This Daily Combo Can Reset Your Whole Life
Updated: Apr 29, 2020
Two secret weapons used at one time can turn a battle. In the same way, a thirty-minute workout plus some focused prayer can recalibrate you and the world around you like nothing else..
Move That Body
If I knew how I’d feel AFTER working out BEFORE I worked out, I wouldn’t have any trouble getting started. Every day, before doing anything else at all, I’d leap onto my elliptical with cartoon hearts floating around my head. Trouble is, I always get amnesia about that euphoric post-workout feeling, so jumpstarting myself is a major struggle pretty much every time.
Thankfully, I still do get myself in gear a few times a week. I’ve trained myself to do it…because boy does life go better after a good workout!
Why? Remind me, who would rather barrel through life and get actual stuff done, why I need to take time out of my busy day to do something repetitive that takes discipline and kind of hurts?
Because in this world you will have stress. Stress is the number one cause of death and deterioration to the modern body, piled on by environmental factors like toxins, pollution and chemicals and constant assault from social interactions that want something from you like advertising, pleas for social justice, and teenagers. (Those are mine, anyway. You have yours.)
If you eat food, you have to eliminate that somehow, and in the same way, if stress comes in, it better have a way out or your system will get clogged. For the body, that's uncomfortable at best and dangerous at worst--and believe it or not, what's true of the body is also true of the soul.
Keep it simple and just do it.
I live miles away from any big town, so my workouts in fall and winter are inside my house and not fancy. An old elliptical in my basement does just fine since the whole and only point is to get my body moving, lift my heart rate up and center my thoughts for the day. I also stretch and do floor exercises like crunches and leg lifts, planks and stretching for strength maintenance. Some people love classes and going to the gym, but as a simple girl, I have to keep extra requirements from coming into play or I won’t work out at all. I’ve gotta be what I am: a get-er-done minimalist. Extra steps are barriers to my follow-through..
When it’s warm and sunny in spring and summer, I take a two-mile brisk walk up and down my country road. Studies show that both body and soul all benefit from immersing in nature!
Since I have another part called a spirit that needs nourishment too, here's where the next and most-potent part comes in:
Add Prayer For Extra Punch
I'm all about efficiency, so if there's a way to do two things at once, I'm doing it. Instead of watching a show or listening to music while I work out, I pop in my ear buds and tune into a recorded Daily Prayer for Freedom that I say out loud (the author recorded himself reading the prayer, so I just listen and repeat after him).
Praying out loud has so many benefits.
It keeps my breath regulated while I move.
It recalibrates my mental perspective.
It calls my spirit to come out front and be in charge.
It establishes, for the record in my own thoughts and for whatever unseen entities are within earshot, where I stand and what I allow to have authority in my life.
This Changes Everything
The author of The Daily Prayer for Freedom is John Eldredge, biblical counselor, teacher and writer of many books on my bookshelf like Wild At Heart, Waking the Dead, Walking with God and All Things New. He and the staff at Ransomed Heart counsel real people with real problems and do major things to disrupt the heartache plaguing many...so they come under a lot of spiritual attack. They know how crucial prayer is, because when they don't, they see just how open they've allowed their own hearts and lives to be as the enemy wreaks havoc. To combat this with established boundaries, they pray this same prayer daily over themselves and their own households, actively applying all of the spiritual coverage God tells us to shelter under.
Following their great example, I have found that saying this prayer deliberately covers my life with the full weight of Jesus Christ’s death, resurrection and the ascension, appropriating His blood, resurrection/new life and Kingdom authority. Oh, how I need this coverage.
My story: for years I struggled under clouds of inexplicable depression, bouts of suicidal thought patterns, fear and anxiety. Working out alone did nothing to clear these from my life, nor did counseling of any kind.
Only when I started acknowledging my problems as spiritual--not just physical or mental--could I address them at the correct level and see good results.
Somehow I stumbled across this prayer and started praying it daily...and after a few days of disentanglement from the lies I'd been believing, I felt better. Tons better. Strong, even. I've prayed it once a day for over four years, and I will do it for the rest of my life because it works.
Our words are gates that both guard and allow.
As I pray, both my spirit man and conscious mind engage and agree with the Word of the Living God. It becomes personally applicable to me and my life. As a child of God on this earth, what I say provides a gate for the spirit realm to enter in--by this prayer, I am opening the gate wide for the glory of God's good plan to be made manifest in what I declare belongs to Him. Be careful what you say, dear one, for the power of life and death is in the tongue. Tilt your life toward heaven, not hell. Let in the light, not the darkness. Appropriate your spheres of influence for the Lord of Eternal Life, not the god of this evil age! It matters more than you could ever know.
