“Prayer Muscles at the Gym”

The astounding news spread like wildfire. Migraines, pain, and occasional vertigo were getting oppressive. Pleads from friends and loved ones finally resulted in a visit to the emergency room, where a fist sized tumor was found deeply embedded in the brain.

Where do you turn when traumatic or devastating news turns a smooth cruise through life into a landslide of heart wrenching anxiety and turmoil? Where is there a place where people can get refuge from a smothering relationship situation or medical emergency?

Go to the gym.  But will that fix it?

The gym we would probably think of right away is the traditional weight-lifting or exercise facility to strengthen physical muscles. But the spiritual gym where the power of prayer opens the way for exponentially amplified results. Physical exercise brings slow but steady strength to our physical capabilities. And the lack of traditional exercise allows the body to begin decline in tone, strength, and endurance.

The spiritual gym has so many parallels, but builds on something unique. God’s strength never changes, but how He chooses to use it depends directly on our faith and our prayer lives. We know that construction equipment uses hydraulics or electrical servos to amplify very small human hand or foot movements into powerful actions of mechanical machines that can tear down a building in minutes, or lift tons of steel in one load, or transport massive cargo into and out of the holds in mighty ships. The movies Avatar and Aliens show the uses of equipment to increase basic human capability to attack or defend. But God is THE ultimate advantage in getting things done.

When we exercise physically, our heart rate climbs when those physical muscles are giving it their all. Prayer is when we exercise our faith by lifting things like praise, burdens, concerns, thanks, or simple requests. Our heart rate also climbs when we are deep in prayer, but the results are different. Elijah sees fire fall after prayer. Jabez gets everything he requested after prayer. Daniel prays and lions start fasting. Jesus teaches us how to pray effectively, by words and by example. People pray for imprisoned Peter, and he shows up at the house where they were praying.

The friend of mine who had that fist-sized brain tumor was lifted in prayer by hundreds of people. Was it coincidence that the #1 surgeon for THAT type of tumor just happened to be in Cincinnati? Was it typical that friends and family members laid their physical hands on the doctor and prayed for him before he started surgery? How was it possible that a man who was expected to spend at least 3 days in ICU, went home on the third day? He was expected to have losses in motor skills because of the tumor size and location, and then showed no signs of any loss of motor skills after the surgery. Was it prayer or was it God? That’s not a good question because they are directly linked and intertwined.

Going to the spiritual gym allows us to spend time with the Creator, not with an inanimate pile of steel. BEING in prayer with our Creator is a transformational experience for us, as well as the subject of our petition. Our spiritual muscles increase when we spend that precious commodity called time, with the very One who can amplify the desires of our hearts lifting others instead of free weights.

“Lord, impress on us the reason why we pray. It’s not to get something, but it’s to be something. Lord, forgive us from all the times we didn’t come to You. Take our petitions and exercise Your power in answering them for Your glory. Allow us to also bask in Your presence while we are in prayer, and pressure us to return so we don’t become flabby. In Christ’s Name. Amen.”

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