Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pray, Pray, Pray!

The Run

Today's run was nothing special, but the Good Lord gave me all I needed to get out and do it. Even though I had to get to work a few minutes early, I rose in time to head out the door 15 minutes earlier than usual. Even though the outside temperature had dropped from the 50s and 60s a few days ago to the mid 20s this morning, I slipped on a jacket and headed out in the cold wind. Even though I logged 192 running miles last month, and have a race to run tomorrow, Jesus gave me the strength, motivation, and ability to get up, get out, and get down the road this morning. And for that, I am grateful!

The run wasn't fast. In fact, my average pace was about a minute slower than yesterday's. But I was pretty happy that my mile splits were all within 17 seconds of each other. If I throw out the first mile, the rest were all within 11 seconds of my average. For me, that's a pretty steady pace and I'm tickled with it.

The Message

Yesterday I wrote about how last month's challenge to blog every day had refocused me on writing for Jesus on this blog. I told you how I'd lost that focus and this blog became more about running than spreading the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. Part of spreading that news is writing pieces intended to help folks once they become Christians too, help them navigate troubled waters, help them seek and find God's will for them, and to help encourage them as they grow in their faith. One of the most important lessons I've learned as God turned me back in His direction is that I have to pray about everything.
" 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. -- 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I spent a large part of my life when I didn't pray at all, let alone pray continually. I was raised to be self-sufficient and independent. When things needed done around me, I didn't look for help, not from people and not from God. I tried my best to bull my way through any issue, any problem, no matter how big or how small. I thought I could handle everything myself so I didn't see any need to ask for God's help.

And because I tried to handle things on my own, and went through life not seeking help, I didn't ever even consider being thankful. Who was I going to thank? Myself? If I was the one achieving, if I was the one responsible for my accomplishments, who else did I have to thank? I went through life for years like this, not praying for help and not praying to give thanks.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. -- James 1:17

But after Amanda was murdered, I learned I couldn't handle things on my own, and I realized just how little control we really have over the blessings in our life. It's now clear to me that nothing good in our lives could come without God's blessing. Now I pray every day to give thanks for the blessings I have and for those I had. I pray to ask for guidance and wisdom and strength and patience and ... pretty much everything.
" 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -- Philippians 4:6-7

I pray about my runs. Now I pray about the races I enter. I pray for opportunities to spread our message. I pray for our students. I pray with our students. I pray and pray and pray and pray. And I credit that prayer, that unceasing prayer, for the peace that I have that allows me to keep going, keep running, and keep praying.
"This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. -- 1 John 5:14

Now, if there were only one piece of advice I could give to the next person I spoke with, if that's all there was time for, if it's the only opportunity I'd ever have to advise him again, I'd say pray. Pray about everything. Seek God's will for your life and heed when He calls.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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