When you pray in faith according to God's Word, your spirit, soul and body are clothed and fed, refocused and strengthened. I love how this particular prayer draws powerful, intentional circles around my life with Jesus’ finished work, slowly and definitively. When I'm done saying this prayer, I feel protected and clean, ready with the power of God for whatever comes next. You will too.
The extended version is 14-minutes-and-22-seconds long, but it covers everything…even abject spiritual warfare that may sound woo-woo but is completely necessary. If you live in our modern world, wacky things like witchcraft and curses are more a part of the mix and affect more than you know, whether you know it or not. Many in the entertainment industry report that popular television, music and films are packed full of energies that are not good for humans, placed there intentionally by people who actively honor unholy sources. Yuck! In this diverse spiritual environment, logic declares that it’s good to wash off any spiritually toxic junk at least once a day.
Take a triune-self shower.
Made in the image of God, we have three components: body, soul and spirit. (Soul contains heart, mind, will and emotions.) All three need to be tended to stay healthy. Cleanliness keeps things on the right track in the physical realm; doesn’t it follow that the same should apply to the unseen-yet-real realm too?
This world is a battlefield and there’s a lot going on behind the scenes we don’t know about…and we do well to apply and guard ourselves with God’s powerful Word.
God hasn’t left us alone to fend for ourselves. He has given us His Name and His promises to put on like armor and shield daily. His word is a sword that He intends for us to use. I’ll repeat: there’s a lot we don’t know about going around us all the time, and we NEED to appropriate God’s blessings daily. This prayer lines His Word up biblically and systematically in every day language so we can verbally appropriate its blessing to our lives.
Convinced yet? Here are more reasons why to climb on board this workout+prayer bus:
Repetitive physical activity frees your mind to focus on what you’re saying AND opens your imagination to SEE each line applied to your life in context.
The rhythmic motion of working out or walking relaxes brain wave patterns into what’s called Alpha frequency—where the right and left hemispheres can be active at the same time. Because both conscious and subconscious operate simultaneously in that Alpha state, what you say in prayer can penetrates deeply, taking root in my core belief system as you consciously hear yourself say it...so you'll automatically, subconsciously start imagining His word working things out in your life, projecting more victorious futures as the authority of life in Christ Jesus governs you. This is so awesome! If you can imagine it, it is possible!
Saying the Word of God over yourself makes you feel like a warrior princess.
In His strength I am powerful, filled by an Almighty God; it’s not just little old me running around trying to survive all by myself anymore. The same will go for you. It’s awesome. When I get to the part of the prayer that’s about commanding judgment upon the heads of any enemies who refuse to obey in the Name and authority of Jesus …let’s just say I’m glad to be working out alone in my basement so no one in the natural realm can see me. Try it—you’ll see.
Workouts plus prayer are like meditation, but better.
Some people spend time meditating on one single tone to center themselves with the universe, but I prefer the whole counsel of the living and active Word of God to center me on HIM. I come away from my workouts transformed to the core every single time! You will too.
You’ll be more relaxed.
Stress collects in your tissues and physical exercise is the only thing that moves the chemicals through your body systems to flush it out. Cortisol, the stress hormone, yields to serotonin. When cortisol moves out, you’ll finally get some peace in your muscles and joints…and this new freedom will bloom out into your mind and heart, which will affect your attitudes and beliefs about life. Which leads me to my next point…
You’ll be nicer.
When you’re not steeping in your own little toxic tea of unflushed stress and worldly influences (yuck), you can process life so it’s more like an adventure than a prison.
Don’t know about you, but I can get some pretty stinking thinking revolving around in my mind…and that nastiness colors my world grey and brown, which isn’t fun for me or anybody else. To see clearly and have good perspective, a more positive lens has to come and be our filter! A workout paired with the prayer makes this switch for me. Everyone in my whole family thanks me for it…even if they don’t know exactly what to thank me for. Yours will too.
You’ll have more energy.
Energy is a commodity. God made us able to manufacture the energy we need and use it for our good and His glory. Working my body and praying out loud are two of the most valuable tools I know of to plug into His source and get ‘er done. When you work out, you make energy. Weird but true. Add prayer and things get supercharged!
You’ll mature in a thousand ways.
Something happens when you take charge and establish discipline in your life physically and mentally: it bleeds into other areas. Emotions can’t carry you away so easily anymore. Cravings won’t drive your choices. You’ll become more aware of your spending, conversations, interactions and pastimes. Discipline in one area tends to spread virally into other areas…and that is so, so helpful.
Maturity is learning how to manage your life. When you manage elements well, there’s more to go around—finally you’ll have enough for what’s important, plus the discipline and proper perspective to apply resources well.
What do you think? Are you already doing a routine that moves you in good directions, or was this article helpful to get you started? Leave a comment below and let me know how you’re doing!