Luke 18:1 says, “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious… Read more “Verse of the Day: Make Running Your Prayer Time”
Well, today is the run. I wonder what the weather is like and how I’ll I feel this morning. When are they going to take down their Christmas wreath? Did I turn off the oven? I guess I’ll turn left at this corner. The landscaping crew didn’t blow off their lawn good. I sure wouldn’t pay for that. That is the second time I’ve seen that plumbers van. I guess I’ll go a different route today. My knee is feeling okay today. Yum, that fresh salsa was so good last night. Next time I’ll add black beans and fresh avocado. I started my watch, good. Maybe I’ll beat a record today. Hmm, not as cold as I thought it would be, maybe I’ll do another lap by the house and drop this off.
Ugh, why did I forget my iPod this morning? Why do I have all these lists stored in my head? This is the best use of my grey matter? Hey, no shin pain. I wonder how I can stretch the sides of my calves. Weird how those little pains come and go. I can’t believe how good I feel after my 20 mile run on Saturday. Love it. So let’s see, if I go 4 today and 12 on Saturday, that’ll be 33 for the week, so then an hour or so today and long on Saturday, and that’s a pretty good week. I love taper time. Here comes the lady walking her dog. It’s always so stressful who is going to give up the sidewalk. She always looks like she’s working so hard to get moving.
Maybe she thinks the same about me. Hmm, seems there’ll be a pit stop soon. “Never leave the house until the coffee has left you.” Short hill. Pick up the pace uphill. I should get back to doing my leg presses. Wow, that Espresso Gu leaves a strange aftertaste. No salsa tonight. “No soup for you!” I love that show and their bakery. I could definitely go for a bagel or a black and white cookie for breakfast. Maybe I’ll drop by that new bakery down the street. I gotta finish today’s Faithful Trainer devotional and check on mom and Kerry. I wonder how she likes her new Nike Free shoes. First mile marker coming up. Seems like I just left the house.
Exhausting huh? Does your mind wander when you run? Do you go through an entire checklist of the things you want to do or need to do? What do you think about when you’re running? What about prayers? Have you experimented with praying while running?
A study published in 2005 concluded that 47% of the people in the US pray every day or nearly every day. Maybe a sampling of runners would result in a higher percentage, as they tend to have significant chunks of solitary time separated from distractions, alone with their thoughts, and surrounded by nature.
Scripture makes a very strong case for prayer in the life of a believer. Jesus told us to pray. Luke 18:1 says, “Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” We should pray simply because Jesus told us to and emphasized it in His life and teaching. There really is no better reason to pray then this.
Prayer is the way by which God helps us to overcome our anxiety and worry. Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
During my running, I have had many days where my racing thoughts have consumed me and I longed for the quietness. Do you remember the movie “What Women Want” with Mel Gibson? He had this amazing gift to hear a woman’s thoughts. Well the only thoughts he couldn’t hear was his dingy assistants’ thoughts. I wish I had days when my mind was clear, but I do love when I have days in which I experience beautiful emotional and powerful moments of prayer. I remember one specific moment when I left the house for a long distance run that I had been praying deeply for my friends, family and relationships who who were experiencing sickness and pain. When I had finished praying, I looked up and was in awe at a magnificent display of God’s hand in nature. My eyes swelled up with tears of happiness for observing creation and gratitude for God’s blessings and provisions. It is so comforting to know that God always hears our prayers.
I am a faithful runner who hits the road at least four times a week. For the last 19 weeks, I have been training for a marathon this March. I cannot imagine how I would have completed the training, or the race itself, without my running conversations and devotions with God. I was reminded of the movie Chariots of Fire, when Eric Liddell declares in his Scottish accent, “When I run, I run fast, and I feel God’s pleasure!” For me, when I run, I run slowly, but I also feel God’s pleasure.
I believe God created us to run and we feel the happiness that he intended for us when we fulfill that part of our purpose. When we choose to engage Him in prayer during our run we might achieve an even higher state of happiness. Especially in our spiritual race.
