body

"Let Us Use Them"

"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them." --Romans 12:6

Read: Romans 12

If you have any classical music at the ready, go ahead and cue it up. (This reads better with it.) Ready? Now, imagine him. With only a candle to light the room, Mozart furiously scribbles with one hand while playing the piano with the other. His fingers can't keep up. Face buried in the music, he puts the finishing touches on a masterpiece. Although he's alone, he can hear every instrument lending its unique sound to the opus. Before a soul ever hears a note, he raises is head, closes his eyes and then...he's conducting.

Mozart left us his sheet music to follow, but if we play it out of key, it not only sounds wrong -- making dissonance out of harmony -- but it's not what the composer had intended. God -- the body's builder -- gave us the instructions on how we should build our lives and how these bodies support that purpose. Are we being worthy craftsmen, fulfilling His intentions? He certainly didn't intend for us to worship ourselves in the mirror, but we also weren't designed to sit idle in front our TVs.

No, some of us are the hands -- the reachers and the helpers. Others are the feet -- the seekers and doers. You may be the ears, the good listener or the tongue, a fine speaker. But whether yours is the back that carries, or you have the shoulders that bear burdens, we are the body. And like the bible says in Romans 12, "Let us use them."

--Jimmy Peña

NUTRITION: THE PERFECT BREAKFAST

There are a lot of strong options for your breakfast table in the morning. But when it comes to starting your day, you don’t want to tinker with anything that is less-than-effective at fueling you up right. This breakfast combo works incredibly well by providing starving muscles with the amino acids they need, while also topping off your fuel stores for whatever the day has in store for you. Powerful protein and long-burning energy, with great taste to boot. This is pretty close to perfect.

>> You're one click away from breakfast...

A Rhyme & Reason

“Life is not about bodyfat and muscle tone.It’s about where our hearts are at and His grace alone.

It’s not about the mirror or any other measurement. It’s in our service to others, reflecting the Son He sent.

We’re called to honor the body, but not for our praise or reward. We're just simple, humble stewards, on a mission for the Lord.

So eat right, train hard, but don’t forget your purpose, God sees your heart and not what’s on the surface.”

--Jimmy Peña

PrayFit-Cover NEWEXPLORING FAITH & FITNESS

For many of you, the PrayFit Daily is your entry point to our ministry. But how many of you have really taken the time to explore the rest of what our site has to offer? Take a minute and hit up these key links and be sure to bookmark your favorites!

FITNESS: Here, you'll find all you need to start putting your body in motion for whatever it is called to do. From workouts to exercise demos, we provide you a wide variety of ways to start reshaping your body and boosting your health. NUTRITION: Recipes. Research. Dietary tips. It's no wonder that this is one of the most popular pages on our site. To start eating in balance, click here.

LISTEN: For those looking for more nutrition for their souls, PrayFit offers a selection of audio devotionals, read by founder Jimmy Peña. Click, listen, share. RESOURCES: Our book and DVDs form the backbone of our ministry. All of these products offer readers life-changing guidance on honoring the bodies that carry their souls. You can check them out here, or browse the rest of our branded gear.

FELLOWSHIP: 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.

The Body Forgives

"If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge that to my account." --Philemon 1:18

Read: Philemon 1 "Charge that to my account," Paul told his friend Philemon. In our reading today, Philemon had a slave who stole from him and ran away to Rome. When this slave met Paul, Paul showed him how to be saved. Then Paul wrote some amazing words to Philemon. He said that this man who was once "useless to you" is useful now. And upon the slave's return to Philemon, Paul wanted his slate clean; completely forgiven and welcomed home like a brother. From thief to saint, useless to useful.

Reading that story recently got me to thinking about how forgiving the body is. Imagine the rigors of the military or the pounding the body takes during sports; amazing how it recovers and bounces back. He sure knew what He was doing, amen? God knew all the situations we would get ourselves into, and He built us able.

You know what? The body forgives not only damage from effort, but damage from the lack of it. That's right. It doesn't take long for the body to respond to better choices of fitness or food. And when you consider that our health is only a tool -- a vessel to be useful in serving others -- an apologetic lifestyle may be the only response. To think, God nestled forgiveness deep within our bodies. Maybe as a picture of grace for us, maybe not. But aren't we glad that taking care of ourselves is only one way to thank the Lord for only seeing our hearts?

--Jimmy Peña

NUTRITION BASICS: Whey Protein

In your efforts to start living more healthfully, you may have paid a visit to your local supplement store. On the top of everyone's list for supplemental must-haves is whey protein, and for good reason -- it is crucial for muscle repair and recovery. But do you know how to make the most out of this wonder supp? Click here to learn!

>> For more tips like these, visit our new nutrition page by clicking here.

