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. 

 

AEROBIC EXERCISE FOR YOUR SOUL

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. 

 

EXERCISE #1: BREATHING AEROBIC PRAYER

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,

Andrew

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.

4 Comments

  1. Louise Richardson

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

    Reply
  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!

    Reply
  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.

    Reply
  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.

    Reply

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Follow Me AS I FOLLOW JESUS

We all walk a path in life that is set before us. We start with very little experience and knowledge about the purpose of our life and the world beyond us. All of humanity experiences joy, wisdom, strength, weakness, suffering and hardship, especially those who are “contending for the faith”. Knowing Jesus is a very special part of this life journey.

A CERTAIN GOD

We can be reasonably certain about many things. In fact, without this certainty about life, none of us could function. We can be certain that tonight the sun will ‘set’. Tomorrow the sun will ‘rise’. After the February 28th it will be February 29th. This year there will be international unrest and much political instability in many parts of the world. In the coming months global warming will be identified by politicians as the source of floods and wildfires. Several high profile international celebrities will die this year. Archaeologists will make a discovery that will require some aspects of history to be rewritten. And you will certainly have one of the most memorable moments in your life in the coming days. You see, there are clearly some things we can be quite certain about. However, there are some aspects about our future that we cannot be certain about, yet in those moments we can be certain about what we should do.

LOW COST LIVING

Turn on any TV or radio news lately and there’s bound to be a story about the current “cost of living crisis”. We all feel it. Initially most people accepted the widespread price-rises were caused by 2020-21 pandemic lockdowns. But whatever the reasons for the rapid price hikes over the past two years, every time we go to the supermarket we feel it again. While governments are striving to curb the impact of this cost of living crisis, there remains a way to enjoy low cost living. The key to this is recognising that the most valuable things in life are literally priceless. The path to enjoying low-cost living is to be found in Christ, and what He taught — and it begins with treasure.

How To Know Jesus Better

It’s a scary thought to realise that the Jesus we have been told about and worship may not really be known to us at all. We can ‘know’ about someone or something, but not really know them. In Christian circles it’s often referred to as head knowledge not heart knowledge.

Knowing Christ Better

As a church, this year’s theme is coming closer to Christ by getting to know Him better. I feel that I am “the least qualified person” to tell anyone how this is done — but someone else has already claimed this distinction – the apostle Paul. After decades of hearing directly from Christ, seeing extraordinary miracles, being taken to heaven temporarily, planting churches across the Roman Empire, he could still say I would give anything to really know Christ – even if it meant suffering like He did! (Phil. 3:7-10). Therefore, I could say: If you do this or that, you will then know Christ better – but in my view, it’s not as easy as that! How we develop our relationship with Christ is shaped by several factors including our personality, our life experiences, our physical health and fitness, and our relationships with others (especially our parents and particularly our father). In fact, I believe that there is a relationship between how we have learned to build relationships with others (and notably how we have learned to relate to those who are closest to us) and how we then proceed to have a relationship with God. Even though I have expressed my lack of qualifications in telling anyone how to have a closer relationship with Christ, I still can, like one hungry beggar to another hungry beggar, offer you a few of the morsels of food that I’ve been able to find.

SOME PEOPLE HAVE AMAZING BUTS

I know of several people with amazing buts. There’s Jo’, Mo’, Sam, Esther, Jerry, and others. Each of these people were gifted by God with an amazing but that changed there life and the course of human history. Sometimes these gifts came with a …then, or …God, or …the LORD. When it comes to the size of things, a but is a relatively small thing (in Greek it can be just two letters: de) but it can have huge implications and enormously great blessings for multitudes. I hope to show you how this was the case with each of the people I have chosen as samples, and then show you how God is your God of buts.

OPEN

What does the word ‘open’ mean to you? Like language itself, it is like any word in which the meaning only comes from the context in which it is used. I can think of at least 12 different understandings of this word, some of which I will point out, most I will not, and one that I focus on because it is prophetically important for where we are at as a church at this crucial time.

ONE THING I HAVE TO SAY

​I’m always amazed at the really cool events I’d organised for my kids to experience, so that they might have happy memories – but now they don’t remember it except the random comment someone made in the car trip on the way there or what snack was eaten. Conversely, if you make a mistake, well that one is remembered! Once I drove Andrew’s car and just lightly hit something so it ended up with an annoying 2cm scratch. The mistake is (still) there in full view to anyone who looks. Is Andrew going to remember this above the years of my devotion to him? (Not likely, but some people do remember the wrong for way too long!) If you had the choice, what one thing would you want to be remembered for? What one thing would you want your family to remember? It’s not often going to be the thing you have in mind.

‘Famous last words’ comes from the hope that you’ll be remembered for them. If you were given the privilege of being able to articulate as the important thing to say, to be remembered by all, what would it be? Would it be a reflection on your love toward someone? Would it be a directive on how to have the best life? Would it be that you wished you had done something? Someone once mused, ‘would your dying words be that you’d wished you’d spent just one more day in the office’? (Not likely.)

AT THE END OF THIS YEAR I WILL RECOUNT 12 WONDERFUL THINGS (An Explication of Psalm 9)

This is my last end-of-year Pastor’s Desk post. When the head of our Live-stream ministry, Sari, asked me what I was thankful for this year, my immediate answer was obvious and predictable. But since then, I have considered that I also have eleven other things for which I am grateful to GOD for. In this last ever end-of-year Pastor’s Desk please indulge as I share my heartfelt thanks to God and for those God has used to bless me this year.

HE WAS BORN A KING

The king who reigned over Judea when Jesus was born was Herod the Great. Herod had no legitimate claim to the throne of Israel. He was from an Idumean noble family who supported the Roman occupation of Palestine. As a reward he was appointed by the Roman Senate as the King of Judea. Despite his attempts to curry favour with the Jews, including several major public works programs (including completing the temple reconstruction) he was still largely unpopular among the Jews. Little wonder then that when the Magi arrived in Jerusalem with their large retinue and requested to view the birth of the prophesied King of the Jews, Herod was emotionally threatened by this revelation. Herod immediately ordered an enquiry from the chief priests and religious scribes.