Loretta

26.2 (The Finish)

"Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." --1 Corinthians 9:24

Read: 1 Corinthians 9

Loretta's half-marathon in D.C. last week brought back memories of her first-ever 26.2 race. Hope you enjoy my memories.

Twenty-six miles. Well, 26.2 to be exact. Driving back from San Diego, Loretta checked the online results for her first marathon. The four hours and 14 minutes it took her to run a little over 26 miles represented the culmination of countless days and weeks of preparation and sacrifice. And for a non-runner like her husband, it represented four hours and 14 minutes of pride and excitement.

Finding my perfect place on the course, I hunkered down. With camera in hand, I anxiously awaited the love of my life to turn the corner and head for home. And as I waited, I took some notes, some of which I'll share with you this week. It just so happens that a marathon is to a fitness writer what a farmer's market is to a chef; plenty of ingredients from which to choose.

Oh, and yes, Loretta turned the corner indeed. Just like I knew she would. With a flushed face, she put one foot in front of the other and ran right to me. Well, she finished the race (of course), but I took her home. All things being equal, somehow I think God understands the marathon.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Yesterday, we celebrated our smallness. What does it mean to you that while you and I run our little race, He has His eye on us, caring for us, rooting for us! He understands our short marathon! Maybe tomorrow I'll share with you an old entry from my one and only race but the thought of the Lord cheering me on as I run the vapor-quick life He gave me just helps me put one foot in front of the other. Love to know your thoughts.

PRAYFIT-HAT-BLACK-26FOR THE RUNNERS: Are you a runner? Marathoner? Half-marathoner? Hope to be? Well, whatever your experience level, please visit the store for some of our latest items in our black and white collection (and share with your running friends). We have new hat selections, new tanks and tees and other resources you need to run your race! Thank you for supporting our ministry. Be blessed. And keep running.

Final Prayfit Diet CoverA 33-DAY MAKEOVER

The simplicity of The PrayFit Diet -- perfect caloric balance with protein, fat and carbs -- can help you get incredibly healthy and find your motivation for a lifetime to stay that way. Here are a few of the more frequently asked questions about this effective eating plan

Q: Is the PrayFit Diet a diet?

A: The PrayFit Diet is only a diet in name. It is more accurately described as a lifestyle adjustment that addresses our relationship with food. It is a 33-day program that calls for balanced caloric intake from the three macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates). Research shows that when food is eaten in these proportions, health is maximized, fat loss is optimized and inflammation is minimized.

Q: Why is it 33 days?

A: The PrayFit Diet was built out as a 33-day plan because it pays tribute to the 33 years Jesus gave us and because a month-long plan is proven to by research to be highly effective time frame to create change within the body and to develop positive eating habits.

Q: How much weight can I lose on the PrayFit Diet?

A: This is perhaps the most asked question when it comes to any nutrition book. Those who follow the program to the letter, particularly those with more weight to lose, can lose up to 20 pounds in 33 days in combination with regular activity. But this book goes so far beyond the pounds and inches that you stand to lose this month. Because we don't ask you to eliminate any macros, as is the case with some "diets," you are not left feeling deprived. You will be getting enough carbs to fuel workouts and daily activity, enough protein to repair and build muscle and enough fat to cushion joints and bolster heart health. Because of this, the PrayFit Diet is utterly sustainable. No need to cycle off and come back to it. By following the principles outlined in these pages, you'll have the only manual you need to feed yourself and your family healthy, wholesome meals, day in and day out, forever.

>> To order a copy of The PrayFit Diet for yourself or someone else, click here!

Embrace Your Smallness

Truth is, I can't be reminded of it enough. Although some days present scenarios that help me realize it better than others, life has a way of offering a million visible souvenirs of one simple, solitary, certain fact: I am extremely small. lettadoorphotoThis picture I took of Loretta at the front door of the National Archives building in Washington D.C. last week provided such a jolt to my ever forgetful memory; a memory that wants pride to drape its blinding and extremely convincing veil across my eyes. As if any amount of temporary success, or healing, or health could somehow add height or depth to my otherwise feeble self. Cue the memento. As I snapped this pic of Loretta pretending to reach for the handle, I immediately remembered something Louie Giglio wrote:

"You and I are tiny. Miniscule. Microscopic. A momentary and infinitesimal blip on the timeline of the universe. Among us, the strongest of the strong can be felled in one faltering heartbeat. We are fleeting mortals. Frail flesh. Little specks. If this fact makes you just a tad bit uncomfortable, you're not alone. Invariably, when I talk about the vastness of God and the cosmos, someone will say, 'You're making me feel bad about myself and making me feel really, really small,' (as if that's the worst thing that could happen.) But the point is not to make you feel small, rather to help you see and embrace the reality that you are small...Really, really small." --Louie Giglio, excerpt from I Am Not But I Know I Am

Of course, it's not so much about how small we are but all about how big God is...really, really big. And yet despite how tiny we are relative to the cosmos, God, who can line up every planet of every galaxy in the palm of His hand, sent His Son to willingly die on the cross as penalty for my mistakes -- and for yours. All because a great, big God loves us.

So welcome to Monday. I hope you have a week full of great, big reminders of just how little you are. In fact, embrace your smallness. Relish it, celebrate it. Thank God for it. Can't open that door? He can. Can't close that one? He can. Can't seem to reach the handle? Yeah, that's okay, He can handle that too.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Will you promise to look for big reminders of your smallness this week? If something comes to mind, I'd love to hear about it.

Ladies Black Tank I Fought The Good Fight

NEW SHIRTS AND CAPS!

