So my dilemma is just how badly do I want stronger arms? Enough to push past the excuses and the "I can't want to's"? Or am I willing to settle and what will I be settling for? As I have pondered this question, I realize that if I don't do the hard work now, I could possibly be giving up things that are still very important to me. I might not be able to pick up my grandkids who are getting heavier by the day. Nor would I be able to garden as easily, or to work the horses, lifting heavy saddles. All because I let excuses rule me, instead of determination. Not any more! Age is becoming an enemy in the strength department. I can not afford to do nothing while time marches on.
It is no coincidence that as I have begun to work on strengthening my arms, I have also been working on developing stronger, deeper, more specific, fervent prayer. There is an interesting parallel between physical strength and spiritual strength. Both take hard work and determination and both have an enemy to be fought against and overcome. The enemy of prayer is Satan. He is a master of distraction whose aim is to derail us spiritually. When his strategies are deployed, our minds fill with negativity, worry, fear and self-doubt. We become satisfied with haphazard, rote, generic prayer, something done out of duty, or only when there is a pressing need. Passionless, powerless prayers. Weak flabby arms. Put that picture in your mind, because that's what weak prayers are. Not very effective.
I'm not satisfied with that. I've got too much to pray for and too much to do to succumb to either weak prayer or weak arms. I don't know about you, but I am pretty sure there are people who need my prayers, and I will be letting them down to just accept the status quo of praying. Nope - I want the deep, specific, fervent, pray with out ceasing kind of prayers. I want prayer to be as easy and as vital to life as breathing. I want to do battle in prayer; to go to war in prayer, for this country, for my loved ones, for His kingdom.
So how does this happen? Prayer is labor intensive. How do we go from desire to depth? How do we move from wanting a deeper more effectual prayer life to actually having one?
The same way I am trying to get stronger arms. Here are 5 principles I am using to grow stronger physically and spiritually.
1. You can't do it alone. Period. End. Of. Story.
You've got to enlist a partner, someone to come alongside you encouraging you doing this with you. Being accountable to
another person is a very effective tool to getting anything done.
2. You need training. You must read and get information. Become a student of what you are hoping to grow stronger in.
Ask for advice from a trusted stronger source.
3. You have got to get in the water, so to speak. You've got to jump in with both feet. Just start. Not tomorrow...today.
4. You have to get into a groove, a routine, a habit. Plan it out. Write it down in your planner.. Put it on your to-do list- daily.
5. You have to be fully aware of how hard it will be - at first. Realize you have an enemy- Satan- who will pull every trick in his
arsenal to derail you and defeat you.
In my desire to grow stronger in prayer, I have enlisted others, and we are currently reading scriptures on prayer and reading through a excellent book on prayer by Priscilla Shirer, "FERVENT - A woman's battle plan for serious, specific and strategic prayer." In it she writes,
"If I were your enemy (Satan), I'ld want to devalue the most potent weapons in your arsenal."
What a true statement! When we devalue prayer, by not praying effectively, we handicap ourselves. We take our most powerful weapon, a weapon designed to help us be victorious and joyful in our Christian walk, and hang it up to gather dust. The subtitle of her book, " A battle plan for serious, specific and strategic prayer," is what our prayers should be. That's what fervent is. Fervent prayer is having prayers so saturated in faith that Satan's fiery darts can't get through. Powerful. Passionate.
He trains my hands for battle, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze. Psalms 18:34
What about you? What bow of bronze are you being called to bend...in prayer? Make no mistake, we are in a war, and we must train for battle. We can't afford not to. There is an enemy to defeat.
Thanks Meg, Brit and Joan for coming alongside me to strengthen prayer muscles. Thanks Brenda for being my arm strengthening partner. And Cody- my patient eldest son- thank you for writing out the plan, and going to the gym with two grey haired women patiently teaching us how to use the equipment. You are a tough trainer. I'm still sore!