The Imperfect Game

Pretty neat weak. I liked our theme: "Closers." Great life-enders. Thumbing through God's word and some books of my favorite authors, the number of remarkable men and women (and yes, even the donkey) who finished their life's game with the kind of endurance that Paul penned is jaw-dropping. Just count all the pitfalls, the pitiful, and the pits! What a pit-y party. And, well, it might as well have been. Because while their lives were heavenly, inspired and God-breathed, each one of them -- like you and me -- needs amazing pity.

On June 3, 2010 Armando Gallaraga was one out away from pitching only the 21st perfect game in baseball history. Not only did he hold the opposition to zero hits, he never even walked a batter. Each of the first 26 hitters he faced sat down. But with only one out left in the 9th, umpire Jim Joyce mistakenly called a hitter safe at first. The blown call cost Armando his place in history. From perfect to imperfect, just like that. Getting support around baseball as well as from Armando himself, a tearful and regretful Jim Joyce was quoted as saying, "Nobody's perfect."

With baseball's closer role woven throughout our theme this week, I thought of that game. That imperfect game. You and I have made some blown calls in life, haven't we? That one day. Those dumb days. Bad judgement calls. If we could take them back, we would. But since we can't, our chance at a perfect life is impossible. We'd have a better chance of swallowing the ocean than being flawless. Enter Jesus, The Savior.

Imagine it. He takes our place on the hill. His was a sinless, sacred life. Blameless. Spotless. Perfect. But because of our sin, He climbed on the cross and died for each one. Amazing pity. When God looks at your life and mine, He sees the life of His Son. No blown calls. He alone was worthy to take the loss, in order that we could win what only perfection can earn. And in what hour on Friday does the Bible say our Savior's eyes closed? Yes. In the 9th.

--Jimmy Peña

For Discussion: If you missed any of this week's entries, be sure and see A Life Spent Saving, Out of the Pits, The Purpose Fulfilled Life and The Set-Up Man. We hope they blessed your week and life. Do you have a favorite Biblical closer? Someone we didn't mention? We'd love to read it. Share it with us. Have a good weekend. And please don't miss Monday's entry. I'm already excited to write it.

IMG_4821GEAR UP!: We're getting ready to load our FALL LINE of clothing and accessories, so it's time to clear the store! Please take a quick look at the store to find our t-shirts and tanks with some of our favorite verses. Friends, it's through your giving that we're able to continue the ministry of PrayFit and we are so grateful. We hope these items bless your life and your testimony as Christians with a heart for health. Thank you for your love and support.

A Holy Climb

"Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, "Go, throw yourself into the sea', and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them." --Mark 11:23

Read: Mark 11

Hey everyone. After a week off, PrayFit is back online. Honestly, I probably need to write more than you need to read, but nonetheless, here we are in Jesus' name. If you happen to be new to PrayFit, we have a couple of common mountains we climb -- two objectives as we make our way up some pretty steep hills. For some, PrayFit is a place of encouragement to begin or continue an exercise program or sensible eating plan. Others don't need such nudging on the health side but have come to enjoy the fact that we're nestled in God's word and steeped in grace.

It's a holy climb, really. That's what we chat about each day as we scale. As one hand digs for its stronghold, we remind each other of our need of greater health in order to live abundant lives, serving and doing. And as we secure our grip with the other, we echo the truth that no amount of health or fitness, muscle or endurance is worth anything if God isn't behind each motive.

So, maybe you're like me. Maybe it's easy to imagine yourself clinging to the side of this cliff. For whatever reason, either by neglect or something that blindsided you, you're stalled physically. Or perhaps your fitness is just fine, but you're so focused on reaching the summit of health or even body image that you're missing the purpose of it all. Well, wherever you are on this hillside, I hope and pray you spend some time with us each day. It's my experience that the more we focus on Christ, the stronger we are to get over hurdles or to get over ourselves.

Make it a holy climb -- one you make only by reaching for His hand.

--Jimmy Peña

>> WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: 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. Below is a sample of what you can expect with our newest video offering, the PrayFit 33-Day Body Toning System.

Health Doesn't Come Naturally

"You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." –1 Corinthians 6:20

Read: 1 Corinthians 6

Running up the first steep hill of her half-marathon recently, my wife Loretta came up behind a man going maybe half her speed. But since hills are hills, they struggled up together, each at their own pace -- two warriors needing the same air to answer the call of the hill. Halfway up, Loretta passed him, but not before they gave each other verbal encouragement.

You know, we've received a number of heartfelt e-mails and messages lately from many of you in dire need of encouragement to exercise. You've expressed that, for whatever reason, you just don't feel motivated. Well friends, we're praying for you. But at the same time, truthfully, not feeling motivated to honor the body is like saying you're not motivated to be honest. Remember, just because something doesn't come naturally to you doesn't mean you're not called to do it.

So please be encouraged. And do what God has mandated by respecting your body as one of His valuable tools. And oh, yes, the man Loretta was running with on the hill? He had no legs. Using his arms alone, he slowly turned the wheels of his chair over and over and over. Why did he climb? Well, he probably had a few good reasons, but the fact that it came naturally probably wasn't one of them. But no matter what (or why), like you and me, He was simply in the race and the hill was in the way. Answering the call of the hill isn't easy, but because Jesus said yes to His, you can say yes to yours.