Spiritually and physically, grace puts faith to work. Grace is why we "fight the good fight." We're blessed to be rolling out some new designs for shirts, tanks and caps and we hope they bless and capture your heart. In its powerful simplicity, this first one off the line will represent many things to many people. Some of you are coming off of a layoff, injury or illness, and you know you were able to get through it ONLY by His grace. For others, it's not a claim, but a goal for the day, the week or the rest of your life. Whoever you are, whatever your story -- physically or spiritually -- we're thankful to be on the battlefield with you. For His Renown.

>> Click here to browse all the new merchandise offerings from PrayFit!

The Race With Grace

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." --Colossians 3:23-24

Read: Colossians 3

At The WallHer face said it all. As Loretta finished the Nike Women's Half Marathon this weekend, exhaustion met joy and mission met accomplishment. Now, I don't mean to over-dramatize the moment, but I think Paul was on to something when he talked about the Christian life as a race -- a race that believers are called to run with endurance and never aimlessly. Over the last few years, we've written entries after marathons, many of which are among my favorites. And with the week's race being almost over, I thought it appropriate for today.

For some of you, the week was steep. The phone never rang, the e-mail didn't arrive, or your health didn't cooperate. For others, everything was downhill, and you could do no wrong. Either way, I think our dear friend Sandie Powell said it best when she said, "The amazing thing is that He is as proud of our attempt (to run) as he is in our finish." And she's right. Did Loretta win the D.C. Half Marathon last weekend? Well, maybe only in my eyes, but my eyes are the only ones that mattered. She wasn't the fastest, but she gave it all she had and there was no doubt where she was headed...straight to me.

I want to live like that, don't you? I want everything I do and say, how I treat my health and how I love others to show the world that I'm on a road that leads to the only One that matters. From start to finish, I'm in this race with grace. And after the uphills, the downhills and even the pitfalls, when mission meets accomplishment -- not ours, His -- I want my face to say it all.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Fresh off the D.C. Half Marathon, there may be a couple of race-themed entries next week. In the pic above, Letta has just found her name on the Nike wall. Neat moment...

"The amazing thing is that He is as proud of our attempt (to run) as he is in our finish." --Sandie Powell

PRAYFIT DIET: CARB SWAPS Making simple switches can help you to slow down digestion and boost your health

When it comes to the age-old struggle between white rice and brown rice, which one comes out on top? In The PrayFit Diet, we take to answering this question and others like it.

While white rice is not necessarily bad for you, it can be higher on the glycemic index -- meaning a higher spike in blood sugar -- which is not ideal for weight loss. But provided you are not dousing it in butter and other calorie-rich sauces, you're not doing too bad for yourself. However, since eating two servings or more per week of brown rice has been shown to decrease your risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 16 percent or more, brown rice holds the edge.

>> To get more healthy-living carb swaps like this, pick up a copy of The PrayFit Diet today!

Emergency Exit Woe

Tomorrow, Loretta and I fly to Oregon. We have the tremendous blessing of speaking and sharing the message of health with a small church and community there. We're so excited and honored. Tomorrow, I will also board a plane for the first time in a while. Reminds me of the last time I flew alone. I admit, I knew I would share this story with you at some point.

It wasn't long after my second surgery and I remember consciously booking the emergency exit row. See, at that time I needed the ability to extend my hips as much as possible, so what better place on a plane than in the exit row? Well as I got to my seat, I realized that I needed help getting my carry-on in the overhead bin. I'm shaking my head as I type this but a sweet flight attendant assisted me. Thing is, just as soon as I said thank you, I knew I didn't inspire much confidence from her. With everyone else already in their seats, she asked, "Are you sure you should be sitting in this row?"

Freeze frame. In that moment, my mind traveled back to when Loretta and I first got married. Back then I was impenetrable. I felt like Superman. We had a tiny little apartment on the second floor and we had bought a stackable washer dryer for the unit. We were so proud of it. The only problem was I had nobody to help me get it upstairs. So what did I do? I put it on an upright dolly and then attached my hands to said dolly with my pulling straps, and I proceeded to deadlift it up each step. Strong legs, back, core and heart. Speaking of, Loretta's heart was in her throat, and yes, that day my brains were in my biceps.

Where was I? Oh, yes, the plane. Well, no longer Superman, I knew right away that the flight attendant had a point. And the point was that the emergency row wasn't there to meet my needs, it was there so the needs of others could be met. Of course, back in my 20s and 30s, I could've pulled the door plum off the side of the plane, but alas, I switched seats.

Friends, isn't it something? Our health in so many of life's circumstances isn't about us at all. It's about what we can do for others. I guess that's why I hope we board that same plane with that same flight crew. Like in Superman II, when Clark Kent goes back to that diner after regaining his power, I hope I'm asked if I can perform the duties required to help others. I'll humbly say yes. I may even steal Clark's line as I adjust my glasses and say, "I've been working out."

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: So grateful for your prayers as we travel tomorrow. And, of course, grateful for your prayers of health that are allowing us the opportunity to serve. Yesterday, I did modified push-ups from the knees. What are you thankful for today? What can we praise the Lord for today? And any prayer requests? As we prepare for the trip, we are lifting you up. You can also simply say "Unspoken" and we will pray for you by name. See you guys next week.

CellUNPLUG FOR HEALTH

The best move you make for your health today will likely occur outside of the gym. Forget about the squats, push-ups and treadmill runs -- simply powering down your phone and computer can improve vitality, lower stress and extend your life span. In 2014, a full 33 percent of Americans get six hours of sleep or less. Work 11 hours or more per day? Then you are 67 percent more likely to suffer a heart attack. Get the full story from NBC Nightly News by clicking here.

