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Prayer System

Prayer is the mortar that holds this house together. – Mother Teresa

I find prayer to be similar to exercise. The more you pray, the more you desire to pray. Exercise is very similar. People that don’t ever find the time to exercise really don’t ever feel like starting when they have the opportunity, and they think they are at some disadvantage because they really don’t even desire to workout while Suzy Q. over here runs everyday and talks about how she wishes she could do more.

About four years ago I developed a personal system of prayer. My motive for this system was to get me out of my rut of selfish prayers. As a young christian I had developed the habit of prayer early, but my prayers all seemed to revolve around me and my wants. I got to the point that I felt like I was communing with Santa Claus, presenting him with a wishlist each morning and/or night. It’s not that I didn’t care about others or didn’t want to pray for concerns of others, I just couldn’t ever think of them whenever I would go to my Lord in prayer.

So, I developed a categorical checklist. This involves some weekly planning, but the benefits have been worth it. Here are some of the benefits I’ve received since starting this system. First, I’ve seen answered prayers. I’m not haughtily suggesting that God answered my prayers because of this system, no, I’m saying I’ve seen my prayers answered. Because it is a paper-based system that I keep in a journal format I’ve been able to go back and reflect on what I’ve prayed for and observed how God has answered that prayer. It’s not always been as I wished, but it’s always been a blessing to see.

Second, my prayer system has made me more aware of the world around me. I feel more in tune with other’s lives. When I bump into someone I’ve been praying for, if it’s been for a specific situation, I have something to ask them about, and if they were just on my list then I look for something specific in our conversation to take before the Lord on their behalf. I’m praying for ministries that I would love to financially assist but can’t afford to. I’m praying for church members and colleagues at work that I use to always say I would pray for and then forget what I committed to at the end of the day or the next morning when I knelt to pray.

Third, I’ve become more dedicated to prayer. As mentioned above, in my christian infancy I developed the habit of prayer. When I had a problem I knew who to go to and frequently did. But it was always for my benefit that I prayed. I was selfish in prayer. And I tried to pray daily, but most of the time at night I was so exhausted that I fell asleep beforehand. Now, however, I set my alarm early in the morning and I wake up to pray daily. I feel like I’ve missed an opportunity to help someone in my small way when I miss a morning of prayer. Because I have an other’s-centered prayer list I’m able to lift them up to God and not feel so greedy afterwards.

Another benefit is, as I mentioned in the introduction, I have more of a desire to pray throughout the day. And one thing I’ve noticed since I started this, I still seem to get those selfish prayers in to God at other times. I think about myself a little more often than anyone else thinks about me, and I believe God is okay with us expressing our true wants and desires to him, just not at the expense of us not being aware of others.

With all the distractions in this world, this system of prayer has kept me in tune with what and who really matters the most and I pray that it does keep and hold my home together as mortar does on the structure of a house.

What prayer strategies do you have? I would love to hear ideas, and suggestions.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2012 in Spiritual

 

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What happens when you Compromise?

        You’re in the middle of a run on a hot, sultry morning that you got a late start on, and you approach a hill that is blessed with the surroundings of trees with large limbs overhanging the roadway creating glorious shade. You know you ought to attack this hill and get it behind you, and yet there’s a voice inside your head saying, “Wouldn’t it be nice to walk up this hill and enjoy the cool refreshment of the shade.”

        We all have those thoughts. Whether it’s on a run or even a difficult challenge in life, there’s a constant battle for doing that which we know we ought, and that which would momentarily be easier. We must keep in mind that when we compromise with our convictions it never eases the tension of the stress helping us to take on the challenge better next time. It only weakens our resolve to overcome the challenge next time and makes it that much harder when we face the same hill on an equally hot day or an equal challenge in the future.

So, don’t compromise with that voice that bids you to slack off and seek momentary pleasure. Listen to the voice of righteousness that pleads with your soul to experience the lasting joy that results from a road less traveled. Accept challenges. Do what’s right even when it’s hard.
Compromise never eases the tension, it only weakens the resolve.

 
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Posted by on August 6, 2012 in Thoughts

 

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Discipline

When you discipline yourself to do the things you need to do when you need to do them, then you’ll eventually be able to do the things you want to do when you want to do them. -Zig Ziglar

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Commitment

The problem with commitment is that you have to act on limited information. – Michael Hyatt

 
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Posted by on June 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Catch a Second Wind

While cowboys may always be trying to rope the wind, there are runners that swear to have been able to catch a “second wind.”

I guess I’ve always just been in pursuit because I’ve never knowingly been able to catch this magical boost of energy in the middle of a run. I’ve had teammates before that would often refer to this sensation in the middle of a run, but it wasn’t anything that ever seemed to give them a visible advantage. I always felt like they were using it as an intimidation factor against those of us that might not be feeling so hot on our run. Whatever the case, I believe it did give these runners a mental boost just thinking about the positive side effects whether the physical side effects were real or not.