For Those Who Can't, Stand

"...Cheer up! On your feet! He's calling you." --Mark 10:49

Read: Mark 10

Yesterday on Facebook, I posted something I witnessed on Sunday:

"I sat behind a man in church on Sunday, paralyzed from the neck down. It was interesting to me that when the choir director asked the congregation to stand and sing, you could feel the reluctance and see the slow-moving crowd rise to their feet. I thought to myself, I wonder how fast this sweet man would stand if he could. The next song we sang was 'Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy name.' You know what? This man's voice was the loudest one around me. Plainly said, when we were asked to stand, he already was. Folks, life is not about the body, so if you have health and ability, use it as a means of praise. And believer, if you're called to stand and sing -- and you can stand up and sing -- stand up and sing."

The responses to our post had us in tears and awe. We wanted to share a few of them with you.

Renee Foster: "We have a young boy in our church who has been wheelchair bound his whole life and yet, when we sing he raises his one hand by just bending it at the wrist from his wheelchair armrest. It's all he can do so he does it. Imagine what an example that is for us."

Tricia Weaver Cross: "Thank you so much...I have a 13 yr old daughter that is wheelchair bound with a brain injury. I know that if she could stand and sing she would, with hands raised in praise. One day...one day!"

Isabelle Kafarela: "My father is paralyzed. What he wouldn't give to have the use of his legs! We thank GOD every day for my father's spirit as he lives with pain daily! Lord, please give my father Niko Kafarela strength in spirit to live Your Purpose daily!"

Bud Krueger: "The next time I stand, guess who will be there in front of me...Jesus, God, Holy Ghost. Amen"

No words, right? Well, I have a few for us. "Bless the Lord, oh my soul, and all that is within me, bless His Holy name." And for those who can't, stand.

--Jimmy Peña

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: Chicken Sausage & Pepper Flatbread

Looking for something that tastes way worse for you than it really is? Try this savory recipe from PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC.

>> Recipe - Click here

For more PrayFit recipes and healthy eating tips, visit our nutrition page.

A Strong Church

"For physical training is of some value, but training in godliness has value now and in the life to come." --1 Timothy 4:8

Read: 1 Timothy 4

Many of you know how much I appreciate Dr. Charles Stanley of First Baptist, Atlanta. And outside of my sweet Brother Henry Powell who led me to Jesus, I consider Dr. Stanley a trusted pastor and mentor. Well, I had the pleasure of visiting his church again last Sunday. His topic: What makes a strong church? I grinned with anticipation in my chair, because I like it when he gets practical. And while I won't list all of the qualities he mentioned, I wanted to share a few.

Doctrinally sound. He said that if the church neglects the Word of God, we're weak.

Faith beneath the surface. He said that every Sunday in a room below the pulpit, a group of men pray for him and for the audience.

Genuine, committed and organized. Genuine love for each member, committed to the purpose of spreading the Gospel, and practically organized to deliver the message.

As he finished preaching, he asked two questions: "What are you doing to contribute to the strength of your church?" and "If others followed your pattern, will the church be strong?"

And now you know why I was grinning. Because I believe that our lives, our bodies and overall health could benefit greatly if we treated them like a church. If you're with me say "Amen." Consider the practical parallels.

1. If we neglect the Word each day, we are absolutely weak. Our might is not in our muscle or bone, but in our spirit. 2. Without faith beneath the surface, there is no service. Pretty is as pretty does. 3. With a genuine, committed and organized approach to honoring the body that God so lovingly designed, we can be even more effective in serving others with our God-given message.

And so humbly, if you would allow me to do as Dr. Stanley did and ask you two questions: What are you doing to contribute to the strength of your church? And if others followed your pattern, would their church be strong?

–Jimmy Peña

Commit: Spend 10 minutes each day reading God's word and praying. Then and only then, pursue physical goals. Will you make this commitment?

WORKING OUT AT HOME

Convenience of exercise is one of the greatest determining factors in program adherence. In other words, the easier a workout is to get in, the less likely you will be to skip it. For a great many people, home workouts are best. Team PrayFit's two workout DVDs provide challenging, results-driven, at-home workouts that are guaranteed to help you build a stronger, healthier body -- without having to venture out to a franchise gym. So far, the reviews on our latest DVD -- the PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System -- are outstanding! Click here to read what others are saying! For a sneak peek at what you can expect in our newest offering, click the video player below. To order now, click here.

What the Maker Knew

"I praise you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful, I know that full well." --Psalm 139:14

Read: Psalm 139

When God the Creator put the finishing touches on our unique souls, He knew. He knew we'd scrape our shins, disobey parents and upset friends. He knew our kids would reject us, enemies would haunt us and our memory would fail us; and all before losing life's final war with pain. He knew, but that didn't stop Him.

