Breathe: Marie Barnett


If you went to a single youth group in the late 90’s or early 2000’s you know this song by heart.  In fact, just by reading the title of this blog I bet you’re already humming it to yourself.  This is another one that is going to be tough for me to review because it’s such a part of my childhood.  If you have kept up with the standards I am using then you already know how this is going to fare.


Verse 1

This is the air I breathe, this is the air I breathe

Your holy presence living in me


Verse 2

This is my daily bread, this is my daily bread

Your very word spoken to me


The first problem is that the lyrics are simply incoherent.  Even if it is sung in a Christian context that isn’t going to help.  The context would have to be supplying the meaning of every single word in this song.  Furthermore, the way it’s worded can lead easily to mysticism.


When the author says “holy presence living in me” do they mean in the sense that they have received word and sacrament and are indwelt by God the Holy Spirit?  Or do they mean a subjective fuzzy mystical feeling?


When they say “daily bread” that is “spoken to me” do they mean when the pastor is preaching the Word?  or are they claiming a direct revelation from God?  All I am saying is that this is too easily read either way, and to be honest, it reads easier with the mystical option than it does the orthodox.


Chorus 1

And I

I’m desperate for You

And I

I’m lost without You

I’m lost without You


Chorus 2

And I

I’m desperate for You

And I

I’m lost without You

I’m lost without You


Notice that the focus in this song is ourselves.  This is all about how I feel at the moment as I croon for a lost lover.  Here is the thing, I don’t have to reach out or up to God, he reaches down to me in word and sacrament.  I simply receive, I’m not lost looking for this.  I do look forward to it but I know he is there for me.


This is the air I breathe, this is the air I breathe


At the end of the day what is this song confessing anyways?  The only thing I can see is an abstract feeling, there is no substance of any kind to this at all.  Even though it lends itself very easily to the charismatic heterodoxy even that isn’t entirely clear.  The important question is, if you believe there is nothing wrong with this song, why would you want to confess nothing and call it worship?  Are we to say that worship should have no confessional substance?  If so why?

I would see that as a self defeating argument anyways.  You would have to confess a belief that worship can have no confession of truth.  Thus, in doing so you would be forced to break your own rule!

I’m not trying to be snarky, I actually think that’s a valid paradigm to point out and interact with.




At the very least a good praise song should praise God.  Except for the reference to “daily bread” it’s kinda hard to nail this down as even being a Christian song in the first place.  But if I allow that much leverage then I would have to read “air I breath” as prince and power of the air (Eph 2:1).  I hope that’s not what they meant!


I think the idea here is for the song to sound pretty and get you in the mood or something.  And if that was my criteria the score would be different.  The song is focused on yourself and your feelings and doesn’t praise God in any capacity.  No law, no gospel, and no Christ in this song.


Theology Scorecard



Is this song confessing Biblical theology?


Is this song centered on God instead of yourself?


Would this song make an Arian heretic uncomfortable?


Is there Biblical Gospel in this song?


Is there Biblical Law in this song?


Is this song clearly addressing God in any capacity at all? X



About ACTheologian

I am a layman who blogs my Biblical studies. Enjoy, please read with an open Bible and do double check with your pastor.
This entry was posted in Armchair Lounge, Christian Music Reviews and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Breathe: Marie Barnett

  1. L Bartlett says:

    Have you been listening to Tabletalk Radio? 😀

    Good post. Gosh, we used to sing that at my church a lot. Glad we don’t anymore. While I appreciate worship songs, I’m still a lover of traditional hymns.

    Liked by 1 person

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