As I said, I never really did experience this second wind sensation as a runner during my competitive days so I’ve always looked at it as a myth of the mind – something people trick themselves into believing.  However, on a short 3 mile run with some steep, lengthy hills this week I think I might have experienced what my more fortunate running buddies were always raving about.

I ran the last mile pretty hard. I was pushing myself up the final hill, shortening my stride, lifting my arms, and wondering if I would have to walk on home once I reached the top of the hill You know this feeling if you’ve done any kind of distance running before; experience tells you that you will be alright and will keep going, but there’s a side of you that gets panicky. As I neared the top my labored breathing lost its rhythm when one long, involuntary breath interfered. It was just one deep breath and then my rhythmic, labored breathing resumed, but when that one breath was gone so was my panicky side. I didn’t feel like a new runner with fresh legs as my teammates would sometimes describe, but I did at least feel psychologically better.

Was this a “second wind” experience?

I did a quick internet research and found that I’m certainly not the only one that has had this “second wind” debate, and my teammates certainly aren’t the only ones laying claim to this phenomenon.

It seems that there are three possible scenarios. First, it could be something purely psychological. A runner believes in it, looks for it with confidence at some point in the run, and when any sensation is felt at a critical point in the run he recognizes it as a positive benefit and thus it becomes one.

Second, it is possibly the release of endorphins in the body that give the runner a sense of euphoria and a natural (runner’s) high.

Lastly, it is potentially an issue of lactic acid build up. Distance runners are in need of oxygen-rich blood, but sometimes we push our bodies from an aerobic state to an anaerobic state where the transfer of oxygen in our blood is slowed and lactic acid begins to build up in our muscles due to a lack oxygen rich blood. The “second wind” supposedly comes into effect when this build up of lactic acid is suddenly balanced out by oxygen-rich blood. This, apparently, gives the runner a feeling of having a fresh set of legs.

I also discovered that catching a “second wind” is less likely to happen for well-trained athletes because their body is adept at keeping the proper balance of oxygen needed to counter the lactic acid attack, and therefore their body is performing properly much sooner in the run than the untrained. This may explain why I never experienced this sensation as a competitive runner, but think I might have the other day.

Whether a “second wind” is physical fact or fiction I know it to be spiritual fact. I still recall the panicky feeling that I was living with when I was in high school before I decided to surrender my life to Christ Jesus. Becoming a disciple of Christ through baptism was like a “second wind” in my life that truly did give me a fresh start, except instead of a new set of legs it gave me a new purpose and direction in my life; instead of oxygen-rich blood, I received the grace-rich pure blood of Jesus Christ through the veins of my soul. Ever since catching that “second wind” I’ve been a representative of my Lord Jesus in the race of life, constantly in pursuit of His perfection, often stumbling and even falling, but thanks to this unique blood flowing through my soul’s veins able to get back up every time and return to the race with my head held high, not for what I’ve done but for who I represent and who I pursue.

So, what do you think? Is a “second wind” fact or fiction? Do you ever experience a “second wind?” I love to read your comments.

 
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Posted by on December 1, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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To Run is to be Free

Last Fall I began meeting once a week with an old teammate of mine to run. It has kept me running sporadically throughout each week. Due to this I am now enjoying some semblance of shape, to the extent that I at least don’t get sore after sprinting to catch one of my kids.
My cross-country season is over and that means I will be stuck in a gym coaching basketball for the next three months. I love the game of basketball, but I’m not fond of the season; it’s long and cold, and generally comes with too much senseless controversy.
Another reason I’m not fond of the season is that when basketball rolls around my coaching responsibilities greatly diminish my opportunities to run. Because of this, I’m learning to enjoy every little run that I do get.
Monday was a teacher-inservice day at school and so we didn’t have to be there until 8:30. This gave me an extra hour in the morning and I used part of it to do a 2 mile run on the treadmill. Yesterday, in absolutely gorgeous weather outside, I had to run across a field to get cones for our P.E. activity. I was filled with an overwhelming sense of grattitude to the Lord for the ability to run, even that short little distance that took less than a minute, because I know that there will be a day when I will wish I had the strength in the legs of my youth, because I know that there are people out there that are my age or younger that have suffered tragedy that has captivated them in a body with legs that are useless. I delight in the freedom that my legs afford me. To run is to be free. Too many take this for granted in their youth.
I will run when I can this winter season to escape the captivity of the gym. I will run when I can because I am not promised a healthy tomorrow. I will run when I can because each time I do I am better for it.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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2 Kinds of People

This is not me.

There are two kinds of people in the world: those that get by and those that get better.

Men in there 20s spend an average of 5 hours a day with a video game. That’s more than the average teenager. These are supposed to be some of our most productive citizens. Men at the peak of their physical strength and working capacity. Many without children or even a wife yet. But more and more this part of our nations work force views getting better as forced work. They are choosing to merely get by in life, hiding the capacity and potential of their intellect in a virtual world of low expectations.

What are you doing to get better today?

 
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Posted by on October 5, 2011 in Uncategorized

 
 
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