Practicing Sabbath for One, Three or Five Minutes — 30 Ideas


One of the most helpful things anyone ever said to me about Sabbath keeping is that Sabbath keeping should be thought of in terms of smaller parts of a larger whole. Just as we strive to take a Sabbath day out of our week, perhaps we can take a Sabbath week out of our year. Maybe a Sabbath year out of our decade, or even a Sabbath decade (or two) out of our lives.

We can take this the other way, too. Throughout the course of our weeks, we can take a Sabbath hour out of our day, or maybe a Sabbath minute, or minutes out of an hour.

It’s these “mini Sabbaths” that I’m interested in during this season of life. Though I strive to take a Sabbath day out of the week, sometimes I’m not able to do it. When I can’t, I strive even harder to take mini-Sabbaths throughout the other days of the week. I take mini breaks throughout the day to center myself and refocus. Sometime I’ll post about Sabbath practices that last 15, 30, 45 or 60 minutes, but for now, I want us to start really easy. Here are Sabbath ideas that take only one, three, and five minutes. I hope you find something you can use!

One Minute Sabbath

  1. Sit in a comfortable position and breathe deeply in and out. As you breathe in say to yourself “I am breathing in God’s love” as you breathe out say “I am breathing out worry and fear.”
  2. Do the “teacup prayer.”
  3. Get some wonderful and luxurious hand lotion or scrub and nurture your hands with meaning and purpose. Enjoy the way the water feels on your hands and the smell.
  4. Go outside at night and look up at the sky. Notice if there are stars or if it’s cloudy. Take a deep breath.
  5. Read a Psalm
  6. Massage your tired eyes.
  7. Do one minute of alternate nostril breathing. (It will take more than one minute to learn, but once you learn, you can practice for one minute.)
  8. Write down 3 things you are grateful for
  9. Set your timer for one minute and close your eyes. Count how many sounds you hear.
  10. Rub an ice cube on your wrists or behind your ears. Notice how you feel

Three Minute Sabbath 

  1. Laugh for a couple of minutes
  2. Doodle for three minutes or color
  3. Memorize a Bible verse. Like this one or this one  
  4. Light a candle and sit in its light for three minutes. Spend one minute thinking about (or writing) prayers of joy, one minute thinking about (or writing) concerns and one minute thinking about (or writing) prayers of gratitude. Blow out the candle and feel your requests being lifted up to God.
  5. Watch the time run out of an egg timer
  6. Blow bubbles. Seriously. Get a bottle of bubbles and watch them fall to the ground.
  7. Make a paper butterfly
  8.  Try a body prayer
  9. Set the timer for two minutes and thirty seconds and write down every single worry that you have. Put it in a box or bury it. Come back to it in a week and see what’s still there.
  10. Listen to the Prelude of Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1

Five Minute Sabbath 

  1. Read a short poem. I find Mary Oliver, Ann Weems, and Madeleine L’Engle particularly inspiring.
  2. Close your eyes and listen to this instrumental version of the doxology  or this musical version of Psalm 46 (or any other five minute piece of music that inspires you!)
  3. Sit in silence and drink a small glass of ice water. Don’t do anything else.
  4. Do five minutes of yoga 
  5. Write someone a thank you note or email
  6. Try a finger labyrinth like this one or this one
  7. Put some essential oils in an aromatherapy diffuser and sit in silence, noticing the smell
  8. Take a five minute walk
  9. Prepare the dough for artisan bread (to be baked later)
  10. Look out the window at birds or look at a fish tank



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