How to raise your spirits and shrink your waistline at the same time
It's the ultimate one two combo. I didn't invent it and I can't patent it, but I use it constantly. I do it so much that I was once mistaken for a homeless vagabond. A man in a truck that I had met in a coffee shop pulled up to the curb and rolled down his window. "Are you okay?", he asked. Somewhat taken aback I grinned and said,"Yeah, why?" "I see you walking around everywhere. Do you have any place to go?" And at that I burst out in laughter. "I'm not homeless", I said. "I'm prayer walking."
I didn't find it in Scripture. I mean, except for the fact that prayer is taught and walking was the normal mode of transportation. I just decided to marry the two together to reap a greater return. I get to pray and walk! And once began to practice it on a regular basis, I began to see even more benefits than I had imagined. I believe you will too.
What makes prayer walking so amazing?
1. It keeps blood sugar down.
Blood sugar regulation is a key component to health. Keeping these levels stable is extremely important to combat insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. I like to prayer walk after a meal or in the evenings when my blood sugar would be at it's naturally highest levels. Postprandial, or after eating, walking is the perfect time to take a stroll and keep those blood sugar levels in optimal range and avoid energy crashing. Even better, it will prevent the energy of glucose from being stored as body fat. Bottom line, you won't accumulate fat.
2. It makes you happy
The studies are out, the science is conclusive. Exercise supports the production of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, key chemicals for mood enhancement. It doesn't take running a marathon or completing a heavy weight lifting session. Just a few minutes around the neighborhood will amplify the production of these chemicals. Exercise isn't alone in this. Clean air, full spectrum natural light, and green environments also help the body to release these chemicals, as well as lower blood pressure and improve sleep quality. One thing, though, that can't go without mentioning, you're praying! The act of praying, especially gratuitous prayer has been shown to blow these chemicals through the roof. Being in an environment, performing a physical and spiritual activity that promotes happy hormones is a triple whammy! You will feel absolutely amazing!
3. It burns fat
As mentioned before, walking lowers blood sugar. When food is ingested, the pancreas releases a hormone called insulin. Insulin then shuttles glucose, or blood sugar, from the blood into the cells of the body for energy. Too much glucose and it get's stored as fat. No bueno! However, as you walk you are using energy and burning up blood sugar to prevent this from happening. Here's something even better. While walking in at a conversational pace, your body is primarily using body fat for fuel. This is called the aerobic pathway. Oxygen plus the release of fatty acids creates a fuel that your body can run on for a long time. While you are walking, you are literally melting fat and improving your cardiovascular system to become more efficient at burning more fat!
4. You pray for people/things you didn't know existed
It's easy to find your "prayer closet" and pray in private. I think that is a good and necessary thing. Unlike private prayer. though, prayer walking opens you up to things that you didn't know existed. As I prayer walk, I notice houses, buildings, business, and people in and around my neighborhood. As I see toys and playhouses in yards, I know to pray for the children in that home. As I see wheel chair ramps leading up to a porch I prayer for the elderly who or handicapped that lives there. I pray over local business for success and blessings. I pray for people that stroll passed me. It opens me up to a whole world of prayer needs. Honestly, just praying for others rather than focusing on myself has its own form of blessing. It simply raises my spirit.
5. You encounter God around the corner.
God is not just hanging out in our homes and offices. He is mightily at work all around us. He is doing things that we cannot imagine, BUT, He is inviting us along to be on mission with Him. Once while prayer walking I ran into a man just sitting in a lawn chair in his driveway. I had been praying that God would put someone in my way to stop and share with. I guess this was him. We bantered back and forth for a moment and he began to tell me how that just the other day he was driving and went into a seizure. When he came to, he was 3 miles further down the windy old country road, sitting parked out in a hay field off the road. He was shaken but safe. His conclusion was "God took hold of my steering wheel!" At that admission I asked him if he'd ever considered giving his life to Jesus. "Yeah! As a matter of fact I've been wanting to but I didn't know how.", he responded. Right then and there I shared the Gospel and welcomed him to the family. I baptized him the following week at church as he is still faithful. The Bible tells us that Jesus "went about anointed in the Spirit doing good deeds and healing all people under the tyranny of the devil." rf Acts 10. Prayer walking is a perfect way to get into the game, to go about and heal. Prayer heals. It heals your soul. It heals their lives.
Think of prayer walking as a the perfect holistic discipline. In one fell swoop, you are actively engaging in increasing your levels of physical health and spiritual health! Try it today and see for yourself.