Tonight I ran once again, but this time it was different.
I have been working towards running a half marathon the first weekend in April (oye). Mind you, I am not a runner.. I do not particularly like running (ok, I actually kinda hate it), and I definitely would not choose it as my favored workout...
However, running IS a fantastic workout.. It works the appropriate stomach muscles to help me flatten my stomach (my most disliked area of my body), and while I have a lot of issues with my joints, if I wear a knee strap and work on strengthening my muscles with other workouts, I have found I CAN actually run... (Even if I do typically walk like an 85 year old man for a day or two afterwards!)
This time the run was different though, I typically listen to random music for the first couple miles, then begin praying and pray through the last mile of my run (I get that 3 miles is not that far, but it is for me), however tonight I listened to techno music without words and prayed the entire time.
I prayed for the things I am seeking, the things I desire for my life, I spilled out my desires and gave them up, the things I want more than other (insert list here) things in my life.. I prayed for salvation for a few friends, I prayed for struggles, I prayed for God to reveal Himself to various people in new ways, I prayed for the hearts and pains of others, I prayed for health, and jobs, and exhaustion for all different people I love in my life.. I prayed for wisdom, peace, patience, compassion, love, joy, understanding, knowledge, Truth.. I prayed for the various things on my 3x5 bathroom mirror cards... Basically, I prayed. For the longest, most focused and most sincere period of time than I have in quite a while...
*Pause and insert additional background information*
At my church we are mid 21 days of prayer. I love it. I love my church, I love what Jesus is doing, and I am loving this series. It is speaking to me, beckoning me to a deeper relationship and communication with my Lord and my Savior. I have been somewhat surprised that I do not feel at all like this is something else I "have" to do.. this is something that I must do because my very core is calling out for it. My favorite part is my pastor (Mark Batterson) keeps stressing that even if we have no idea what to say, it is perfect to ask the Lord to "teach me to pray." I have been uttering that phrase so many times over the last couple weeks.. I could go on and on (and will likely do so another time) about the things I am learning about prayer these last few weeks, however this last Sunday we heard a story about a woman who made a deal with God that if He would bless her husband's ministry, she would meet him at 9am every morning (she had several other things that were part of her deal with God as well, but this was the one that struck me).
So, I have been mulling over the idea of "making a deal" or committing to something with God. Not because I want to test Him, not because I want Him to prove something, and not because I am doubting Him or His ability to do certain things in my life... I wanted to make this commitment because I want to learn to pray through.. I want to experience my sweet savior in a new way. I want to experience a relationship and a solid faith unlike anything I have experienced before. I want to see God's faithfulness explode.
So, while I was running, I decided, this was perfect for me. I prayed and told God that I would run as long as I am able (meaning for my entire life), if He would meet me there. Meet me while I ran, and would create space for me to meet Him. Running is not my favorite thing ever, I (really) do not particularly care for it... But, it is good for me physically, and now it will be good for me mentally and spiritually as well. So, I will run for the rest of my life... until I am unable to run, and then I will walk... And, I will begin to make that a priority so my Lord can meet me there to speak to me and hear me.
I am full of a little trepidation, but mostly I am excited to see what He does with this time, this period committed to Him. I am excited to see how this changes my life purely by encountering Him new.
I am circling this prayer.