Saturday, February 1, 2014

7QT (Vol. 72): Physical Prayer

"Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength." How do you love with strength? What is physical prayer?

One possibility is dedicating the entirety of your day to the Lord. Whatever you do with your day becomes an act of prayer. Service done to others becomes service of God. It allows life to become love, offering back to God all he has given to us.

Another possibility is an offering of exertion. When, if left to yourself, you would quit, continuing can be an offering of prayer. I first did this in high school. At that time, I knew a little girl who had Tourette's Syndrome. When her tics got overwhelming, or the stares from her peers began to bother her too much, she wanted to run. At age seven, she could easily run for twenty minutes. I often ran with her.

In high school, I ran cross country and track. Most of the time, I loved it. But there were days when I just couldn't get motivated. I just wanted to walk. Those days, I ran for that little girl. I pretended she was next to me, urging me to keep up (which often happened when we ran together!). I offered the discomfort of running as an act of prayer, praying for her body to cooperate with her wishes.

Since just after Christmas, I've been part of a winter running club. On really cold days, my husband and I stay home. But even when it's a balmy 35 degrees, as tonight, there are times I just want to stop. I keep going, though, offering my effort on behalf of others for whom I pray.

I only offer my runs as prayer, though, when I'm at the end of my own motivation. Offering my run when my primary motivations are my own good health seems like being on a diet and calling it fasting. It is only when I am empty of my own reserves that I am able to offer myself to God.

It occurred to me on tonight's run, slogging up the final hill, that the same applies to any act of prayer. Only when I am completely humbled before my God am I able to love with all that I am.

7 Quick Takes is hosted at Conversion Diary