Make Believe

"So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing." --1 Corinthians 9:26

Read: 1 Corinthians 9

As I was leaving Gio's Boxing Gym in Burbank (Calif.), amid the familiar cadence of speed bags and jump ropes, something a cornerman yelled to his boxer caught my attention. "Stop trying to look like a fighter and be a fighter!" he said. I literally stopped in my tracks. What a powerful statement. Just how powerful, I'd realize just moments later.

Walking toward my truck, I came upon a film crew about to shoot a documentary -- a boxing documentary, no doubt. Lights, cameras and make-up. I stood for what seemed like years and watched a make-up artist applying shades of purple, black and blue to an actor's face and under his eyes. Boxing gloves? Check. Legitimate shorts? Those too. But he wasn't dressed for - nor returning from - a real battle. "Stop trying to look like a fighter and be a fighter," ironically echoed in my head.

I wonder about my faith. And maybe you wonder about yours. Am I a make-believer in life? Or do I help make believers with my life? Like the verse above, I don't want to shadowbox. I want purpose. Give me somethin' to hit.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: In what area of your life, spiritually or physically, do you need to stand to fight? How can the Prayfit community pray for you? List your battles below or simply list them as "unspoken request(s)".


A CNN report recently called attention to the latest casualty in the childhood obesity epidemic: school furniture manufacturers. Because of the expanding waistlines of children -- a full 15 to 17% of all kids are over 95th percentile for obesity -- manufacturers are forced to develop desks that can accommodate them. Child car seat manufacturers are also having to adjust with new designs to keep heavier kids safe.

"Childhood obesity affects their safety in matters beyond child seats and ill-fitting school furniture," the report says. "Obese kids are more likely to get heart disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure and are more prone to diabetes, bone and joint problems. Their health problems are also more likely to follow into adulthood."

>> For the full report from CNN, click here.

ACTION PLAN: Let's be part of the solution. Today, take stock of how much activity your children are getting each day, taking physical education at school and organized sports into account as well. Discuss the importance of regular activity with your child and make today the first day of a scheduled family “workout,” where you spend 15-20 minutes exercising, walking or playing together.

A Dangerous Prayer

"Why did we ever leave Egypt?" -Numbers 11:20

Read: Numbers 11

Did you catch it? They actually missed prison. Not long after the Israelites met freedom, they actually longed for captivity. Behind bars they had no choices. As inmates, they had no responsibility. Even though they were trapped, they were warm, cozy, and full. Their prayer for freedom was a dangerous one. Nothing a generation in the desert couldn't answer.

What about us? When was the last time you and I prayed dangerously? About finances, a relationship...our health? See, once they were set free, the Israelites faced the need for obedience and responsibility; so do we. Folks, our bodies are merely tools, not finished products. Better fitness simply means better equipped. It's tough to visit the poor from the couch, and it's impossible to see the hurting in our own mirror. But we're warm, cozy, and full (even if of ourselves). (Note: this should speak to both the fit and the not-so-fit.)

If God allows us the opportunity for better health, what will we do with it? Will we sit? Focus on ourselves? Will we allow a generation to wander before we see health as a means of praise? If so, why did we ever leave Egypt?

Jimmy Peña


A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who consistently consume more calories than they burn each day will lose lean muscle and accumulate body fat more easily if their diets contain too little protein and too much fat and carbohydrates.

The results of the study suggest that the minimum protein intake federal health officials currently recommend -- 46 grams per day for women and 56 grams per day for men -- may not be enough to maintain muscle mass in some people. The study participants needed to consume at least 78 grams of protein per day to avoid losing muscle.

>> For the full story from CNN, click here.

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May 5, 2011 Read: Luke 22

"Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done." --Luke 22:42

Though my tiny legs hate me for it, I still head outdoors for a run 2-3 times a week, usually along a two-mile path that takes me around a nearby park. Last week, as temperatures hit the low-to-mid 90s, I found my run labored. Sweat poured from my brow and my legs felt heavy. For a moment, I considered skipping my next sprint and settling into a nice walk for the rest of the way. Then, I noticed the fatigues.

Camped out under a tree to catch what little shade there was to be found, an Army recruiter was coaching a prospective soldier though a set of sit-ups. A hundred yards up the trail, I notice a small group of high school-age guys running my way -- each of them appeared to be waging his own personal battle against the heat, fighting every natural instinct to quit. Each young man in the group was wearing an Army t-shirt. A newer, fitter Army requires soldiers to be in better shape and for these teens, it was training day.

