I love running and I love prayer. I’m going to let you in on a little secret and that is as much as I love both of these things, sometimes they are the absolute last things I want to do. This seems bizarre to me, especially because once I do them I ALWAYS feel better. Always! The only thing that I can understand from that is how true it is that sometimes we are our own worst enemies.
I’m realizing that because of this I just need to do it sometimes. I need to put it on my calendar, write it on my to do list, remind myself that it makes me happy and despite the many excuses I can find at the end of the day these are two of my truest desires.
Prayer is all about connecting with ourselves and with God. It’s about nurturing the MOST IMPORTANT relationship in our lives, the relationship that will sustain us and enable us to be our best selves in all relationships. Running is about connecting, too. When I run I connect with God, nature, myself, and my body. This is in many ways what God desires for us, a way to connect it all together.
I want to give up often. I get tired, in prayer, in running, and in life. I love that prayer and running are two amazing examples of places that you’ve got to just keep going and when you do…that my friends is when the magic happens. It’s that extra mile, that extra meditation. That’s when you see what you’re really made of.
Ebb and flow.
There are days when it’s all going great. It seems like you’re in a groove. The run that you put off only to get out there and feel AMAZING. The prayer group you attend only to find an answer and comfort that you’ve not felt in a long time. It’s not always this way. Sometimes it’s lonely. Your muscles ache. You are not in your groove. Your prayer feels unanswered, but it’s a part of the ebb and flow that reminds us to keep showing up.
No right way.
This is both a blessing and a curse for me. I’m a rule follower and while this may surprise some of you, it’s against my nature to make up my own rules or way of going. That is true of running and prayer. There are lots of “experts” and there are tons of guidelines, but for every single guideline or tip there is another way. It’s about finding what works best and changing it up as you go. Find a new type of race. Check out a new spiritual book, pray with scripture. Whatever it may be, you find YOUR way and get to own it!
The benefits of prayer happen during (feeling connected and in touch with God), after (feeling more at peace and sure of your direction), and they keep on happening. Same with running. Your body feels better, you accomplish goals that you’ve set, you sleep better, and the list goes on and on!
The cool thing about these benefits are that they are true of prayer and running, and in the end running can be a prayer. Before I set out to run I try to remember to invite God. This helps me to remember that I should be inviting God into my life all of the time, in every area of my life. While I run I ask to be present and to stay present. I try to focus and allow myself to enjoy the moment. It’s important for me to keep at both of these things, especially on the days I want to least because that’s when I know I need it most.
What do you experience as prayer in your life? Would love to hear from you!