home > Pastor’s Desk > 2023 > January 13th > 3 EXERCISES THAT WILL MAKE YOU HEALTHIER, FITTER, & STRONGER, Part 1

Part 1, Aerobic Exercises

Who likes exercising? Who has attempted something that you thought would be relatively easy only to discover that you didn’t quite have the energy needed to do it? The benefits of exercising are not always immediately obvious – especially when you think there’s somewhere else I’d rather be and there’s something else I’d rather be doing! Exercising is often (if not always) inconvenient. It takes time. It can hurt. It can be tiring. It can even be injurious. But it has undeniable benefits. Exercising, (whether it be physical, emotional, psychological, academic, spiritual, financial, social, or intellectual) done correctly, increases an exerciser’s stamina, concentration, strength, capacity, confidence, and enjoyment. It requires consistency, routines, and self-discipline. Many people spend a deal of money and time just exercising their bodies (which 1Tim. 4:8 commends by the way). Others spend even more money and time exercising their minds. But only a few people spend any money or time exercising their spirits. As a result of this lack of spiritual exercise, too many people do not have spiritual reserves, and consequently lack spiritual strength, capacity, confidence, psychological contentment, or the emotional happiness that they would otherwise have had. Yet, this is so unnecessary considering that there are three very simple spiritual exercises that everyone whose spirit has been regenerated can do to remedy this malady. 



Every physical fitness coach will tell you that daily exercise which causes you sweat and puff is the kind of exercise that is doing you long-term good. Vigorous physical exercise such as running will cause you to need more air in your lungs which will cause you to puff. Puffing, the act of heavy breathing to replenish your need oxygen helps your respiratory and cardio-vascular systems to become healthier. Interestingly, breathing is the word that the Bible uses to describe how God created the First man.

Then the LORD God formed the man of dust from the ground
and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,
and the man became a living creature.
Genesis 2:7

For nerds like me, I find it interesting that the word for “spirit” — in both the language of the Old Testament (Hebrew) and in the language of the New Testament (Greek) — the word used means: breath (Heb. ru’âch; Gr. pneuma). Thus, breathing is intrinsically spiritual – especially when we are talking in prayer to God. In Genesis 3 we get an indication that God would regularly meet with Adam in the “cool of the day” by walking and talking with him (Gen. 3:8). Both activities require breathing. In fact, I would encourage anyone to try this aerobic spiritual exercise by incorporating the physically aerobic aspect of walking while trying this spiritual exercise. 



All people have been created to pray (talk to God). While nearly all religions consider prayer a necessary part of their religious activity, only Christianity sees prayer as a relational connection – a conversation – with God. Praying effectively must be learned. It also requires practice like any exercise. It was when Christ’s disciples had spent weeks with Him that they had observed that Jesus did not pray like their religious leaders. When their rabbis and priests prayed they simply read prayers from books, or recited them from memory—and always did them in public so that others could hear and see them. Jesus condemned this heartless praying!

“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites.
For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners,
that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward.
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret.
And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do,
for they think that they will be heard for their many words.
Matthew 6:5-7

This led His disciples to approach Jesus with the request “Lord, teach us to pray.” This is what He taught them and it has been embraced by all Christians as The Lord’s Prayer. Here is my analysis of this powerful spiritual exercise –  

Here’s how you can practice this spiritual exercise –

  1.  Start your praying with worship and thanksgiving.
  2.  Prayerfully express your surrender to God and His Word.
  3.  Ask God to meet the needs of those you love (family, friends, church, neighbours), and also to meet your own needs.
  4.  Confess your sins and seek God’s forgiveness for them.
  5.  Ask God for the grace to forgive those who you struggle with.
  6.  Pray for God to give you a hate for sin and the strength to avoid and resist temptation.
  7.  Close your prayer with worship seeking God for Him to be glorified in your life. 

If you should ever draw a blank on #3, then please remember me in your prayers that I might be loving, godly, caring pastor and a Spirit-filled preacher of God’s Word. For experienced pray-ers, this outline of a routine prayer exercise takes around one hour. Some use it as an exercise to pray to our Father throughout their day.

In my next Pastor’s Desk I’ll share Spiritual Exercise #2. In the meantime, happy praying.

Your Pastor,


Let me know what you think below in the comment section and feel free to share this someone who might benefit from this Pastor’s Desk.


  1. Louise Richardson

    Thankyou for your suggestions re praying.
    It was very helpful.

  2. Roger

    Excellent Andrew – it’s a very similar model to how I often expound on the Lord’s Prayer and assists in shutting out the concerns of the day as I head off to sleep – meditating, and focusing on the various aspects that the prayer embraces. Very helpful!

  3. LYDIA

    One day, a few years back, I was talking to my Scripture in School’s grade two class. These little people were around about seven years old. One young boy sat at the back of my class and turned away from me on his chair. He had difficulty looking at me and felt safe at such a distance, even though he would take a peek every now and the, when all the others on the other hand were in a semi-circle gathered around me. Then one day I said to all my pupils that the Lord never sleeps. Well that was something new for them. He neither slumbers nor sleeps Scripture says. He does not go to sleep! Then I added that because He never sleeps we can talk to Him any time, day or night. Then as the weeks rolled by this little man called out in class one time and said to me “Miss Lydia, I woke up in the middle of the night and talked to the Lord”. Even as I am writing this I still get goosebumps. This beautiful little boy ended up knowing the kernel of the relationship where God always sees and always hears and always listens no matter what. In time this young man was wrongly accused in my classroom, which was out of my control, and I stood up for him, which he learnt. From then on I knew that I needed to be on control 100%, or not. Nothing has changed there. I invited him to sit right next to me. He did. It wasn’t that I was anyone special, but he felt safe. I don’t know where he is today and as his name comes to memory I pray that he will still remember that God listens always, which is what Jesus knew as well. So thank you Andrew for this visual map of prayer.

