Strengthen Your Message

"But the Lord stood at my side and gave me strength." --2 Timothy 4:17

Read: 2 Timothy 4

Yesterday we touched on what's most important: our daily time with the good Lord. But you may already have that part down pat. While yesterday's entry was extremely well-written and uncommonly clever (this is where you just nod in agreement), it wasn't for you. Let's face it, you can set clocks by your prayer and reading rituals. You wrote the book on quiet times. And if so, we're glad you're back, because today we're talking about what fewer and fewer believers are doing once they get up off their knees.

Dr. Charles Stanley recently said that adversity can either be a burden or a bridge. When I look back at my year, I know beyond a doubt that when adversity weakened my muscle, God strengthened my message. What about you? Do you see health as a burden or a bridge? Perhaps you have self-inflicted infirmities or maybe you were blindsided. Distinguishing between the two isn't always easy, is it? But let me be as much of an encourager as I am a tough reminder that our bodies have so much to accomplish for the kingdom. Many of the things God calls us to do as believers require a stewardship-type outlook of the body. Not in vain, but practically speaking. If you're a believer who finds himself or herself unknowingly hiding behind the truth that God only sees the heart -- with all due respect -- a "willful" neglect of the body is a heart issue.

But trust me, I know the battle is tough. I know it's daily. And I know how despair feels. But ask the Lord for wisdom and strength on how to be a better steward in this area. Determine today that only the limits God sets for your life will slow you down. Not anything man-made or self-made. When you close that bible and rise to your feet, tell the Lord your body is at His service now. And if that means adversity, or healthier food choices and fitness-type activities, see it all as an opportunity to strengthen your message.

--Jimmy Peña


Think you're consuming too much salt? A review published in the American Journal of Medicine found that people who consumed less than the recommended 2,300 mg of sodium per day actually had a 37% increased risk of dying of cardiovascular disease than those who ingested more. So trying to go cold turkey, or letting your spouse take that salt shaker away from you every night at dinner time may not be the best approach.

Still, there are some who need to be careful not to overdo the salt because they have high blood pressure or a history of heart disease. To reduce your levels of sodium, try these simple tips from PrayFit contributing nutritionist Emily Ann Miller, MPH, RD.

• Instead of a lot of salt, use herbs, spices, flavored vinegars, citrus juices, or wine to flavor food • Taste your food before salting it • Buy fresh, frozen, or canned "no salt added" veggies, and add a little salt at the table • Rinse canned beans and other canned veggies to remove sodium • Cook rice, pasta, and hot cereal without salt • Read labels: look for "low-sodium," "reduced-sodium," "no salt added," and foods that have less than 200 mg per serving

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.


October 3, 2011Read 1 Corinthians 1

"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

If he were your neighbor, you'd move. If choosing teams, he'd be the one last 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 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.



If necessity is the mother of invention then simplicity is it's wise, older uncle. When it comes to designing good, productive workout routines, the best strategy is often the most basic. So this abs program -- devoid of any cheap gimmicks -- is an invention born out of simply knowing what works. Using proven, effective exercises for the upper abs, lower abs and obliques, you'll provide your midsection all the stimulus it needs to change in just minutes.

>> Do This. Perform these four exercises in the order listed without rest. Do each move to failure then move to the next one. Rest 30 seconds at the end of the last exercise then repeat 2-3 more times. Use this routine at the end of any workout or do it as a stand-alone routine. Allow 48-72 hours between sessions to allow for better recovery.

Double Crunch

Standard Crunch

Crossover Crunch

Reverse Crunch

>> For exercise descriptions, click here.

>> For exercise demonstrations, click here. (VIDEO)



August 26, 2011Read: Jeremiah 29

"Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you." --Jeremiah 29:12

It's been a blessed and educational week for us at PrayFit. For the last several days, we've been happily confined to studios, warehouses and soundproof stages, rehearsing for today's filming of our very first home workout DVDs. The good people of Lionsgate Entertainment have entrusted us with taking our message of faith and fitness to the masses, while we've placed our trust (and gratitude) into those helping us make sure we get it right.

PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena, who will host the DVD series (due out this winter), has been on camera before, but this week has been an entirely different beast. Working with an incredibly talented cast and crew, Jimmy has had to learn to absorb tons of feedback from every direction. As you can imagine, the volume of opinions can make things tough to process, even for an established fitness veteran like Jimmy. But he knows that following the lead of those who have been here before is an integral part of this new venture . The communication hasn't been one-sided, however. Jimmy's input on why PrayFit's message is so important has helped everyone get on the same page. Ultimately, a combination of listening and being heard will make for a much more powerful message, both in substance and in spirit.

