Get physically and spiritually fit at the same time!
One of the most helpful prayer discoveries I have made is to identify things I do regularly and to incorporate prayer into those routines.
Think of things you do at roughly the same time and in the same way every day: brushing your teeth, showering, eating, driving and so on. For some people, that list includes exercising.
The Bible says, “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come” (1 Timothy 4:8, nlt).
How much better, then, if we do both? At the same time, even? Here are a few tips that may help:
1) Use the repetition and rhythm of your exercise routine.
For example, if you stretch or warm up before exercising, decide on prayers that reflect the movement of your body. Then, as the intensity of your workout increases, add more passionate or urgent prayers. Then cool down with prayers of praise, thanks and trust.
2) Incorporate podcasts or recordings.
Numerous prayer podcasts are available to use during exercise. Or you might compile your own playlist of songs and scripture or listen to a chapter or two of the Bible online as part of your workout.
3) Connect scripture to your regimen.
Paul’s list of the armor of God in Ephesians 6 may suggest ways to concentrate on different muscles or sets of exercises. Or structure your prayers according to Deuteronomy 6:5 (“love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength”) or Luke 2:52 (“Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people”). Or choose a different scripture verse as a theme each day.
4) Use specific prayers to monitor your heart rate or breathing.
You might say the "Jesus Prayer" as you walk or run, inhaling (“Lord Jesus Christ, son of God”) and exhaling (“have mercy on me, a sinner”) every few steps or seconds. Or alternate, “Lord, have mercy,” with “Christ, have mercy.” And so on.
5) Include intercession in your routine.
If you work out with weights, you might intercede for a different friend or family member as you go from one exercise to another. Or pray for those who need strength as you lift weights, those who are traveling as you walk, those who are suffering as you do your least favorite exercise, etc.
6) Pray for your exercises.
Particularly if you’re exercising to lose weight, recover from surgery or build the strength of your bones, heart, etc., you might pray about your physical health and what you want exercise to do for you.
Praying while you exercise can make you healthier both spiritually and physically and, as scripture says, produce benefits in this life and in the life to come.