Today and many other times when I run, I think I hear footsteps coming up behind me – a plausible assumption given my speed. When I turn around I don’t see anyone. I assume that the sound results from the echo of my footsteps bouncing off the houses, amplified by the damp air of dawn, but I like to think that it’s actually the sound of God running by my side. He is a silent running partner, waiting for me to engage him in conversation.
Take him up on his offer. Say a prayer during your next run and witness the results.
“The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” Habakkuk 3:19
I have found that training and running for longer distances that sometimes my body will tell me to stop. Even through moments when I feel my muscles ache, my desire to run farther are looming over me. I think we have all felt this one time or another. We have so much going on and yet we struggle with not being able to do more or achieve more.
If I have learned anything my months of training that pacing is extremely important. Pacing is defined by “turning into your body and setting a steady, consistent rate of speed you can hold for a period of time.” Whether you have a fast pace to work your aerobic capacity or a slow steady pace to build endurance depends on the ultimate goal of your workout.
I’m generally right there in the middle, with the exception of yesterday’s run. I was scheduled for a 16 mile run to beef up my training to prepare for a marathon in March. It was a very gloomy day with storms in the forecast, so I waited until I saw a break in the clouds. During long runs, I usually run a long loop, which is a little over 5 miles. I had just completed two loops, dropped by the house to grab a banana and some water, and then headed out to run the last loop, when I noticed some dark clouds above me. Before I left, I asked my husband to come get me if the weather proceeded to get worse. I was determined to not have a storm come between me finishing my goal. I was almost done.
I was a little past 11 miles when I saw a bolt of lightning strike in the distance to my right. I looked for a clearing in the sky and ran in that direction. Of course by now, with the thunder was roaring in the sky above me and my pace picked up a notch. I was probably running my record average pace in my game of Nike+. This was not my goal and definitely not my average pace. I was in panic mode. My legs were aching and my heart was pounding. My plans changed. My new goal was to try to beat the speed of the storm now hovering over me. Who was I kidding? That didn’t stop me from trying.
When I was young, I use to run with my dad at the Jeff State track. If anyone knows the area or history of that track, they would know that a lot of runners were killed by lightning. Something I vowed I would never chance. I used to wonder, “who in their right mind would run during a potential storm.” I started asking myself the exact same question. “What am I doing? Have I lost my mind?” The memory of those runners began to haunt me and fear swept over me. I knew I was running out of time.
At last I reached the house and made it into the door just in time to meet the biggest storm we’ve had in months. Even after I was safe, I found myself frustrated that I was unable to finish. It was after the words came from my wise husband, “there is always tomorrow” that I realized maybe God wanted me to pace myself.
Interesting that the word “pace” originated from Latin and literally means “in peace.” I think that once we discover our comfortable pace, we achieve a sense of peace. Sometimes when we cannot find peace, we can get fearful, in a hurry or overwhelmed. We may even lash out at God or those that we love. (Or the weather, lol.) So, how do we get in the right pace and become peaceful? Where do we start?
The bible says in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
Conventional wisdom can easily blind us into running the wrong race at the wrong pace. God’s wisdom counsels us in Hebrew 12:1, to run the race marked out for us in spite of all the opposition and discouragement we face. In order to run with perseverance, we need to understand our personal pace. Discovering the pace God has gifted you with will help you guide you on your path through uncertainty.
During hard times may mean that we need to speed up our pace to keep up with the pace to keep up with the demands of the moment, at other times, we need to slow down and allow change to occur at an almost unperceivable rate. In either extreme, the flow of change can easily take us off our nature God-given pace the rate at which God designed us to move through life.
What’s important is not whether we are fast or slow, but how we run the race. If we are too fast, we have a tendency to run ahead of God and if we are slow, we tend to lag behind God’s pace. Remember pace isn’t a matter of how fast or slow you’re going, but your rate of progress and manner of running as you journey through life. God has uniquely marked out a race for you to run. He desires that you grow with every twist, turn and fork on the path. Use every change and new circumstances you face to recalibrate your pace to run the race. Find the place He has for you and follow with the pace His providence dictates. At every step, move in the grace He has extended to each and every one of us.
Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me-put into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”