He proceeded to count hairs on heads then fingers and toes. He added color to eyes, dimples on chins and swivels to hips. Why didn't He stop? He knew that what life rejects, Christ accepts. Someday in Heaven, you and I will see just what became of us the day we finally believed what the Maker already knew.

--Jimmy Peña

In Matthew West's song, "Wonderfully Made" he sings: "You don't have to wonder, you are wonderfully made. Perfectly beautiful in every way. Wonderfully, wonderfully, made. You're anything but typical, it's true. They ain't seen anybody quite like you. God never makes a mistake. You are wonderfully, wonderfully made."

How should the fact that God -- The Maker -- says we're wonderful help us through our day? How should that mold and shape our health and fitness?

GREEN POWER: Kale & Cilantro

Harness the power (and flavor) of kale and cilantro

It's time to get your greens -- or more of 'em, as it were. By finding new ways to get kale and cilantro into your nutrition plan, either by adding them to salads and casseroles, you can get much needed immune help and vital nutrients.

>> Click here for more.

Misfits Seldom Do

"But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." --1 Corinthians 1:27

Read: 1 Corinthians 1

If he were your neighbor, you'd move. If choosing teams, he'd be the last one picked. Without a doubt, on the island of misfits he'd be king. But he didn't care. More bold than beautiful, John knew the act to follow was really the act to follow. So he used whatever God gave him to get his message across to a world in need.

Friends, our bodies are merely tools. In the end, they simply get us from life's A to B. But our short trip was so important that Jesus made His. So this week, let's add how we eat and exercise to the list of strange ways God makes Himself known to those around us. Will you be popular? Maybe not. Regarded or rewarded? It's doubtful. But then again, the only attention that's really important is the attention you're paying to the body God designed for you. So go ahead. Be the last one standing. In a world that disregards the body as a means of praise, you'll be in good company when you don't fit in. Misfits seldom do.

--Jimmy Peña

TRAINING TIP: Rest Right, Blast Fat

If you're spending time in the gym and your goal is to get a little bit leaner, don't just go through the motions. The time you are taking between sets of exercise may be limiting how much fat you can burn. Here's how to use rest to lean up faster!

>> Click here to start burning more bodyfat today!

>> READ: For quick-hit, healthy living resources, visit our dedicated fitness and nutrition pages, which are updated with new content each week.

>> COMMUNITY & FELLOWSHIP: Our family has grown by leaps and bounds in five years. Interact with fellow faith-and-fitness devotees by joining our forums today. Here, you can share successes and struggles, swap recipes, pray for one another or just catch up with like-minded friends. Already a member? Sign in here.

>> 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

The Body Forgives

"If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge that to my account." --Philemon 1:18

Read: Philemon 1 "Charge that to my account," Paul told his friend Philemon. In our reading today, Philemon had a slave who stole from him and ran away to Rome. When this slave met Paul, Paul showed him how to be saved. Then Paul wrote some amazing words to Philemon. He said that this man who was once "useless to you" is useful now. And upon the slave's return to Philemon, Paul wanted his slate clean; completely forgiven and welcomed home like a brother. From thief to saint, useless to useful.

Reading that story recently got me to thinking about how forgiving the body is. Imagine the rigors of the military or the pounding the body takes during sports; amazing how it recovers and bounces back. He sure knew what He was doing, amen? God knew all the situations we would get ourselves into, and He built us able.

You know what? The body forgives not only damage from effort, but damage from the lack of it. That's right. It doesn't take long for the body to respond to better choices of fitness or food. And when you consider that our health is only a tool -- a vessel to be useful in serving others -- an apologetic lifestyle may be the only response. To think, God nestled forgiveness deep within our bodies. Maybe as a picture of grace for us, maybe not. But aren't we glad that taking care of ourselves is only one way to thank the Lord for only seeing our hearts?

--Jimmy Peña

NUTRITION BASICS: Whey Protein

In your efforts to start living more healthfully, you may have paid a visit to your local supplement store. On the top of everyone's list for supplemental must-haves is whey protein, and for good reason -- it is crucial for muscle repair and recovery. But do you know how to make the most out of this wonder supp? Click here to learn!

>> For more tips like these, visit our new nutrition page by clicking here.

I'm Weak. He's Strong.

"For by grace you have been saved and that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast." --Ephesians 2:8-9

Read: Ephesians 2 It just never seems to end, does it? This pursuit of health. It's another day in the gym, looking at that same row of dumbbells. Or maybe it's walking another lap around the familiar track with the expected turns. Either way, picking up the weight or the pace are the keys to change, improvement or even maintenance. More...again. Again, some more. Besides, you're only as good as your last workout, so you huff and puff...(rough). Folks, aren't we glad Heaven doesn't require the same?

