Two little girls were walking together to school one beautiful spring morning. They were enjoying the beautiful flowers and the crisp, fresh air. Everything was right with the world as they sang, skipped, chased butterflies, and picked a few flowers.
Suddenly they realized that they had taken so long enjoying the flowers that they were going to be late for school. Soon the bell would ring, and they would be marked tardy. Not wanting to get in trouble, the first little girl said to her friend, “Let’s kneel down right here and pray.”
“No,” her friend answered quickly. “Let’s run while we pray!”
I want to help you learn how to run while you pray.
3 Groups of People
Some people mostly run. We’ll call them Group A. They study about health, read food labels, and count calories. They know how many steps (or miles) they walked today and how close they are to their weight goal. Their medicine cabinet is full of vitamins and supplements. They’re always looking for a checklist or program to make their home life better. They orchestrate everything in their life and marriage—sex, date night, Bible study, church attendance.
And they’re tired. Something still isn’t working, no matter how hard they try.
“I know the answer!” says Group B. “You need to pray.” Now, it’s good to pray. About everything. But praying is about all Group B does. They start with praying for the doctor to find the magic pill to cure them, or the pastor to “fix” their husband. They have lots of problems: multiple medical issues, frequent emotional ups and downs, and a miserable marriage. If only God, or anybody else, would help!
And they’re frustrated. Nobody will fix them. Not even God. Sigh.
What’s missing? Working harder can’t be the answer. If it was, Group A would have it all figured out.
Then why doesn’t Group B find the answers? Isn’t prayer supposed to fix things?
And so we come to Group C. These individuals know how to both run and pray. They understand that God IS the Answer. They also know they have a role to play. And life just seems to work better for them.
Here’s how Jane, a wise member of Group C, looks at her life.
- If she or a member of her family becomes ill, she prays for God’s healing. At the same time, she looks at her lifestyle to see if there are any areas in which she has made herself vulnerable. She makes any necessary changes and gets medical care when necessary.
- If she feels anxious or depressed, she spends some extra time listening to what God has to say. She asks her husband for some extra grace and support. She evaluates her life for anything that might have caused her to be overwhelmed and takes appropriate action.
- If she’s looking for a husband or unhappy in her marriage, she spends some extra time on her knees. She evaluates how her own attitudes and behavior might be impacting her spouse (or potential spouse). And she studies how good relationships function.
Do you see how that works? There’s something about both running AND praying that just makes life work better.
God’s Design for you to Run AND Pray
The life God makes available to us, and calls us to, involves living healthfully in a physical sense. It involves having a healthy mind and emotions, loving connections with other people, and a strong, vital relationship with God as well.
But in each of those areas there are things for which we must take responsibility. There are times we must run, even while we pray.
I hope you’re like the second little girl, both running and praying on her way to school. I hope you become a member of Group C, and experience all its benefits—physically, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. Throughout the chapters of this book we’ll talk about how to do just that.
Perhaps an ideal way to end this chapter and begin this book is with the Serenity Prayer:
“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.”
This is just a sample of the good things in Live Healthy, Live Whole.
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