Back in West Virginia, my kids participated in a really fun fitness class called Potential Plus. They loved the variety of exercises and how fun the coaches made it. My son also really loves the shirts. He loves them so much that, until recently, he wore them EVERY SINGLE DAY. Thankfully, we broke that habit when school started but he still comes home and changes into them. These shirts came to mind as I spent time in prayer and writing about this challenge I felt called to create. Scripture verses are printed on the back of the shirts, and God put one of them on my heart as I journaled today (8/31/16).
1 Timothy 4:8 advises us, “for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come” (ESV). Lately, there seems to be no shortage of healthy-eating challenges and exercise challenges that aim to help one lose weight, get fit, and eat better. I have participated in a few of these challenges, yet at the end of each challenge any victory I felt turned out to be short-lived. Weight that came off returned. We’d go on vacation, or get busy, and eat out more than we ate in. Instead of feeling motivated and encouraged by others in the groups, I found myself feeling upset with my motivation level, frustrated with the amount of weight I was losing, and comparing myself to others doing the same or similar challenges. Bodily training only holds some value, yet I found myself prioritizing my body image over anything else. Real joy is not going to come from a number on a scale or a dress size. True happiness is not a correlation to my outward appearance, although I have at times believed this.
God put this question on my heart as I journaled about this verse. How much better would I feel if I poured the same amount of energy worrying about my body image into my relationship with God? The truth is, my prayer life has been struggling lately. Over the past few weeks, I’ve spent my quiet time in God’s word and conversing with Him. The results have been amazing. In this time, I feel challenged to focus on prayer. So I thought, why not create a 21 Day Prayer Challenge? I am committing to this challenge and prayerfully decided to write about it. My hope is you will commit to this challenge alongside me. I pray that God will use this time to restore us, rejuvenate us, and draw us nearer to Him.
Just like we train our bodies through healthy eating and exercise, we need to train our minds and hearts. Spending time in prayer is a key component of growing our relationships with God. I will outline my suggestions in the next blog post, but I am positive if you take this journey and commit to making prayer a priority in your life for the next 21 days, God will respond. It only takes 21 days to form a habit (so they say), and by the end of this challenge I hope prayer will be a consistent, natural component of my days.