Truly, if our ability was required for Heaven, we'd be in bad shape. Let's face it, we're just not strong enough, fast enough, good enough. Fortunately, Jesus lifted our heaviest burden and walked the steepest hill. We can stop fighting a fight He's already won. In fact, the next time you're struggling to lift yesterday's weight with a body designed to weaken, or you're trying to keep your previous pace with steadily slowing legs, take a second and smile. Just grin and shake your head. Let it remind you of just how small and weak you are, and just how big and able He is. I admit, whenever I do that, I seem to be a little stronger and a little bit faster. I don't know. Maybe it's because I realize He's put me in charge of something that requires my effort.

--Jimmy Peña

NUTRITION: HIDDEN HOLIDAY DANGERS

If you've hit the malls recently, then you know...nutritional indulgence isn't that difficult to find. Click here to read our list of easy tips that you can build into your Christmas shopping plans in order to keep yourself in the best shape possible heading into 2013.

>> READ: Holiday Nutrition Do's and Don'ts

>> STOCKING STUFFERS: In case you missed it, PrayFit unveiled a new online store earlier this month, replete with stylish new apparel, DVDs and more. Give it a gander and round out your gifts shopping with a few clicks of the mouse today! Plant your first click here: PRAYFIT ONLINE STORE

Made In Heaven

"He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control." --Philippians 3:21

Read: Philippians 3

Before your very first day of school, or prior to getting your driver's license, and even before you began the family with which you spend your days...came your body. Not only did God inspire your soul's dream, but He gave you the body necessary to pursue the job. Since God will always equip us with what we need to accomplish His will, we know our bodies were His choice. Can you imagine the moment?

It was as if God said:

"Sweet soul, here is your body. I've carefully woven it together. It has what it takes for you to pursue me and tell others about me. And oh precious body, this is your soul. Of all the matter in the universe, this is what matters most. Carry it where it needs to go. Protect it. Honor it. Now, I want you two to be good to each other. Be friends, not enemies."

So, do me a favor and take a quick glance at your arm or hands. Think for a second that God himself has touched that skin. He was first. In fact, talk to your body. It's okay, go ahead. Maybe you need to thank it? Assure it? Or like me recently, maybe during your dark hour, you need to apologize. Could be for something you've knowingly done or for something out of your control -- an ailment, an accident maybe, or even a disease. But much like any friend going through a tough time, just tell it you're so very sorry. After all, it was God who knitted it and then breathed life into it. Miraculously, He gave your heart a knowledge that there is something more to this life than life. And like it says in our verse, in order to pursue Him and then share Him, He gave you a weak and fragile body. Oh, it may not last this earth, but you can rest assured it was indeed a match made in Heaven.

--Jimmy Peña

NEW MERCH!!! >> Faithfully taking care of the body the Lord made for you is a daily pursuit. So why not dress the part? Visit our redesigned online store to browse our newest offerings and get a jump on your Christmas shopping! Our new, comfort-first apparel choices include thermals, tees and a selection of gym-ready, lightweight running/training hats. While you're there, you can also check out our print and DVD products, complete with workouts and meal plans, all designed to help you bolster your faith and fitness in 2013 and beyond.

Your gracious purchase will help us continue the mission of PrayFit.com. We are very much in your debt and thankful for all you do for us.

>> CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED!

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.

Time to Board

"What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes." --James 4:14

Read: James 4

With flights being cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy, I can relate to those in airports. A few months ago, I found myself stranded. No flights coming or going, I settled into my corner of the gate area and watched others do the same. Turns out, airports are to a writer what open car windows are to my chocolate Lab Josey; an overload on the senses.

As I sat there, I watched my fellow travelers as they took ownership of their waiting space. One lady turned a few open seats into a makeshift office. Another man used the floor for a picnic. I thought I'd seen it all until a young couple installed a mailbox and rolled-out a welcome home mat. Their address: 2 Stayforeverlane

Okay, so maybe the young couple didn't exactly make the waiting area their front porch, but you and I sure do. We claim what's ours, deadbolt our belongings, and even though we're not, we make ourselves at home.

Truth is, we're not here to stay and our wait isn't all that long. But instead of seeing the brevity of life as encouragement to stay strong and healthy, we rationalize since it's not gonna last, why bother? But we have to remind ourselves that we don't do good things in order to be loved, we do them because we are. (If only we saw our health that way.)

So, after a five-hour delay, it was finally time to board. I began packing up my things when a little girl holding her father's hand walked by and asked, "Daddy, will there be someone waiting for us?" And while I didn't hear the father's reply, I do know the answer. And because of that, I think the best we can do is wait and live abundantly like God intended...and be ready when it's finally time to board.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. All of us at Prayfit are thinking about and praying for everyone affected by Sandy. And while most of you within its terrible path won't see this, we're praying for your safety, comfort and the same for your loved ones.

