“But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
Dear God, Hey it’s me Lori,
I started running and talking to God…
When Anna was 2 years old along came Spencer my third baby and second boy. He was the easiest of all four babies he was content, rarely cried and took to breastfeeding like it was second nature to him. This is the time that I started running. I have always been a physically active person. When I had Ethan I was a fast walker and when I had Anna I started walking even faster pushing a double stroller for at least a mile 4 days a week. After Spencer was born I would have my dad come over to watch the older kids and I would run pushing Spencer until I started to train for the Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon race. It was then that I started to run alone. Alone without a child was not something I was very use to. I remember in the beginning of running 1 mile thinking; I know where the next slope of hill will be and when I make it up it where exactly I will come down. When I got over that part I started to pray. I would start my prayer with thank you God for my breath, my legs, heart and lungs, motivation to run and my Dad for babysitting so I can actually do it. Then I would pray for at least 5 minutes each run. It got to the point that I was running 3 to 5 times weekly and my prayers became conversations with God. When you run 6-8 miles you have lots of reflection time, I did not run with music. I loved these times I was one with nature and with God. To this day I still run and take that time to talk with God it is my most precious prayer time.
To be able to find a physical activity you can do and reflect on your life is priceless. So many people go to the gym and mindlessly watch a movie or listen to music while they work out so the time goes by faster, I can understand this because they just want to get it done. But if you have the opportunity to, try to go for a walk alone outside try it, just talk to God you don’t have to use formal prayers or rosaries. Just say Hi! Try talking to God like you would to a friend. He is our God “Abba” which translated is closer to Daddy than Father. Let him know your thoughts and feelings. Don’t just give him your grocery list of wants and desires, try instead sharing your life with him, what’s happening and how you feel about it. It takes time to get to the point where one feels comfortable doing this out loud and maybe you never will out loud. Then try it in silence, talk to God like he is your best friend and you will begin a relationship with God that is a two way street. These days I start most of my prayers with “Hey God it’s me Lori. How are you doing? I can’t even imagine how You differentiate the billions of voices you hear, much less how you answer them all. Hope you’re doing OK. Is there anything I can do for you today?”
In my research for this book I actually found a book about this subject called “Prayer Walk” by Janet McHenry. She has an entire book on how to walk and pray at the same time. She talks about how God guides her in her prayers with the sites she encounters. She can do it alone or pray out loud with her spouse or a friend. It said that she was depressed and overweight she began to walk and talk to God, she lost weight but gained God.
Another thing I do when running that is part of my prayer life is to reflect on my mantra “a sacred formula used as an incantation or prayer” – American Heritage Dictionary. It is something I say repeatedly in my head through out my day. It is “Let other’s see Christ in my eyes”. You may have a mantra that you are not even aware of yet. Think about it when something happens during the day to challenge you, something that makes you want to explode or something that urges you to be nice what do you think to yourself? “What would Jesus Do?” “I guess I should do the right thing”? Take a few minutes to really reflect look away from the monitor close your eyes, yes right now and think to yourself, do I say any one thing to myself often? Is it positive or negative? You can change many aspects of yourself by what you are saying in your head. It can lead you to be bitter and resentful or caring and selfless.
Now that you have thought about it for a while is that what you want to say to yourself? Is that the effect you want to have on your children and the people who surround you? If it is not positive and kind think of a mantra that suits who you are. What do you want to convey to others and start thinking about it. It only takes 30 days to start a habit. Think of a good mantra today and start using it. Then notice how your attitude towards life will start to change.
So today with your new mantra in your head try to find a quiet spot somewhere for a few minutes, be alone. Think about your mantra and then say hey to God. Even if all you do today is to say “hey God I am here and I am acknowledging that you are too”, then you have made a big step today. It may not be a runners sprint but a step in the direction of reconnecting your relationship with God. A step towards a prayer life in whatever form that takes. Kneeling by your bed at night to say a prayer. Saying a prayer of thanksgiving when you check your children at night and you give them that gentle kiss on his/her forehead. Or perhaps even running and exercising and thanking God for having the ability and motivation to attempt it. God doesn’t care where or when you choose to talk to Him he just wants to hear your voice…