deep breath in and as you exhale, you say a word, phrase or scripture. For example, someone might exhale by saying Jesus’ name, or saying a short phrase such as “Lord have mercy.”

I find the fewer the words, the better. That’s why Hineni is so great for breath prayer. It’s short and yet powerful. A former pastor of mine used breath prayer every time she drove through an intersection. She chose this because it served to remind her frequently to pray. I invite you to try breath prayer. If you do use Hineni, be sure to listen for God’s answer!

I’ll see you in church and until then, I’ll be praying for you.


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Trinity United Methodist Church is located in McLean, VA. Our weekly worship services are on Sundays at 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. and on Wednesdays at noon. Sunday School is at 9:30 a.m. for children and adults. Children up to 6th grade are also invited to Children's Education during the 10:30 service. Adult Bible Study also occurs on Mondays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. Please visit our website for more information.

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