  4. Jenny Webb

    Love your piece on: Aerobic Prayer. Over the years, I have often felt that my prayer life is not what I would like it to be. Even though I long for communion with our Father, prayer has been a bit of a struggle. I believe this teaching will greatly benefit and improve: my prayer life, my relationship to Jesus, and the lives of those prayed for. Thank you, Andrew. Praise the Lord. The God of love and peace be ever with you.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Here’s the thing for me; there have been many times I have wished or prayed that God would write His will on the wall for me. I don’t mean to be demanding – I would happily make it a question so all He needs to give me is a simple “yes” or “no”. That would suffice! But funnily enough, God has never done this for me.


Our relationship with God is built and sustained by trust in Him. We come to faith by trusting and accepting what has been done on our behalf. We continue in faith by the same trust in what has been gifted to us. We will surely have moments of challenges and difficulties – be it physical, social, financial, relationship, work/business etc where doubts and uncertainties surround. May we find strength in the knowledge that God does care, even when we do not fully understand.


I believe in miracles! Last Sunday night, several people gathered to pray for me and anoint me with oil for healing, including the Bishop of Tasmania Dr. Richard Condie, and Anglican archdeacon Bob McKay. Years ago, when Pastor Phil Hills was preaching, he said something that I wrote down in my Bible and have often repeated it to Kim, “Before God grants a miracle, do everything in the natural to make it possible!” As soon as I had heard this it seemed to have the Spirit’s anointing of truth all over it. As I read through the Scriptures I now see this principle often associated with God’s miracles. A poor widow had to do the possible to receive the impossible. Isaac’s servants had to dig a well in order to ‘miraculously’ find water. Peter had to get out of the boat and put his feet on the water before he could walk to the Lord. The bewildered disciples brought to Jesus the only solution they had to feed 5,000 people. And we must pray for miracles while we roll up our sleeves and do what we can in the meantime.


Over summer I had the blessing of looking after my granddaughter Olive for a few hours.  I personally think she’s the best bubba in the world, but I suspect every other parent and grandparent may disagree.  They’re wrong, of course, but I won’t argue the point.  After a while she fell asleep in my arms.  Isn’t it one of the most precious things to hold a sleeping baby or child? To feel their warmth and closeness, to hold them securely, to see the way they relax into you. I always loved slipping into our children’s bedrooms when they were sleeping. Sometimes I couldn’t help myself and I just had to take a photo.  Too often I forgot about the automatic flash on my camera, and our poor children were woken from their slumber by a bright flash of light in their faces.  Oops.  I suspect they may still hold it against me.


It is too easy to think of a Spirit-filled, on-fire church as large a congregation with great music, great facilities, great programs, and great preaching. And, to be fair, it could be. But those things would be incidental not causal or resultant. Conversely, it would too easy to think of a small church in a small town with no worship band, no building of their own, no paid pastor, and no programs as “dead”. And, to be fair, it could be. But those indicators may just be incidental to its death, not the cause of it. A Spirit-filled, on-fire church can be either large or small, found in a large city or a small country town. It could have great music or no music at all. It could have a gifted dynamic preacher as its pastor, or it may have no pastor at all. But without exception, all Spirit-filled and on-fire for God church have three essential qualities.


Like many people, I love visiting and seeing new places. I love learning from new cultures and languages. To have these experiences though, one needs to travel. While there are different modalities of travelling, the easiest, fastest (yet) and by far the safest means is by air. But there is a problem, I don’t always enjoy flying.


Last Saturday wasn’t quite what you might expect for a summer’s day. It was around 11 degrees at 10:00 in the morning. It was grey and cold. It was raining, but not in a pleasant, warm, summery sort of way. I found myself wishing I had a jacket and not just the raincoat I had packed. It was a day of the week though, so perfect for fishing. While I couldn’t see into the water to spot fish clearly, I watched my line unroll as I cast into a likely flow, the fly landed pleasantly on the surface, and I thought “that cast deserves a fish to eat it.” A fish didn’t eat it though.


A number of years ago (back in the day!), I was offered the opportunity to do the Myers Briggs Personality test at my place of work. I was keen to do it! I always like understanding more about myself so I can grow. It was an interesting process, and I loved reading the final summary. One thing it suggested is that I’m generally easy going, but under extreme stress I tend to catastrophise.


Now I turn my attention to an oft neglected aspect of our spiritual well-being: resting. As a disclaimer, I am one of the least qualified to discuss this topic—but, embarrassing, any lessons I have learned about the value of rest have come negatively from not resting as I should have and then enduring the inevitable consequences.


A healthy lifestyle involves regular vigorous exercise (aerobic exercise) – such as long brisk walk, a competitive game of tennis, or a 30-minute jog – and, eating a healthy diet. In Part 1, I drew the parallel to how we maintain our physical health with how we can contribute to our spiritual health. In particular I pointed out that just as doing aerobic exercise delivered more oxygen into our blood stream, so too does developing our times of prayer add spiritual oxygen into our soul. In this instalment, I am going to draw parallels with maintaining a healthy diet of eating fresh fruit and vegetables, cutting down on sugared and processed foods, and how our spiritual diet. Too many Christians have poor diets. I hope to encourage you not to be one of them.