RECIPE OF THE WEEK: ORANGE-CHOCOLATE COOKIES

That's right, it's time for some dessert. Being healthier, after all, isn't about painful deprivation as much as it is about better choices. So if you are moving your body regularly, you shouldn't feel guilty about occasionally giving in to your sweet tooth. But if you are being calorie-conscious, this can be a bit more agonizing unless you know how to indulge without going overboard. That's where PrayFit contributing nutritionist Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, comes in.

"My mother-in-law discovered this recipe last year in a magazine, and these cookies became an instant family favorite," she says. "The combination of orange and chocolate makes for a light but decadent cookie. At 90 calories each, you can have one (or two) and not feel guilty about dessert."

Orange-Chocolate Cookies

Makes 4 dozen

1 cup butter, softened 1 cup granulated sugar 1 egg yolk 2 teaspoons finely shredded orange peel 2 cups all-purpose flour 1/4 cup orange marmalade 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate 1 tablespoon shortening

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add sugar. Beat until combined, scraping sides of the bowl occasionally. Beat in egg yolk and orange peel. Beat in as much flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness. Using a 1 1/2-inch round cookie cutter, cut into rounds. Press your thumb into center and fill with 1/4 teaspoon orange marmalade.

Bake on parchment-lined baking sheets in a 375-degree oven for about 12 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. In a small saucepan, melt chocolate and shortening over low heat. Dip half of each cookie in chocolate mixture. Place cookies on rack to set.

Calories: 89 Fat: 5.5 grams Saturated Fat: 2.5 grams Protein: 1 gram Carbohydrate: 11 grams Sodium: 2 milligrams Cholesterol: 15 milligrams Fiber: 0 grams

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC is a registered dietitian and is currently a nutrition expert for the Food Network, and has worked as a media spokesperson for Cooking Light Magazine. She has appeared on Good Day Street Talk, Food Network.com, Access Hollywood and GMA Health. Visit her at Dana White Nutrition. You can also visit her blog for more recipes at http://blog.foodnetwork.com/healthyeats/.

>> PLUS! 3 ways to start losing bodyfat...today

Are You Reaching?

"She thought, 'If I can just touch his robe, I will be healed.'" --Matthew 9:21

Read: Matthew 21

She did what a suffering Job couldn't. Jacob, David -- them, too. Run through the bible and find as many people as possible who hurt physically, and one woman did exactly what each of them would have done in an instant. Having suffered for years with an issue that condemned her as an unwanted and unclean outcast, doctors couldn't heal her and family disowned her. She was out of choices, so she got up. She mustered strength of heart and elbowed her way through the crowd. She said to herself, "If I can just touch the hem of his garment." Now, the bible says many people were pressing against Jesus when He asked, "Who touched me?" (Mark 5:30)

Maybe you can relate. Are you hurting physically? Perhaps you've been dealing with pain unknown to most, but like the woman in our story, something has privately clouded your life. Or maybe you're apparently healthy and able, and yet you've willfully and knowingly neglected your body as a fearfully woven gift. Whoever you are and whatever your needs, make no mistake...Jesus knows your hurt and your heart. There's no pain or scar He won't understand, so bring it all. And remember, while many people actually touched Jesus on the road that day, only one truly reached.

--Jimmy Peña

STUDY: EXERCISE ACUTELY IMPAIRS COGNITIVE FUNCTION You may want to do those TPS reports before your next tough workout

How well do you recall things or process complicated problems immediately after exercise? If you just finished a workout, then maybe you need to read that sentence again. We'll wait...

If you really think about it, and are honest with yourself, you likely have more difficulty focusing on anything more complicated than mixing your protein shake. A new study shows that those who took cognitive function tests immediately after a workout had significantly slower response times than a group that rested.

>> Click here for the study abstract.

"Research shows that exercise can boost brain power over the long haul," says Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days." "However, the immediate effects of exercise may have detrimental effects on your brain function, as this new study shows. So for the students who train, either train after your tests or give yourself a few hours between your workout and your tests to prevent the fatigue of the workout from impairing your performance on the test."

Let Us Use Them

"Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them." --Romans 12:6

Read: Romans 12

If you have any classical music at the ready, go ahead and cue it up. (This reads better with it.) Ready? Now, imagine him. With only a candle to light the room, Mozart furiously scribbles with one hand while playing the piano with the other. His fingers can't keep up. Face buried in the music, he puts the finishing touches on a masterpiece. Although he's alone, he can hear every instrument lending its unique sound to the opus. Before a soul ever hears a note, he raises is head, closes his eyes and then...he's conducting.