Joy To The World

Friends, today will be the last entry until after Christmas. And I'd like to simply take a second to wish you a wonderful week. Your health, family and entire lives are on my mind each and every day. Trust that. We have a lot in store next year, but we'll get to those 2014 dreams soon enough. For now, please know how much you mean to me. We'll have a gentle presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram over the coming days, but devotions will return December 30th. So, from all of us, I hope you have a wonderful Christmas. Celebrate Jesus, enjoy loved ones. Joy to the world.

Jimmy

Our Place in the Son

Saving Mr. BanksThe expression on her face says it all. During the Summer, Loretta and I saw the announcement of Disney's Saving Mr. Banks to hit theaters this December, and well, it's been circled on our calendar ever since. Not only that, but because Mary Poppins and Saving Mr. Banks were filmed at Disney Studios in Burbank, they had a special, exclusive engagement in honor of them both. Trust me. If you want to earn major husband points in my little home, you make arrangements for our names to be on the short list of special guests. And oh friends, what a night. Like I said, the expression on her face says it all.

For only the second time in 90 years, members of the public were allowed to watch a movie in their illustrious theater, where just days earlier, sat Tom Hanks and the cast for the premiere. After the movie, we were given a special tour of the sound stage and other places where Walt Disney, Julie Andrews and eventually Mr. Hanks brought the story to life "in a most delightful way." Not sure who had more fun -- Loretta as she took in each moment, or me watching Loretta as she took in each moment.

But alas, I couldn't elude the specialness for long. As part of the tour, we were led to a photo set where we could stand in the shadow of the main characters themselves. Go ahead and re-read that sentence. Yeah, I wrote this entry long before the photographer told us to smile.

Friends, the world will tell us that we can't shine while standing on someone else's sun. But David, a man who's backdrop was God's own heart, knew exactly where he needed to be when he wrote, "Keep me as the apple of your eye. Hide me in the shadow of your wings. (Psalm 17:8)" Even King David knew that finding shade was the bright thing to do.

Yes indeed. The older I get, the more I'm realizing my job isn't to shine so much as it is to reflect. Try to shine on someone else's sun? No. Just save me a place near the shadow of the Son, and I'll be fine.

–Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: How neat is that picture? Don't you love moments like that? I'm praising the Lord that He allowed me the health to make this event with Letta.

STUDY: A SWEET RISK

While it’s pretty widely known too many sodas can lead to excess calorie consumption, huge swings in energy and cavities, new research is suggesting that such beverages can also be a danger to your heart health.

>> Click here for the news!

4'33"

IMG_4510We were finally there. The 10th Anniversary Gala of The Walt Disney Concert Hall had been circled on our calendar for months. Loretta and I did nothing short of soak up every moment. We walked the red carpet, stood in the lobby, ate hors d'oeuvres, and to strangers who were equally as excited as we were, I gave a few cordial "How do you do's?" Within minutes, we'd witness the L.A. Philharmonic Orchestra with honored, world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and of course, conducted by the great Gustavo Dudamel. Before we knew it, bells tolled and lights dimmed. We took our seats. (I typed that with a whisper.)

After the first chair took his honored place, Yo-Yo Ma and Dudamel emerged side by side to thunderous applause. The program was set to be a musical allegory of the difficult tale of the hall's construction. Concerning the first piece, Dudamel urged us to take in "every corner and every sound of this beautiful space." No doubt we would. I held Loretta's hand. I could feel her anticipation through it. Like a distinguished gentleman, Dudamel turned and faced the music. One subtle gesture and every instrument was raised to the ready. With the stillness of a statue, Yo-Yo Ma held the bow against the strings, with his eyes fixed intently on his conductor -- as did every other member of the orchestra -- waiting for the cue. A cue that never came.

IMG_4473After about 30 seconds, I began to feel uncomfortable. What was Dudamel waiting for? There must be a technical difficultly. I remembered reading that the elaborate sailboat-style big screens were hoisted specifically for the evening, so maybe the video wasn't working? I just knew something was wrong. Trying not to be obvious, my eyes scanned the shadowed crowd. Surely I wasn't alone. After three minutes of complete silence with the musicians at-the-ready, I confirmed that Dudamel was the most professional, the most calm, the most composed man I had ever witnessed during a crisis.

But after four minutes and thirty-three seconds, the crisis ended when Dudamel turned around. Without hesitation, the hall erupted; a standing ovation filled with bravos and cheers. He took the hand of Yo-Yo Ma and they stood and applauded one another, the orchestra, the crowd and the hall itself. My head was spinning. What did I just witness? The next day, the L.A. Times described the moment like this: "Dudamel began where no American orchestra has, before it, dared to go — with John Cage's "4'33"," the so-called silent piece." I came to realize that the point of the piece was to take in the surroundings, the sound of silence, and to honor the hall's creator.

When we finally took our seats, Dudamel said that because we have honored the designer and taken in his blessed work, we will now experience what it can do.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: Can't tell you how excited I've been to share that experience. Before I left the hall that night, I was thinking of all of you. I couldn't wait to compare that silent piece with our daily, silent peace. Each day, we're so eager to start the music, aren't we? To check the phone, our e-mail, the news, traffic and sports. We hit the floor, the road, the gym. We know what instrument we play and we don't wait to play it. But doesn't our Lord -- the Designer and Creator -- deserve our undivided attention? Like Yo-Yo Ma sat watching the master, wouldn't we be wise to do the same before we play? Trust me when I tell you, that when the music finally began in the hall, it was octaves above amazing. Friends, our lives are clearer, stronger, more powerful when we spend those few precious, silent moments with Him; waiting, listening, and watching for His cue. Only then do we really, truly play.

