Training Your Faith and Your Body
Using Faith to Lose Weight
Training Your Faith
I often suggest to people that they pair up with a workout partner who is stronger and further along in his or her sport, in order to be stretched beyond their normal limits. For that reason, Jimmy Page, my friend, ordained minister and counselor, has laid the foundation of faith between the covers of PrayFit. His heart and love for the Lord, and his biblical insight, will be a reservoir for you, as they have been for me. Listen as he describes his perspective on the importance of daily quiet time with God, in his own words:
For years, I thought I could grow spiritually and become a man of God by going to church on Sunday, getting in a quick, five-minute devotion in the morning and praying over my meals. I regularly compared where I was spiritually with others, and since I was also leading a Bible study and was involved in men’s ministry at my church, I figured I was in better shape than most in my pursuit of God.
But the reality was this—most of the time I was just playing around with my faith. I didn’t spend enough time with God to actually grow or experience significant life change.
What I was doing was the equivalent of a spiritual warm-up. I rarely, if ever, got to the training part! And I certainly didn’t have much of a plan. As a result, I had the appearance of godliness without much transformational experience. I had a great reputation, but my words lacked wisdom, my attitude lacked humility, my heart lacked compassion and my life lacked power. What I’ve found is that my experience is pretty common. In fact, there’s a good chance that you’ve felt this way as well and may even be experiencing this right now.
In 1 Timothy 4:7-8, Paul says, “Train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” In other words, physical training is good, but spiritual training is better. And I believe the two go hand in hand. Paul is making the case that if you want to grow spiritually, if you want to be changed on the inside, you will have to train.
For many of us, our spiritual life probably mirrors our physical. We make resolutions and have good intentions to get in shape. We get off to a good start with exercise and eating better, and we even start to feel so good that we wonder why we ever stopped the last time. We see results, and our friends even tell us that they see a difference. They even ask what we’re doing because they want what we have—energy, enthusiasm, weight loss and strength. And then, almost inevitably, the chaos of life gets in the way and we get derailed. In order to get stronger in our relationship with God, it’s going to take a sacrifice of time, effort and energy. Can you even imagine what life might look like if we put as much time and energy into “spiritual exercise” as we do the physical?
I have personally experienced the life-changing power of God’s Word, and I know you will too. Join us as we do whatever it takes to reconnect with God, renew our mind and refresh our soul.
Thanks, brother. And so, with Page’s help, we’ve created a spiritual training program that gives you what you need each day to grow closer to Jesus. With PrayFit, you will read the life-changing Word of God. You will be pushed to take a clear look at your life, to let God reveal areas that need change, and then to put these biblical principles into practice. You will have an opportunity to pray and record your thoughts and even memorize key verses that encourage your faith to grow.
On each page, you’ll encounter these elements in clearly laid out sections:
1. The Exercise: A daily reading followed by a broader study designed to help you get more out of Scripture.
2. Pastor’s Point: A question—or two, or three—designed to provoke thought on the day’s reading and what it might tell you about God’s will for your life. This section will also include additional verses that further illustrate the day’s lesson.
3. Walking with Him: Consider this your spiritual exercise for the day. This faith-based directive will help you take steps toward a deeper relationship with the Lord.
4. Journal Space: Use this space to jot down your reaction to that day’s reading, lay out goals or to note interesting points about the study that you’d like to revisit.
Training Your Body
PrayFit is all about daily decisions. In fact, the PrayFit philosophy that we’ve designed is built on the foundation of minute-by-minute, day-by-day decisions. The mere fact that you’re reading the words on this page is a testament to your God-given, strive-to-be-better nature. Somewhere deep inside your gut you’ve made a decision: You’re going to take back your health. And now that you’re committing to make better food choices and spend a few minutes training the inner and outer man, you might be asking yourself, “Where do I start?” We understand.
Step into the magazine aisle of your local bookstore and you’re immediately hit with informational vertigo. Shelves littered with specialized fitness publications stretch into the distance, straining under the weight of the latest trends, fads and gimmicks. Head to the Web and you find more of the same. Those who are looking to simply trim a few inches off of their waistline or add a little muscle to their frame quickly become discouraged—not knowing which route is best, they rationalize that it is perhaps easier to never begin. Fitness, sadly, is one instance where the availability of info can be more a hindrance than a help.
The plain truth is that you don’t need an expensive trainer, a pricey gym membership or even a subscription to an industry magazine. It is, as ever, about simplicity, consistency, progression and effort. Put those fundamentals together, as we do in PrayFit, and your body will respond in kind.
So go with your gut, because we’ve got your back. You’ve stepped over the line; the decision has been made. It’s time to get PrayFit.
The best type of exercise is the kind that you will continue to do. And right at the top of the list for exercise that you will not continue to do is the complicated kind. No one sticks to a scheme that is replete with so many twists, turns and techniques that it’s hard to keep it all straight. The good news is that you don’t have to. Basic bodyweight movements use plenty of musculature, building a solid groundwork of strength for whatever goals you may have beyond these 28 to 56 days. PrayFit walks you through a basic, easy-to-follow routine that you can do in your living room—with zero equipment and even less hassle.
People think that you have to perform some kind of activity every day to start effecting change in your appearance, health and vitality. While that’s ideal, it’s not entirely true. On this program, we’ll ask you to challenge yourself physically four days per week—Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday—for four weeks. Looking at it that way, you are only exercising 16 days out of a month. If you’d like to infuse other activity into your calendar over the course of these 28 to 56 days, be our guest. But the prescribed, bare-bones program laid out here will be plenty for you to handle if you’re going full steam, particularly if you’re new to exercise or are returning from a long layoff.
There is no understating the importance of progression when it comes to changing the body. You must remember: The body will only change to the level it is stressed. Loosely translated: If you keep challenging yourself, your body will keep getting stronger, fitter, leaner and faster. The PrayFit program revolves around daily progression. During each workout, you’ll aim to beat your previous results, both in total reps and in time. For example, if in yesterday’s workout, you completed 10 incline push-ups, 20 bodyweight squats and 30 crunches in, say, 5 minutes and 32 seconds, you’d want to do at least 11 incline push-ups, 21 bodyweight squats and 31 crunches in today’s workout—in under 5 minutes and 32 seconds. And each week will build on the week before by adding new exercises and additional rounds of work. (For an illustration of how this works, see page 26.)
Your best effort today is your baseline goal for the next. Each workout is a chance to build on what you did last time. You’d be surprised what you can do when you strive for “just one more.” The body, you’ll remember, is the Lord’s handiwork, and while we are each uniquely crafted, we all have enormous capacity to give a greater effort in all we do. This all-out attack on your previous best will keep you motivated and accountable. And when you start to see the reps climbing and your times falling, you’ll be thankful you didn’t hold anything back. Besides, these workouts are all very short in nature—likely topping out at 20 to 30 minutes for most people by the final week—so every second, every rep is even more valuable. Remember: Halfhearted efforts will, without fail, produce halfhearted results.