Mozart left us his sheet music to follow, but if we play it out of key, it not only sounds wrong -- making dissonance out of harmony -- but it's not what the composer had intended. God -- the body's builder -- gave us the instructions on how we should build our lives and how these bodies support that purpose. Are we being worthy craftsmen, fulfilling His intentions? He certainly didn't intend for us to worship ourselves in the mirror, but we also weren't designed to sit idle in front our TVs.

No, some of us are the hands -- the reachers and the helpers. Others are the feet -- the seekers and doers. You may be the ears, the good listener or the tongue, a fine speaker. But whether yours is the back that carries, or you have the shoulders that bear burdens, we are the body. And like the bible says in Romans 12, "Let us use them."

--Jimmy Peña

3 WAYS TO START LOSING WEIGHT TODAY

Contrary to what many may have led you to believe, losing a few pounds and inches needn't be about complicated formulas or crushing deprivation. And while there are plenty of methods you can try to start slimming down your physique, we've boiled it down to three to get you started. Once you get these three tactics in check, then you can start building on to speed your progress.

>> Click here for the three tips.

But He Did...

"The people were amazed when they saw the mute speaking, the crippled made well, the lame walking and the blind seeing. And they praised the God of Israel." --Matthew 15:31

Read: Matthew 15

What a week. If you missed any of the entries of healing and faith, please take a few minutes to scroll the archives. But as we turn the page on our topic, an entry from February that I wrote in the midst of my storm came to mind today. It was called, "But Even If He Doesn't." Do you remember it? Here's an excerpt.

"At the edge of a fiery furnace, Shadrach, Meshack and Abednego had a decision. Bow to an idol or be thrown in a furnace. They chose faith, believing that God would deliver them from the very fire that tested it. But then they said, 'But even if He doesn't...' That part of the verse has taken up residence inside my heart this week. They didn't jump knowing they'd be delivered. They jumped knowing the Deliverer. I'm shaking my head as I type this sentence. I want an 'Even if He doesn't' kind of faith. Save me, help me, heal me. But even if He doesn't..."

Folks, we all struggle. But I'm fixing my hopes on the promise of eternal life to make sense of the struggles in this one. These bodies -- as frail as they are at times -- are God-woven miracles; temporary on purpose and built "for" a purpose. And I promise you, when mine catches back up with my spirit, look out. After all, back in February I said "But even if He doesn't..."

Hmm...but He did.

--Jimmy Peña

STAT OF THE DAY: If you watched the presidential debates this week, or even if you didn't, you likely realize that health care and the economy are critical issues in this election. But lost in the political posturing of the high cost of health care are the root causes of the spiraling costs. According to a recent report by MSNBC, obesity costs the U.S. $190 billion per year in health care and lost work productivity. Will that come up in the debates? Should it?

PRAYFIT TV Check out and share this inspiring video about the transformative power physical stewardship

Jimmy Peña's message of "Life is not about the body, but health is a means of praise" is being well-received by congregations around the country. His story-telling approach to how a healthy body can strengthen the body of Christ and inspire abundant living is a message you don't want to miss.

>> For ministry assistance or to get Jimmy out to your church, write us at info@prayfit.com.

Of Gifts and Gratitude

"If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it." --John 15:6

Read: 1 Corinthians 12

Anyone who is blessed enough to be around children for any length of time knows that you often end up with the strangest collection of gifts. My girls are no different. Much to the dismay of our community groundskeeper, Mya and Ella are intent upon picking every flower that they see, always with a single plan in mind -- to brighten someone else's day with a makeshift, yet heartfelt bouquet.

This gesture, which holds great meaning to the girls, is quickly lost on us grown-ups. We accept the flowers with a showy smile and a nod, only to set them down in the moments to follow. We carry on with our business, leaving petals to wilt and whither from neglect. It is only when Mya and Ella return to inquire about the condition of their floral good tidings that we are suddenly forced to ponder the true value of their gift. Put plainly, the flowers matter to them because they probably carefully selected each one with me and Wendy in mind, and no explanation can soothe the heartbreak of our apparent ingratitude.

Our bodies are exquisite and unparalleled works of art. Formed from the dirt in His own garden, each for a unique purpose. And like flowers handed to you by a child, they were given to us with an expectation of continued care. How we express gratitude for our bodies doesn't just matter to us. It matters, perhaps more than we'll ever know, to the One who gifted them in the first place.

--Eric Velazquez

SPRINT TIP: INTERVALS American ultramarathoner Josh Cox recently dropped some truth on the PrayFit Nation: "Long slow distance makes long slow runners. If you want to run fast you need to run fast." Cox recommended that intervals should be part of your program each week if your goal is to build speed. But intervals also help you burn fat faster and workouts are shorter to boot. For the next few weeks, try this simple interval scheme to start getting leaner -- and faster.

