Several years ago, I made it my practice always to pray before I begin exercising. I have been reasonably consistent in this endeavor as well. My simple but effective prayer is essentially always the same. I ask the Lord to give me three things as I work out. I ask for: (1) provision, (2) protection, and (3) production.
I ask first for provision, meaning that I ask God to give me the wherewithal from within to work out. Let’s be honest: without a desire, a passion, a motivation to exercise, not much will be accomplished.
After this, I ask for protection. The older I get, the more I realize how susceptible to injury I am. After all is said and done, the body is indeed a frail thing. Even when the spirit is willing, if the flesh is weak, not much can be accomplished. So I ask the Lord to watch over my body as I exercise and to protect me from injury.
Lastly, I ask for production. By this I mean that the whole process needs to serve some greater purpose. Exercise for the sake of exercise means very little. As the Bible asserts (in I Timothy 4:8), in relation to eternity, bodily exercise profits little. So, there has to be some greater purpose, which for me is the conditioning of the body as God’s temple in order that I will be better suited to tend to things of eternal significance.
I like to think that God has both heard and answered that simple prayer. Admittedly, there are days when I feel more like working out than others. But for the most part, I find the required motivation to exercise each day. Likewise, while I have my share of nagging complaints, I have never really suffered any serious injuries. And exercising regularly really does make me feel more productive in life.
For these reasons, as of late, I have found myself applying this little prayer to various other endeavors in life as well. And I have discovered that it has applicability to a great many other pursuits in addition to mere bodily exercise.
Whether I am fulfilling more professional roles, such as that of pastor, preacher, teacher, writer, or administrator, or whether I am fulfilling more personal roles, such as that of husband, father, son, or brother, I find that a simple little prayer along these lines still applies:
“Lord, please give me divine provision as I undertake this activity. Let me have a holy passion so that I will apply myself with the appropriate dedication to the task at hand.
Please give me divine protection as well. The evil one would gladly cause me to stumble or otherwise hamper me as I proceed. May your protective hand be upon me so that he is thwarted in his intentions.
And lastly, please give me divine productivity as well. Let what I am doing matter. Let the outcome be such that it glorifies You and that it impacts others in a positive way. More than this: let it have some impact on eternity.
Thank you for hearing my prayer, for I offer it in the name of Jesus Christ.”