SILENT PEACE STARTS HERE

Some love the feeling of cracking the spine of their Bible. Others like to leaf through the pages of pocket-sized inspirational readings. Many of you prefer the ease and access of digital devotions like PrayFit, and we are so blessed by it. To enrich your morning meeting with the Lord and to right your rudder for the day, we have hundreds of entries from the PrayFit Daily for you to browse in our archive. But we also have a reserve of select devotions on audio, authored and read by founder Jimmy Peña. Bookmark the following links and keep them handy for when you're ready to let a little silence wash over you.

>> PRAYFIT DAILY ARCHIVE: A chronological catalog of all of our devotions since the very beginning!

>> PRAYFIT AUDIO: Grab your headphones and listen in on some of our favorite entries by clicking here. In fairness, some may not quite reach 4 minutes and 33 seconds.

His Work

"But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound." --Romans 5:20

Read: Romans 5 Jimmy-backDon't bend, twist or lift more than 10 pounds. Avoid slipping and falling. Those were my instructions 120 days ago. See, by sticking to those rules, the odds were in my favor for solid fusion between the new hardware and bones. Simply, the surgery needed to take. No pressure. The doctor did his thing, but now it was up to me. Stick to the rules, and I won't ruin his work.

I can't tell you how many times over the summer I wondered if I messed things up. Did I twist too much at the waist? Bend down too far? And yes, despite us rearranging the furniture, I stumbled a time or two. Oh the fear that set in. I wanted to go back to the surgery date and start over. This time with no mistakes, no tumbles, no wrong turns.

Have you ever wondered if grace took? After a mistake, a tumble, a stumble, have you ever thought, "Surely God can't forgive me again" or "When I got saved, did I mean it enough? Like, enough enough?" After my slip and fall, the first thing I imagined was that I ruined the doctor's work. He gave me a brand new chance and I blew it. But you know the good news by now. When the doctor looked inside, he saw fusion, healing, progress.

Aren't we glad that God gives us a brand new heart, His. And thankfully, gracefully, when God sees your life and mine, He doesn't see our sin, He sees the blood of His son. He doesn't see a heart held together by a very thin thread; as if one more fall would sever the relationship. No, when you and I accept Him as Lord, there is perfect, permanent fusion; based not on our ability to stick to the rules, but all because of what He did at Calvary. We try to avoid slipping and falling, yes. But there is peace in knowing that grace took. We can't ruin His work.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: I think the fact that our health is our responsibility is a healthy reminder that we can't earn grace. A show of hands of those who feel motivated to take better care of themselves physically because of what God did for you spiritually? Is there a better reason to take care of ourselves? I guarantee there isn't.

 

Loretta-gear

NEW GEAR!

Your health -- what you choose to eat, how often you choose to move -- tells a story. But sometimes, good old fashioned words will do the trick. Our newest offering of PrayFit apparel (as seen on Mrs. Loretta Peña following her recent Disney 1/2 Marathon) spells out, authoritatively, that your health doesn't just matter to you...it matters to Him. Browse the new selections here and pick up shirts, tanks and hats for you and your like-minded friends and family!

NUTRITION NEWS

While most people choose to focus on carbohydrates in their weight loss programs, it's important not to lose sight of protein intake. Protein, which comes in at only 4 calories per gram, is helpful in shedding unwanted pounds. Research has shown that high-protein diets are great for enhancing satiety, elevating metabolism, building muscle and burning fat. The good news is that the type of protein you choose to build your diet around may not matter all that much. A new study conducted by scientists at Laval University in Canada seems to indicate that both plant- and animal-based proteins are equally effective at aiding in weight loss.

>> Get the full story from NutraIngredients by clicking here.

The Firefighter

"When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses his face was radiant..." --Exodus 34:30

Read: Exodus 34

Immediately after my walk on Saturday, I was standing outside the condo doing my prescribed stretching when a neighbor's visiting father offered me encouragement on his way to dinner; a tall man, sharp, very put-together and gray-haired. He'd obviously learned I was recovering and he simply told me that he understood what I was going through. As I asked him questions, there was something about his answers. Not so much in the content, but in his conduct. You know those kinds of people who immediately capture your attention? This guy was that kind of guy. A man's man and a gentle giant of sorts.

Long story short, as we spoke, I learned he was a firefighter. Those who know me don't even blink when I admit that I unashamedly interrupted him mid-sentence to shake his hand and thank him for his service. But then you guessed it, just as naturally as could be, he spoke of the Lord as if he had just hung up the phone with him. His thankfulness to God for his health and ability were written all over his face long before it came out of his mouth. It was neat. He didn't know me or Loretta or what we did. He was just walking by, shared the Lord and drove away.

In our passage today, when Moses came down to talk to Aaron and the Israelites, how does the bible describe his face? Radiant, right? You just know when someone has been with the Lord. And nothing, folks -- nothing -- prepares us to meet the world, strangers, neighbors, obstacles or triumphs better than our intimate time with Jesus. You want to honor God with your body? It starts by hitting your knees and spending time with Him. The stranger who strolled by me on Saturday sure does, and it shows on his face. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that before that man puts out any fires, he goes to the well.

--Jimmy Peña

A FIRE FIGHT: We all have fires that need extinguishing today. Jobs, health, healing, family matters, kids' summers, and the list goes on. Amidst it all, how do we expect to live a life God desires if we don't pick up His word and read it? This week, who will commit to spending five minutes alone with the Lord? Not checking the phone, not on the TV or computer -- but quiet time with God. I realize we talk to Him throughout the day, but who's going to find a way for a personal bible study and prayer time? Maybe start with today's chapter if you haven't already. Let's come down from the mountain with an unmistakable glow that only God can give. Let's let the people we encounter say to themselves, "There's something about this one." And then let's tell them Who that is.