Week 1: After a two-minute jog to warm-up, sprint at top speed for 10 seconds, then walk for 50 seconds. Repeat this until you have completed 10 sprints. Perform this workout on two, non-consecutive days.

Week 2: After a two-minute jog to warm-up, sprint at top speed for 11 seconds, then walk for 49 seconds. Repeat this until you have completed 11 sprints. Perform this workout on two, non-consecutive days.

Week 3: After a two-minute jog to warm-up, sprint at top speed for 12 seconds, then walk for 48 seconds. Repeat this until you have completed 12 sprints. Perform this workout on two, non-consecutive days.

Week 4: After a two-minute jog to warm-up, sprint at top speed for 13 seconds, then walk for 47 seconds. Repeat this until you have completed 13 sprints. Perform this workout on two, non-consecutive days.

Week 5: After a two-minute jog to warm-up, sprint at top speed for 14 seconds, then walk for 46 seconds. Repeat this until you have completed 14 sprints. Perform this workout on two, non-consecutive days.

You're essentially working in one-minute increments, adding one second to your sprint and eliminating a second from your recovery time each week. By challenging your body with greater intensity each week, you are paving the way for better improvement in body composition as well as sprint efficiency.

RUNNERS FORUM Walk, jog or sprint your way into the growing discussion on the forums Are you a runner? You have a 5K coming up? Maybe you're just interested in running and don't know where to begin? Whatever the case, it's time to surround yourself with a community of like-minded individuals. This thread on the PrayFit forums is dedicated to those who prefer to get fit by running. So dive into the discussion to encourage one another, to share experiences or to pick up some tips.

>> RUNNERS FORUM - CLICK HERE

In Loving Memory

I held his wrist. As an 8th grader, I walked the isle at Cielo Vista Baptist Church and committed my life to Christ. A week later, I waded into the water of the baptistry in front of my family and friends and listened as my Preacher asked me, "Jimmy, do you know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior?" And then I held his wrist with one hand and pinched my nose with the other. I've never felt cleaner then the day I came out of that water.

Last week, various heroes of the faith remembered and honored the life of Reverend Henry Powell. From funny memories, to countless and blessed congregations from around the world, I sat and unsuccessfully fought back tears. And nothing I heard was as amazing as the eulogy written by his wife of 49 years, Sandie (my Sister Powell) which was read aloud by their son Tim. I'll never forget it. And while I know Brother Powell is with the Lord today, I couldn't help but think about his still, sweet body. If those feet weren't tip-toeing through the house to deliver Christmas gifts to grandkids, they were in the dangerous underground of China quietly delivering bibles and leading other pastors. If those hands weren't rooting for the Lobos, they were rooting for snotty-nosed kids just like me to live right. And if that heart wasn't beating in honor of his wife, it was breaking for the lost to know Christ as Lord.

You know, in ceremonies like these, we've all heard someone say that "It's not him" or "It's just a body." Well, I can't help but humbly and respectfully disagree. Especially when you consider that God made it, and all of the people who won't be reached without it. In fact, what did Jesus show Thomas in the upper room? And what didn't they find when the stone was rolled away? That's right. Not just a body. So you see, it's no wonder God said to honor that which carries and protects the soul. And that's why, when it was my turn to stand near and say goodbye to my sweet preacher who introduced me to Christ, I held his wrist...one more time.

--Jimmy Peña

P.S. Brother Powell would often urge us to "Do what you can. Do ALL that you can. And do it now." May that be an instrument you and I use today and each day to serve the Lord and others. I know I am. I know I will.

Should friend's desire, memorial contributions may be made to:

Outreach to Asia Nationals P.O. Box 2440 Winchester, VA 22604 or visit

www.outreachtoasianationals.org

Be Friends, Not Enemies

"He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control." --Philippians 3:21

Read: Philippians 3:21

Before your very first day of school, or prior to getting your driver's license, and even before you began the family with which you spend your days...came your body. Not only did God inspire your soul's dream, but He gave you the body necessary to pursue the job. Since God will always equip us with what we need to accomplish His will, we know our bodies were His choice. Can you imagine the moment?

It was as if God said:

"Sweet soul, here is your body. I've carefully woven it together. It has what it takes for you to pursue me and tell others about me. And oh precious body, this is your soul. Of all the matter in the universe, this is what matters most. Carry it where it needs to go. Protect it. Honor it. Now, I want you two to be good to each other. Be friends, not enemies."