--Jimmy Peña

HEALTHY WEIGHT LOSS Reality-show rapid may not be realistic, or sustainable

A generation of crash diets and miracle fitness programs have fed into our collective and undeniable need for instant gratification. The good news and bad news is that some of these gimmicks work -- if only for a time -- keeping our eyes fixed attentively on the scale. No decrease in weight today? Take heart. The small print says it all: "Results not typical." Healthy, sustained weight loss may not be as rapid as you'd like, despite whatever conceptions NBC's "The Biggest Loser" may have created.

"Usually when people lose a lot of weight quickly, it’s mostly water weight," says PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD. And once the water weight is gone, the frustration tends to set in, she says. "The early weight loss creates false expectations about the rate of subsequent future weight loss. A weight loss rate of 0.5-2.0 pounds per week is more likely to mean that your weight loss is from fat tissue. It also usually means that the weight loss is more likely to be maintained over time.

If you're striving to lose a few pounds, commit to making solid, sustainable lifestyle changes that can help you be a better steward of the body you have been given.

>> 8 WAYS TO EAT BETTER...FOREVER: What changes should you make if you're struggling to lose weight? Here are eight simple strategies anyone can start using today to start melting away inches and pounds.

Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and works at a Washington, D.C.-based independent, nonprofit science organization, where her work is currently focused on environmental and policy solutions to obesity prevention. She also speaks to groups about health and nutrition and provides nutrition education to patients at a free medical clinic that serves low-income, uninsured adults in the D.C. area. You can view more of Emily’s nutrition tips and updates by following her on Twitter, @EmilyAMillerRD.


November 9, 2011Read: Psalm 116

"For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling." --Psalm 116:8

Today, on a short walk around our complex with my girls, my oldest daughter ran ahead a bit. When I finally caught up to her, she was halfway up a small embankment, princess dress, flats and all. This small hill is a familiar one to us -- we use it as a shortcut on our walks to the neighborhood play area -- but we usually hike it together because it's a bit too steep for 2- and 3-year-olds to manage on their own.

"Mya, stop right there," I said calmly as she struggled with the ascent. "Your shoes are very slippery, baby, let me help."

She turned to me and momentarily lost her footing. Once determined to proceed to the small summit on her own, Mya now looked to me in desperation, reaching out to me for help. While the climb to the top would certainly have been no picnic, coming back down had its own set of dangers -- if she were to do it alone. Taking her small hand in mine, we carefully negotiated the slope and continued on our walk together.

When we walk with God, we enjoy balance and security. When we trek ahead without Him, we often find ourselves in daunting, precarious positions. But no matter how steep the climb, no matter how dangerous the descent, when we get stuck He'll always be there to offer His hand to help us down so we can continue on our walk...together.

--Eric Velazquez

REST NOT, WANT NOT How to use rest to your advantage when training with weights

If you train with weights, you likely do so with an eye toward being stronger and leaner. And while a great many exercisers will set their programs with precision — dutifully planning exercises sets and reps for each workout — very few are as diligent when it comes to rest periods. Instead, some people will choose to rest until it “feels right” to get into the next set.

But if you’re trying to burn more fat, you may want to start watching the clock.

“Studies find that those who rested 30 seconds between sets during weight training workouts burned 50% more calories than those who rested three minutes,” says Jim Stoppani, PhD, co-author of “PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days.”

For more information like this from the Doc, visit www.jimstoppani.com or join his Facebook fan page.




October 17, 2011Read: Matthew 4

"Come, follow me." -- Matthew 4:18-20 Last Friday night we glanced back. For those who didn't see it, here's the thought we posted on Facebook: "Whew, Friday. Looking back down the week's mountain, some of us wonder how and why we made it. I know I do. That Monday meeting, Tuesday's test, Wednesday's wreck...well, you get the point. But it's ok to look back. Moses looked back at the sea he crossed. Daniel looked back at his bed in a lion's den. And Jesus? He looked back too. Of all the memories He had on Friday, our future was one of them. So go ahead. Look back in awe, in wonder. And while we do, let's remember that Jesus finished His week to give us purpose in ours. Whew, Friday. That's how. He's why..."

And so...whew! Monday. That was quick. The foot of yet another mountain. Head craned, eyes up...it's steep. But before you start your climb, look down. Notice? Somebody's been here. Go ahead, kneel to get a closer look. Seems our 'how' and 'why' has cleared a path. Are you shaking your head in wonder? Yeah, me too. The one who delivered us on Friday is leading us on Monday. Let's look up the hill in awe as we put one foot in front of the other, shall we? We'll see you at the top.


Workout of the Week: Legs in 10

You may not have heard it here first but you've certainly heard it here often: Training your legs regularly is one of the best things you can do to enhance your body composition. The quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves represent a large portion of your body's musculature so, by working them hard you burn more calories. This, of course, on top of the more direct benefits such as increased strength, stamina and power production. This lower-body routine allows you to train for multiple goals at once, without equipment and in just a few minutes.

Warm-up: Jog in place for 1 min. High-knee running Jumping jacks Squat jumps Split jump lunge Speed skaters Wall squat hold

--Perform each exercise for one minute, resting 15-30 seconds between each. Then, repeat the entire sequence as many times as possible.

SHARE: GOALS What is one goal you hope to crush this week? List it here in the comments section. Is it consistent prayer time? Bible study? Perhaps you want to walk a certain number of laps or run a particular number of miles. Whatever it is, make it known. Let us and others help hold you accountable. We're on this side of the hill together.