What was the last thing you prayed about? A loved one? A particular trial you are dealing with? Maybe it was just a prayer thanking God that right now things are pretty good. When was the last time that you prayed specifically for a need related to your physical health? If you suffer from chronic pain of some sort, then the topic probably comes up regularly in your conversations with God. And it usually sounds something like “God, please take this (insert specific issue here) from me.” But for most of us, the challenges pertaining to our physical health are the garden variety, day-to-day kind. Finding the motivation to exercise. Making proper food choices. Planning and prioritizing. It all sounds plain enough. Then why is it so difficult to overcome these challenges? It’s because we try to do it on our own. But here’s the good news. You don’t have to do it alone. We have a companion on this journey to physical health.
“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8.
This leads me to the fourth and last essential component to making lasting improvements in our physical health. Communication. We need to be in communication with our companion if we hope to get anywhere in this journey. And that is through prayer. For most of us, this journey of changing our habits, preconceptions, and priorities in relationship to our physical health is a difficult and often times painful one. It involves sacrifice. It involves time and effort. It involves searching myself, recognizing and admitting my own faults and weaknesses. And it involves admitting that I can’t do it of my own strength. Then it involves going to the Lord in prayer.
“Seek the Lord and HIS strength; seek His presence continually.” I Chronicles 16:1.
This means that in EVERY area of weakness in our lives, we need to seek not our own strength, but HIS strength. And for many of us, taking care of ourselves physically is a weakness. One that we have tried to overcome in our own strength. Possibly at times we have been successful, but often that success was only temporary because it was never grounded on the solid foundation of a changed heart. And only God can change the heart. Only when we are able to admit our weakness and ask for His help, will we begin to experience the kinds of lifelong changes necessary for long-term physical health. I like The Message translation of the following verse
“My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9.
Only when we recognize our lack of strength, can we start to see His strength manifested. Start today asking the Lord for His strength to change your priorities. Ask Him for His strength to overcome your food addictions. Ask Him for His strength to get up 30 minutes early and exercise. Ask Him for His strength to make the sacrifices necessary to get healthy. You don’t have to do it alone. That’s the good news!