So, do me a favor and take a quick glance at your arm or hands. Think for a second that God himself has touched that skin. He was first. In fact, talk to your body. It's okay, go ahead. Maybe you need to thank it. Perhaps you need to assure it. Or like me recently, maybe during your dark hour, you need to apologize. Could be for something you've knowingly done or for something out of your control -- an ailment, an accident maybe, or even a disease. But much like any friend going through a tough time, just tell it you're so very sorry. After all, it was God who knitted it and then breathed life into it. Miraculously, He gave your heart a knowledge that there is something more to this life than life. And like it says in our verse, in order to pursue Him and then share Him, He gave you a weak and fragile body. Oh, it may not last this earth, but you can rest assured it was indeed a match made in Heaven.

--Jimmy Peña

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: MIX & MATCH Your body was fitted for a particular soul and every body out there is different. Some folks may just need to get busy with some cardio to build that friendly soul-body rapport, while others may be interested in reshaping a particular bodypart. Whatever your need -- and wherever your soul leads -- we have a great selection of workouts for you to choose from. Pick one (or more) of the 10-minute workouts listed here, or click here to go straight to our fitness page. Be sure to share these on your Facebook pages to get others in your social circles moving this week!

>> LOW BACK & CORE

>> FULL BODY SESSION

>> GET LEAN

>> BODYWEIGHT ONLY

Not sure how to do an exercise? Click here to see many of these moves in action!

Teach The World To Sing

"That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." --Romans 10:9

Read: Romans 10

Yesterday at the gym I was listening to a great new soundtrack filled with well-known classics in my headphones. The voices on this one song and the catchy chorus were just too good not to join in. So without hesitation, I began to add a harmony line; something I learned from countless days singing with Mom.

Well, as I got off the machine to start lifting, one of the employees nearby raised his eyebrows and looked at me as if to say, "Don't quit your day job, pal." I grinned and chuckled to myself. But it dawned on me. He didn't know I was singing the harmony. See, even if you're in tune, any harmony line doesn't sound right to others if they can't hear the melody.

Folks, our lives, the daily routines and these bodies are merely harmonies. Let's remember that we're out of tune if we're too focused on our minor line, never letting others hear who we're listening to. You know, "I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony," but that can only happen if I'm in unison with God's favorite song of all -- and the only one He lifts His Holy hand for silence to hear -- the song of Jesus.

--Jimmy Peña

TURN UP THE VOLUME

A few years ago, PrayFit co-founder Eric Velazquez, Dr. Jim Stoppani and I formed the Weider Research Group when we worked together at Muscle & Fitness Magazine. One month in particular, we performed a study to determine how music affects strength.

We had a group of trained athletes complete a shoulder workout on two separate occasions. Both sessions consisted of three sets of dumbbell overhead presses, three sets of Smith machine upright rows, and three sets of dumbbell side laterals, all done using their 10-rep max and taking each set to failure. They did one workout while listening to their choice of music on headphones and during the other workout they listened to no music.

We reported at the 2008 annual meeting of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) that the subjects were able to do an average of one more rep per set when they listened to music as compared to when they did not.

The take-home message from this study is obvious: listen to your preferred music when you train (or during whatever activity you enjoy). Being able to complete one more rep with the same weight, or going that extra 1/4 mile, is what can make all the difference in your physical progression.

>> PRAYFIT DAILY: Over 8,000 members receive this faith-and-fitness devotional in their inbox each morning. Are you one of them? If not, click here to sign-up for the PrayFit Daily and then share the link with your friends. We're building a PrayFit Nation, one inspirational message at a time, and you're part of it!

Suit for the Soul

"See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey." --Matthew 21:5

Read: Matthew 21

A few years ago, Billy Graham said to an eager audience:

"See the suit I'm wearing? It's a brand new suit. My children and my grandchildren are telling me I've gotten a little slovenly in my old age. So I went out and bought a new suit for this luncheon and one more occasion. You know what that occasion is? This is the suit in which I'll be buried. But when you hear I'm dead, I don't want  you to immediately remember this suit I'm wearing. I want you to remember that I know where I'm going."

Friends, this holy week, let's renew our perspective of these bodies. These suits for the soul have a purpose in life. They aren't the purpose of life. Let's not be remembered for them.

Funny, it makes me think of the donkey on Palm Sunday. In that day, donkeys were known to protect sheep. Well, that day he carried The Lamb; an unspeakable honor. I don't doubt for a second he knew it. And neither should we.

Let's make it our life's purpose -- like Billy and the donkey -- to be remembered for where we're going, and who we carried along the way.

--Jimmy Peña

Question: Are you focusing too much on your physical appearance that you've neglected your true purpose? Who do you know that needs you to deliver Jesus to them? You too have an eager audience. What does it mean to you when you realize your health is not about your body?

Please share you thoughts here with us in the comments section or email us at info@prayfit.com, and have a blessed and renewed Easter week.

"We don't strive to be healthy in order to be loved by God. We strive to be healthy because we are." --Jimmy Peña