From Running to Prayer

From Running to Prayer

Some segments are self-explanatory—praise, confession, praying Scripture, thanksgiving, and singing, to name a few; but other segments may need explanation. Waiting is the quieting of one’s heart. Psalm 46:10: “Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10, ESV). Watching is letting God lead you to pray for whatever comes to mind. Colossians 4:2 states, “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” It unloads the mind of all the burdens a person carries with them.

I love to run. It has a quiet simplicity: just me and the pavement—pounding the ground, step after step, watching deer bound into the forest, Venus shining in the night, crisp air filling my lungs, and crunching leaves underfoot. Nothing vies for my attention. The Earth spins at 1,000 miles per hour, but life slows down mile after mile when I run. Running dampens the hectic buzz of the schedule.

As a pastor of a multisite church and a parent of six children who are engaged in varied sports and activities, family dinners are often on the go. The pace of life has shifted into relentless overdrive. Amidst the frenzy, running is a sanctuary—a time to set everything aside and unwind. But unwinding is not the only reason I lace up my shoes and head out the door; an hour of exercise gives me an hour to pray.

How did it happen that running became a time to pray?

Many years ago, on a mission trip to London, the team “camped out” in a small church. During personal devotions, one day, I picked up Dick Eastman’s The Hour That Changes the World: A Practical Plan for Personal Prayer. In this book, Eastman breaks down one hour of prayer into twelve five-minute segments—like a clock.

Here are the segments:

  1. Praise
  2. Waiting on God
  3. Confession
  4. Praying Scripture
  5. Watching
  6. Intercession
  7. Petition
  8. Thanksgiving
  9. Singing
  10. Meditation
  11. Listening
  12. Praise

As I run, I pray through these twelve segments. This same method could work for you as you walk, cycle, do gardening, or have quiet time—a personal retreat or even a commute to work. Just set a timer for five minutes and move from one prayer segment to the next during the hour.

Some segments are self-explanatory—praise, confession, praying Scripture….

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