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: THE RUNNER'S CORE

In an effort to become more efficient runners, people will often train their legs harder. A few more miles per week, a few more lunges in the gym -- legs, legs, legs. But as any experienced runner will tell you, legs are only part of the equation. Core strength and stamina are incredibly important for maintaining proper mechanics, whether you're training for a 5K or running out a double in a softball game.

>> Click here for a running-focused core routine!

ultralite-hat-back-white>> SHOP: Looking for some awesome PrayFit gear to sport on your next run? Visit the PrayFit store today for hot deals on tees, hats, wristbands and more.

Remember Mrs. Kravitz?

"Love thy neighbor as yourself." --Mark 12:31

Read: Mark 12

Sitting on our little porch, I'm watching Loretta add potting mix, dirt and water to plants and shrubs. The smell of barbecue from a nearby condo fills the air. Somebody's cookin' out. The neighborhood seems alive tonight. Sun-filled cheeks on neighborhood kids is evidence of a fast-approaching summer. It seems God has dropped me in an episode of Leave it to Beaver. Somehow you'd expect Wally to come strollin' by. But I know better. This is no Pine Street.

I know better because I know myself better. When was the last time we visited a new neighbor? Or went to see the widow down the street? Or invited the single dad to church? Not sure if you can relate, but we have more in common with Mrs. Kravitz than we do June Cleaver. In reality, however, our homes, apartments and condos are as much an opportunity to witness as gyms, offices and schools.

I write about this today, because yesterday I was paid a visit by one of MY neighbors. Mind you, he's never been to our place, but he knew my truck hadn't moved in weeks, and he was heading out for coffee; just wanted to see if I needed anything. I won't try to explain what that meant to me, but the smallest gesture can have an enormous impact. Reach out to someone today. They just might need a cup of coffee.

–Jimmy Peña

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" faith and fitness at your leisure. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

>> SHOP: Spread the health via your apparel at the PrayFit online store. Custom hats, cozy tees and logo wristbands are all available at the click of a mouse, with easy shipping. You can also pick up PrayFit books and DVDs to help you start living a healthier lifestyle here. Click to get started.

>> CHAT: Are you already a member of our forums? Get back in on the discussion by clicking here. Not yet signed up? All it takes is 20 seconds to get started. Click here.

>> SOWING: Plant the seeds of health and fitness in your church by arranging a visit from PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña. Learn more about his message by clicking here, or write us at info@prayfit.com to start planning dates!

"Let The Healing Never End"

"Jesus wept." --John 11:35

Read: John 11

If you haven't read today's chapter, Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem. And when Mary finally reached Jesus, Lazarus had been dead four days. Perhaps they thought Jesus didn't hurry or didn't notice. Either way, the grief and pain that Mary and the others were feeling moved Jesus to tears. Although Lazarus would soon be having a good laugh, Jesus cried. Why? Because their loss was His too, and their pain hurt. Imagine that for a second. Their agony hit His heart and...gush.

Yesterday I received encouraging news with one of my surgeons (last year's). But it wasn't an easy appointment. So important was this check-up that I had my wife, mother, dad and small corner of friends hitting their knees for me. I even bet my mom went old school -- like biblical -- and prayed in a closet. And it was the doctor who delivered the good news to a teary Loretta. But he wasn't crying with her. He didn't console her, hold her and he definitely didn't cry. Why? He knew the outcome. He saw her tears and quickly knew how to dry them.

You know, if Jesus could instantly dry the eyes of a broken Mary, surely He could prevent His own from welling up. But aren't we glad He knows how we feel? And shows it? Which makes me think, that probably wasn't the last time Mary cried, or cried out to a healing God. And yesterday wasn't the last day we'll follow her example. I'm learning that it's true that on this side of Heaven, the healing never ends. Like you, I often want Him to hurry or notice. If I didn't know better, I'd say this life looks a lot like that short road to Bethany.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Incidentally, tomorrow is my 14-day check-up with the neurosurgeon. Let the dust fly, and like my boys of the group Salvador sing, "Let the healing never end". Amen?

REPORT: ROOT OF THE PAIN Are you walking around each day with chronic pain in your knees or back? It might not be the thrashing you put on your body in your formidable years. It may be the few extra pounds you've accumulated since. The good news is that there's an easy fix.

>> Get the full report here.

LISTEN: Want to take in some of your favorite entries direct from Jimmy? Click here for a selection of audio devotions and be sure to share the link with your social networks!

Your Mission

"I hope you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit." --3 John 1:2

Read: 3 John 1

I remember like it was yesterday, scrounging through an old box of books while whispering to myself, "Your mission, should you choose to accept it...." I'm smiling as I type this sentence. Great memories. See, in 1996, the movie of the year was the first Mission: Impossible, and I was bound and determined to see it. But as a young married couple, times were tight. With both of us working and in school, we watched every penny. I knew that in order for us to see the show, it was up to me. (Light the fuse, cue the music.)

Long story short, the sign at the end of the street read, "WE BUY BOOKS!" And fortunately, I kept every schoolbook I'd ever read (from every class). So if they were buying, I was selling. When Loretta got home, I greeted her with a kiss, a grin and two tickets. Special times.

That story came to mind recently when someone requested PrayFit resources for their church. Seems I'm still selling books. Only now it's for what many see as an impossible mission: to conquer the obesity epidemic in our homes and churches. But I think John said it best. In his third epistle, the first thing he said to a man named Gaius was, "I hope you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit." (v. 2) A worthy hope he had for his friend, especially considering the times in which they lived. And it's still a worthy hope today; a hope that defines our purpose at PrayFit. Is your church in need of help? Does someone you love need encouragement to be healthy for the right reasons? If so, we're on a mission, and we're bringing books.