At a time of day when most of their peers were heading to the community pool, these young men were preparing for the privilege to serve. Knowing the dangers inherent to the jobs that they were committing their lives to, not to mention the derision they'd face from their lesser-motivated classmates, these brave young men still chose to defend 307 million people they'd never meet as their trade. Though none of them hoped it would ever come to it, each of them was prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, and in doing so they unwittingly mirror the life (and death) of another soldier.

Though he feared his demise (Luke 22:42), Jesus voluntarily endured mockery, ridicule and ultimately the pain and suffering of the cross for you and me.  Bravery isn't necessarily the act of charging into the breach, but rather a willingness to answer the call.


SWEET NEWS ON SALT New research is rewriting the recommendations on sodium consumption

There are so many things out there that can harm us. Why does salt have to be one of them? For years, we've learned that this tasty seasoning should be consumed only in moderation -- that high sodium consumption could lead to heart disease and high blood pressure -- leaving us to lead cautious and bland nutritional existences.  But newer research is laying rest to these guidelines.

A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association followed over 3,000 healthy European men and women and found that higher-than-normal sodium consumption did not appear to increase the risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure) or having a heart attack. What's more startling was that they found those who consumed the least salt had a 56 percent higher risk of death from a heart attack or stroke compared with those who had the highest consumption, even after controlling for obesity, cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, and other risk factors.

While we're not going to encourage you to schedule a Salt Party, researchers concluded that some individuals simply appear to be more sensitive to the mineral than others and that sweeping guidelines for its consumption may be ill-advised.

For the full story, head to CNN Health.

>> WHAT'S YOUR SUCCESS STORY? Have you lost a ton of weight? Fought off diabetes? Have you been able to drastically change your lifestyle through regular diet and exercise? We want to hear from you. Take a moment to submit your story in our Success Stories forum, or just stop in to encourage others.





April 7, 2011Read: 1 Kings 10

"Indeed, not even half was told me..." --1 Kings 10:7

I'm likely giving away my age, but I grew up listening to Paul Harvey on the radio. Many of you might remember his opening line, "Hello Americans, this is Paul Harvey. Stand by for news!" with added emphasis on "news." Others might recognize his classic closing salutation, "Paul Harvey...good day!"

But my favorite part of his legendary broadcast was a frame called, "The Rest of the Story," where we'd wait in wonder as he took us down a historical path on any number of subjects before finally unveiling the surprise at the end.

You know, our lives might be a lot like a Paul Harvey story. After all sorts of twists and turns, pitfalls and mountain tops, breakdowns and breakthroughs, God will unveil Heaven's surprise. And though we've read about streets of gold and those gates made of pearl, we will someday see just how badly words failed. And I like to think that maybe, just maybe, God will look at you and He'll look at me with tear-filled eyes and say, "And now you know, the rest of the story."


UNDERESTIMATED WEIGHT New study shows most moms and kids may not be in touch with the gravity of the problem

If you don't stand on a scale everyday, don't worry. While studies show that those who are dieting have a better chance of keeping on track if they weigh themselves regularly, there are a great many people that don't have the faintest clue how much they weigh. But Columbia University researchers found that most moms and kids who are overweight tend to underestimate their weight -- and each other's.

Just under two-thirds of the mothers were overweight or obese, as were nearly 40% of the children, who ranged in age from 7 to 13, according to the story, which appeared on CNN. The vast majority of the overweight people weighed more than they thought they did -- and the heavier they were, the more likely they were to underestimate their weight.

Eighty-two percent of the obese women underestimated their weight, compared with 43% of overweight and 13% of normal-weight women. Likewise, 86% of overweight or obese children failed to correctly estimate their weight, compared with just 15% of normal-weight children.

"In order to target the obesity epidemic, we need to improve perceptions of body weight and create healthy image goals," says the lead author of the study, Nicole E. Dumas, M.D., an internal medicine resident at Columbia University Medical Center, in New York. "But how do we change perceptions? That's the big question."

Source: CNN

>> COMING THIS FALL: The front line in the fight for healthier families starts in our homes. This fall, PrayFit will roll out its second print project, PrayFit Family, which provides 28 days of biblically-based devotions, healthy-living tips, recipes and other tools to help build stronger, more faithful families. More info coming soon!

>> ORDER: To order PrayFit's debut book, PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days (Regal Books), which contains two, 28-day, at-home exercise programs and meal plans, click here.

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