It is perhaps the most distinguishing characteristic of Christianity that our Lord craves dialogue with us. He has written the law on our hearts, but he also desires constant two-way conversation that can enrich our lives, feed our souls and even nourish our bodies. When we pray, He listens. When we listen, we learn. Taking the cue of the One who came before us, we can't go wrong.


Lord, this morning, as we finalize our goal of bringing PrayFit's message to families everywhere, we pray for wisdom, confidence and calm. We are so grateful that you hear our prayers and pray that you would help us listen for your voice among the noise of the day. We are humbled by the opportunity and pray that you help us see it through in a way that pleases you. In your name, amen.

>> GET ON "THE LIST": Nearly 5,000 people have signed up for the PrayFit Daily. And why not? Who wouldn't like a bite-sized dose of inspiration and healthy-living tips delivered to their inbox each morning? Sign-up today, or share the link with a friend, by clicking here.



July 15, 2011Read: Joshua 24

"Then I sent Moses and Aaron..." --Joshua 24:5

This week, Prayfit VP Eric Velazquez has been out on assignment. The assignment? Vacation with family. Time away from being the glue for everything we do at PrayFit. If I could humbly assign Eric a biblical counterpart, it would probably be Aaron. If you're thinking, "Aaron! Of course! Aaron...who's Aaron?" Well, that helps my point.

Aaron was Moses' brother. Often overlooked, but when Moses was in need, God sent Aaron. Moses stuttered, so God delivered. Aaron 'spoke well' and they became a team.

So please allow me to use the comparison to publicly acknowledge Eric and his selfless, invisible, critical and fantastic work he does day in and out. If it weren't for Eric, there would be no message. If he's not writing amazing entries and inspiring people to grow closer to the Lord and healthier in the process, he's smoothing my stutter. He's my brother, and we're a team.


WEEK IN REVIEW Your weekly, one-stop shop for healthy living tips

>> HOW TO: Learn the basics of effective journaling for faster, more noticeable results

>> CHALLENGE: Are you up for making one small change each night in a single week?

>> DISCUSSION: How important is it to care for the bodies that He so carefully built?

>> STRATEGY: 6 ways to get more out of meals without expanding your waistline

HEARD: Peace Officers for Christ, International is committed to improving the mental, physical and spiritual health of police officers everywhere. PrayFit helps us do just that. If the police are to serve honorably we must be able to withstand spiritual attack every bit as much as physical assaults. This is more than a ‘pump you up’ book. It certainly does that but more importantly, it will pump up your spiritual fitness level as well. I look forward to sharing it with my colleagues across America and the world. But whatever your calling, this book is for you.”

–Rick Hicks, Chief of Police (retired) and Board Member, Peace Officers for Christ, International

>> Order your copy of "PrayFit: Your Guide to a Healthy Body and a Stronger Faith in 28 Days" at Amazon today by clicking here.



December 16, 2010Read: Romans 12

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." --Romans 12:2

Watching the news tonight, a story came up about a local man who recently served as the body double for the actor Jack Black in the poster ads for the upcoming movie Gulliver's Travels. The man was honored to do his duty, saying that he's now famous from the neck down. The producers needed an overweight, out-of-shape man with Jack's bodytype, and this lucky guy fit the mold. Well, hoo-ray.

As the story unfolded, they asked what the man did for a living to which the he proudly replied, "I'm a pastor."

Now folks, we realize that life is not about the body, but tonight's story is a good indicator of just how much of a paradigm shift we need. As always, it's not about perfection, and it's not about chiseled biceps for sure. But we need a renewed mind in the area of health. When 70% of Americans are overweight, and 1 in 3 children born today might not outlive their parents due to obesity-related illness, isn't it time to consider our effort toward better health as a means of silent evangelism? Again, it's not that the pastor doesn't care about the message he's sending, but maybe he doesn't know that he's sending a message.

WE WANT TO KNOW >>Should we be striving to be a healthy example for those around us? >>What kind of impact would the Pastor have made had he said no to the opportunity because he wanted to be a better example about his health? Please leave your comments here or in our forums about today's topic. We realize it's a sensitive one, and we pray it's received well. But let us know what you think.