--Jimmy Peña

THE RIGHT GADGETS FOR YOUR MISSION

The protagonist in the Mission: Impossible films, Ethan Hunt, was successful due to his vast experience in the world of espionage...and a few choice inventions. From voice-replicating throat chips to explosive gum, the tools of the trade were always vital to the mission. Same applies for you and yours. Try these resources when it comes to confronting health issues in your home and community:

>> READ: Our first book, "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 33 Days," provides two 28-day exercise programs, a complete diet plan and biblically-inspired devotions to keep you motivated each step of the way.

>> WATCH: PrayFit has partnered with Lionsgate Entertainment to bring you two home-based workout DVDs -- the second more challenging than the first. Train along with founder Jimmy Peña as you work to become stronger, leaner and healthier, all from the comfort of your living room.

For more information on these and other products, click here.

Miracle. Grow.

"'I tell you,' he replied, 'If they keep quiet, the stones will cry out." --Luke 19:40

Read: Luke 19

I know I'm getting older and much more sentimental because few things in life nowadays are as great as overhearing my wife talking to her plants. Can you relate? Her voice changes in pitch as she compliments and encourages. She apologizes to those not getting enough sun and to those getting too much. Supplying all that love simply brings her pleasure.

I like to think about how sentimental God must be. He cares for us, talks to us, feeds us and protects us. We're alive simply for His pleasure, and He loves to watch us grow. But the cool thing is, we're the part of His creation designed to thank and praise Him in return. And friends, our approach to health is an act of stewardship, and our fragile bodies are a means to praise Him and serve others; music to His ears. With today's verse in mind, let this be another day we keep rocks quiet. After all, if we find fulfillment when the things we love respond, just imagine God, seeing His little miracles grow.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Static Strength

In breaking from the more dynamic, high-energy workouts that usually appear here on Mondays, this week's workout is a bit static...literally. We're going to take one exercise which doesn't allow you to move whatsoever. The stationary wall squat is an isometric (or static) exercise that works to strengthen your entire lower body (quads, glutes, hamstrings), all without movement.

>> Click here for a detailed explanation and the protocols for the workout.

>> PRAYFIT, DAILY: Wanna get PrayFit sent to your inbox on a daily basis? Sign up here, and tell your friends and family to do the same!

>> SOCIAL NETWORKS: Now you can "like," "join," "tweet" and "watch" PrayFit. Click the links below to get plugged in with the rest of the PrayFit community. Facebook HeavenUp Twitter YouTube

If You're Thirsty

"But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again." --John 4:14

Read: John 4

Over the long weekend, Loretta and I had the chance to explore some new trails. Just minutes from our condo are some of the most amazing hills in the country. One path in particular is an awesome nine-mile trek to the ocean. So with a new lease on life and health, I set out to lead my wife and our chocolate lab Ms. Josey along this vast expanse. Backpack? Check. Map? Sort of. Clue? Um...no.

Seven miles later, Josey was limping, I was hungry and Loretta was worried. How much farther? Must those birds fly in circles? Fortunately however, in the distance I could see a guy who looked like he knew where I was going. As he approached us on his all-terrain bike, I asked him how long until we reached the water. Turns out the trail I was on would only get me so far. So I thanked him, and he rode off. Wouldn't you know it? Two minutes later he rode up beside us again and asked, "I have water if you're thirsty." I looked at Loretta with a grin as I declined his kind gesture. (She knew I had just mentally written this entry.)

The story surrounding our verse is about a woman who met Jesus at the well. She was looking for one kind of water but her Savior knew she needed another. Her life was in shambles and she was thirsty. Had she continued along the path she was on, she'd be lost forever. But the bible says Jesus told her of her sin, and that if she drank living water, she'd never thirst again.

Folks, just like water is critical for our physical thirst, the thirst of the spirit is unquenchable without Jesus. We can't lift enough weights, run enough miles or drop enough pounds to fulfill our direst need. That's why we never place too much emphasis on the physical. Like her well, the mirror will never quench you of anything, no matter how many times you look. So today, go to the well. If it's the first time -- or the first time in a long time -- He has water if you're thirsty.

--Jimmy Peña

WATER: HYDRATE TO GET LEAN

Speaking of water, how much water did you drink yesterday? For most of you, the answer will fall under the category "not enough." Don't underestimate the wet stuff? It's not just good for keeping you hydrated. Water may be the most powerful, affordable fat-fighting ally you have.

>> Click here for the full story!

ALSO: PrayFit: 33-Day Body Toning System continues to do well on Amazon's list of hot new releases in faith! We're so humbled at your support and overjoyed at the reviews and reports we are getting on how this at-home workout is blessing you, your friends and your family! Haven't gotten yours yet? Click here to pick one up!

Life is a Run/Walk

"And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us." --Ephesians 5:2

Read: Ephesians 5

An author, speaker and member of the 1972 Olympic team, Jeff Galloway is a world-class runner. He broke the U.S. 10-mile record in 1973, and among his victories are the Honolulu, Atlanta and Boston Marathons. What's his best tip? Walk. That's right. In fact, Jeff says, "Thousands of time-goal-oriented veterans have improved by 10, 20, and over 30 minutes in marathons by taking walk breaks early and often to reach their goal in the race. You can easily spot these folks. They're the ones who are picking up speed during the last few miles when everyone else is slowing down."

