By Not Known
Many of us go to the gym regularly or engage in some other form of physical exercise. This helps us stay healthy and builds fitness.
But what about exercise for the soul? What do we do to develop godliness within ourselves? The Bible motivates us to spiritual exercise by holding out the promise of great gains:
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.(1 Tim 4: 8)
How do we exercise the soul?
Prayer is a key builder of spiritual muscle. it builds our relationship with God by putting us in the closest contact with him. It gives a spiritual orientation to life, for we go to the day's work after time near to the heart of God. It gives a test of conscience, as we ask whether some matter is a source of thanks or shame before God.
Like physical exercise, prayer requires discipline and hard work. People who give themselves to prayer need to organise their time to create ‘space’ for prayer and to keep at it when the going is tough and when a thousand distractions intrude.
However, prayer is also a delight. Once we cross certain thresholds, prayer becomes a lovely conversation with God, rather like a relaxed chat with someone who knows us well and accepts us just as we are. When prayer gets to this level, the discipline may become much easier.
Prayer not only builds spiritual fitness, but is also its evidence. As the example of Jesus himself shows, prayer reflects the nature of our relationship with God. Conversation is a mark of earthly friendship and prayer is the mark of heavenly friendship
All this being said, prayer is an area of lifelong struggle for many of us. Whether it be personality or the busyness of life, we never feel that we pray as we want to. Let us share one another's struggles and learn from the word of God as it teaches us how to pray and encourages us to do so.
A final thought: how much do we invest in spiritual exercise, in comparison with our investment in physical exercise?