Almost 18 years ago, I stood in the middle of a rain-soaked football field in Austin, Texas and watched Jeff's theory being tested. For weeks she'd verbalize her goal: "One time around the track without stopping." What did she do when she didn't make it? She walked. And when she caught her breath, she'd run again. As it turns out, long before my wife Loretta ever read a book by Jeff Galloway or listened to any of his seminars, she practiced what he preached. And I'll never forget the day she made it. We shouted for joy. (She eventually turned that one lap into 26.2 miles without stopping, several times a year.)

One time around the day. You may have just entered your cubicle, dropped the kids off at school or you're about to exercise. Whatever the case, the bible says we're to run the race and walk in love. So no matter what the world has stacked against you -- be encouraged -- it's a run/walk.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. You know, it was pretty neat for me to see Loretta meet her hero of the track. Just look at her sweet face. Do you see him giving her instruction? The moment made me think that when it comes to the faith, you and I have an opportunity to follow some heroes and maybe lead as one. So today, as you run your race, make it a point to stand in the middle of someone else's lap and shout for joy.

SUNDAY SERVICE WITH PRAYFIT

The subject of physical stewardship is not a message you're likely to hear in this Sunday's sermon. But perhaps it should be. With an increasing number of our fellow congregants and family members struggling with obesity-related health issues, it's worth noting that the Lord desires abundant health for us and that even though He looks at the heart, failing to take care of the bodies He created in His image amounts to a heart issue. PrayFit founder Jimmy Peña has spoken at churches across the country, imparting the message of our health as a means of praise. Could your service be next? Check out the video below, share it with your church leaders then contact us to find out how you can bring this message to your congregation!

>> Can't wait for a church visit? Why not start a small group? Click here to get your hands on PrayFit DVDs and books and use them as your curriculum!

Are They Here Yet?

"They went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was." — Matthew 2:9

Read: Matthew 9

This week, many of you will arrive at the home of family and friends to celebrate Christmas. Do you have "going home" traditions? We do too. One tradition my parents actually started during my college years was hanging a "Welcome Home, Jimmy!" sign at the house. When I got married, they added "& Loretta". But if you happened to read yesterday's post, you know by now that my parents are coming to our home for Christmas for the first time; our turn to hold up the sign.

Beyond a doubt right now, celebration plans are almost ready in homes such as yours and of those you love. All the decorations have been hung, everyone's favorite dishes are being prepared and front room curtains are being impatiently pulled back to see if "they're here yet."

You know, I've often wondered if the star in the east was as much God's way to honor His son, as it was our way to find Him. Even though Jesus' time on earth was short, God knew how He'd be rejected, and of the cross that awaited him. So perhaps it was God's way to say, "I love you, Son" and in doing so said to us, "Here He is."

He loves us that much. And if we look forward to seeing loved ones, how much more does He? Because you see, someday God will send for us. And I like to think that after spreading the table for the great celebration and hanging the welcome-home banner across the door, the angels will pull back the curtain, peeking to see...are they here yet?

--Jimmy Peña

PRAYFIT NUTRITION: PREP FOR THE FEAST Knowing what to do before the first course is served can keep you from overindulging

A few people on our boards have expressed concern at the nutritional temptation that comes along with holidays like Christmas. After all, no one wants to completely erase the hard work they've been putting in at the gym, or to slide deeper into a quagmire of bad health. Here are four simple steps you can take to ensure that your feast is truly "fit" for a King.

1 Exercise early Before people start dishing up the ham, eggs and roast beast (thank you, Dr. Seuss), you can minimize the damage of the caloric tsunami by grabbing a quick workout. One of the best ways to do that is to sneak in a power workout. This will create a caloric deficit and a great window for muscle repair. This way, most of the calories to come are used to your benefit. Since travel time is usually a concern today, we suggest a quick bodyweight workout and a high-intensity interval cardio session. Try doing one round of bodyweight squats, push-ups and sit-ups, doing each exercise to failure (the point at which you can no longer complete any more reps). Then, immediately head into your interval workout, sprinting 20 seconds and walking or jogging for a minute, for a total of 10-15 minutes -- after a 1-2 minute speed walk. (Or try our new DVD).

2 Fill up on fiber & protein There's a lot to be said for satiety during the holidays. It can literally make or break you before the big get-together. Before the family meal, try filling up on high-fiber, calorie-friendly fruits and veggies and take in 20-40 grams of protein from a high-quality source like turkey breast or a whey protein shake. This will keep you fuller longer, helping you to avoid a second -- or third or fourth -- trip back to the dessert table.

3 Hydrate Drinking water -- lots of it -- will help you get a head start on leveling out your sodium levels. Most holiday food -- from the glazed ham to the turkey gravy -- are loaded with sodium. This can force you to retain water and add pounds to the scale that will cause alarm with some people. Strangely, one of the best ways to avoid water retention from sodium is to drink water. Try to get about 1/3 to 1/2 of your bodyweight in ounces per day to keep your body in balance.

Your Mission...

"I hope you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit." --3 John 1:2

Read: 3 John 1

I remember like it was yesterday, scrounging through an old box of books while whispering to myself, "Your mission, should you choose to accept it...." I'm smiling as I type this sentence. Great memories. See, in 1996, the movie of the year was the first Mission: Impossible, and I was bound and determined to see it. But as a young married couple, times were tight. With both of us working and in school, we watched every penny. I knew that in order for us to see the show, it was up to me. (Light the fuse, cue the music.)

Long story short, the sign at the end of the street read, "WE BUY BOOKS." And fortunately, I kept every schoolbook I'd ever read (from every class). So if they were buying, I was selling. When Loretta got home, I greeted her with a kiss, a grin and two tickets. Special times.

That story came to mind recently when someone requested PrayFit resources for their church. Seems I'm still selling books. Only now it's for what many see as an impossible mission: to conquer the obesity epidemic in our homes and churches. But I think John said it best. In his third epistle, the first thing he said to a man named Gaius was, "I hope you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit." (v. 2) A worthy hope he had for his friend, especially considering the times in which they lived. And it's still a worthy hope today; a hope that defines our purpose at PrayFit. Is your church in need of help? Does someone you love need encouragement to be healthy for the right reasons? If so, we're on a mission, and we're bringing books.

--Jimmy Peña

THE RIGHT GADGETS FOR YOUR MISSION

The protagonist in the Mission: Impossible films, Ethan Hunt, was successful due to his vast experience in the world of espionage...and a few choice inventions. From voice-replicating throat chips to explosive gum, the tools of the trade were always vital to the mission. Same applies for you and yours. Try these resources when it comes to confronting health issues in your home and community:

>> READ: Our first book, "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 33 Days," provides two 28-day exercise programs, a complete diet plan and biblically-inspired devotions to keep you motivated each step of the way.

>> WATCH: PrayFit has partnered with Lionsgate Entertainment to bring you two home-based workout DVDs -- the second more challenging than the first. Train along with founder Jimmy Peña as you work to become stronger, leaner and healthier, all from the comfort of your living room.

For more information on these and other products, click here.

The Water's Edge

"One day Jesus was walking along the shore..." --Matthew 4:18

Read: Matthew 4

Although the weather was gloomy last weekend, Loretta and I decided to drive to the coast to relax. As we walked onto the sand, we immediately noticed a sea lion laying on the beach. When the wildlife rescue team arrived, they said it was probably sick and needed to rest, which is why it came ashore. Had it not, those able to save it said it would have surely died at sea.

Now, if you've been on PrayFit for any length of time, you know by now that I'm a little sentimental, so you'll forgive the analogy. But some of the greatest men and women have been rescued near the water. Moses needed courage on the banks of the Red Sea. David needed wisdom as he chose five stones. And on the beach in Galilee, Andrew and Peter met their Purpose face-to-face. Courage, wisdom, a Savior.

Are you facing some heavy work issues? Are you or someone you love in dire need of physical healing? Or maybe you just need a little rest. No matter your needs as we start a new week, His favorite place to run is to our rescue. Let's remember that our only hope in the world is waiting for us at the water's edge.

--Jimmy Peña

10-MINUTE WORKOUT: LEGS

Wanna change your entire body? Start at the bottom and work your way up. By training the large muscles of your lower body with greater intensity, you stand to burn more calories and raise your metabolism. This 10-minute training plan, which attacks your legs with bodyweight exercises only, is designed to set your whole body on a path to transformation. Click below to get started.

>> POWER LEGS

The Race with Grace

"Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ." --Colossians 3:23-24

Read: Colossians 3

Her face says it all. Exhaustion meets joy and mission meets accomplishment. Now, I don't mean to over-dramatize the moment but I think Paul was on to something when he talked about the Christian life as a race -- a race that believers are called to run with endurance, never aimlessly. Over the last few years, we've written entries after marathons, many of which are among my favorites. But this picture, taken mere seconds before she saw me, pretty much sums it up. And with the week's race being almost over, I thought it appropriate for today.

For some of you, the week was steep. The phone never rang, the e-mail didn't arrive, or your health didn't cooperate. For others, everything was downhill, and you could do no wrong. Either way, I think our dear friend Sandie Powell said it best in the comment section yesterday when she said, "The amazing thing is that He is as proud of our attempt (to run) as he is in our finish." And she's right. Did Loretta win the marathon? Well, maybe only in my eyes, but my eyes are the only ones that mattered. She wasn't the fastest, but she gave it all she had, and there was no doubt where she was headed.

I want to live like that, don't you? I want everything I do and say, how I treat my health and how I love others to show the world that I'm on a road that leads to the only One that matters. From start to finish, I'm in this race with grace. And after the uphills, the downhills and even the pitfalls, when mission meets accomplishment -- not ours, His -- I want my face to say it all.

--Jimmy Peña

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The Water's Edge

"One day Jesus was walking along the shore..." --Matthew 4:18

Read: Matthew 4

Although the weather was gloomy last weekend, Loretta and I decided to drive to the coast to relax. As we walked onto the sand, we immediately noticed a sea lion laying on the beach. When the wildlife rescue team arrived, they said it was probably sick and needed to rest, which is why it came ashore. Had it not, those able to save it said it would have surely died at sea.

Now, if you've been on PrayFit for any length of time, you know by now that I'm a little sentimental, so you'll forgive the analogy. But some of the greatest men and women have been rescued near the water. Moses needed courage on the banks of the Red Sea. David needed wisdom as he chose five stones. And on the beach in Galilee, Andrew and Peter met their Purpose face-to-face. Courage, wisdom, a Savior.

Are you facing some heavy work issues? Are you or someone you love in dire need of physical healing? Or maybe you just need a little rest. No matter your needs as we start a new week, His favorite place to run is to our rescue. Let's remember that our only hope in the world is waiting for us at the water's edge.

--Jimmy Peña

10-MINUTE WORKOUT: LEGS Wanna change your entire body? Start at the bottom and work your way up. By training the large muscles of your lower body with greater intensity, you stand to burn more calories and raise your metabolism. This 10-minute training plan, which attacks your legs with bodyweight exercises only, is designed to set your whole body on a path to transformation. Click below to get started.

>> POWER LEGS

>> NEW!!! For a more comprehensive target training routine plus motivation and biblical encouragement, try the NEW PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System DVD, exclusively through Thomas Nelson Publishing and its family of retailers. Find out more or place an order by clicking here.