worship

A Little Ditty

"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

I'm likely giving away my age when I remind you of one of my favorite praise and worship songs, "I Just Came To Praise The Lord." Anyone?...Anyone?

"I just came to praise the Lord. I just came to praise the Lord. I just came to praise His holy name. I just came to praise the Lord."

Classic, right? On more than one occasion, I've felt like that in church. Shake hands, wave at friends, but get me to my seat, I need to talk to Jesus. I felt like that on my walk yesterday. I didn't set any land speed records, but I logged 3.12 miles. It's always such a good time talking to the Lord, cleansing my heart, clearing my mind, praying for family, asking for wisdom, planning excellence. Far beyond the physical benefits the walking is doing to my recovery -- being over a month removed from major back surgery -- my training has always been an extension of my quiet time. Sure, each stride sends vital nutrients to aid in healing, but my "walk" is more important.

Try it. Next time you hit the gym or go for your jog, remember today's little ditty. As you raise those weights overhead, remember the ultimate burden He lifted. As you run your miles, recall the distance He went to call you His own. And I know, the world will demand that you "focus" on the goal, the reason you're in the gym or on the road. And your response can either be spoken or sung, because in truth, you are focusing on the goal and the reason you're in the gym.

--Jimmy Peña

A Little Ditty with Jimmy: Old habits die hard, because 20-plus years ago -- during my really heavy lifting days -- my best lifts always came when my heart was right, my mind was focused and my motives were pure. If I was worried, convicted, or struggling somehow, I just wasn't my best. The habit of praying before each workout became a habit I would take into each set and each rest period, until my training became an extension of my quiet time. Trust me, while I had the Rocky soundtrack blaring in my ears, I had grace and forgiveness coursing through my heart. I even remember specific prayers, mantras even, that I'd say to the Lord. Funny, I still do. Even as I blaze through -- okay, limp through -- my 3.12 miles.

EXERCISE IN FOCUS: Double Crunch

One of the most challenging exercises that you can do for your abs is the double crunch -- which is featured in our workout of the week -- because it hits your abs hard from top to bottom. Here's how to get it right.

Double Crunch | Focus: Upper abs, lower abs | (VIDEO) Lie down on the floor with your legs straight, feet together. Place your hands gently behind your head and raise your feet off the floor roughly six inches. Crunch your upper body off the floor while simultaneously bringing your knees toward your torso, so that your upper body meets your lower body in the middle. Squeeze and return to the start, allowing your legs to remain above the floor throughout.

 

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.

You Changed My Life

"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love." --John 15:9

Read: John 15

"You changed my life," I told Mya, with a kiss, as I put her back to bed. "You changed mine," she whispered in reply before slipping back into a deep sleep. I closed her door walked back to my room with a wry smile, my eyes welled up with tears of gratitude. For this fatigued father, sleepy words had begotten a swelled heart.

Half asleep and scarcely able to comprehend the magnitude of such a statement, Mya will probably never remember that she uttered it. But it brought me untold joy nonetheless. You see, every expression of love that she musters -- every squeeze, every crinkle-nosed grin, every barely-perceptible midnight utterance of affection -- impacts me deeply and profoundly. Not a single, loving gesture is too slight.

When I finally laid my head to my pillow, like Mya, I did some whispering of my own: "Lord, You changed my life." The words, I thought, fell short. Despite His divinity, I speculated, He can't possibly understand how much I love Him and how fortunate I feel to be numbered among His flock. Then, it occurred to me. He didn't just change my life, He gave it. And for a Father, even when the words miss the mark, they never miss the heart.

--Eric Velazquez

>> 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.

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.

Here I Am To Worship

"I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart." --Psalm 138:1

Read: Psalm 138

Here I am to worship. If it's been a while since you've been to the gym, whisper it to the Lord as you open that door. If you're starting to walk after work with your spouse, pray it together as you take that step. Maybe you're about to take a swim, go for a jog or start your at-home DVD. Whatever the case, say it: Here I am to worship.

And as you do, remember -- it's not about the mirror, or lower bodyfat, or the muscle. Those things may happen, they may not. If they do, consider them gifts of obedience and blessings of diligence. But we believe it warms God's heart when we take care of ours. So go ahead. Lift, run, walk, swim, stretch. Have church. After all, you are a temple.

--Jimmy Peña

MENU MAKEOVER: Bread Pudding By Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC

With the kiddos being back in school, those after school snacks are back in business. And soaked in sugar, eggs and half-and-half, bread pudding is decadent to say the least. Good news: it’s possible to cozy up with a tasty version of this comfort food for less calories.

Nutrition Facts Classic bread pudding recipes can have over 600 calories and 30 grams of fat per serving. If you’re using doughnuts and buttery croissants instead of bread, you’d be lucky to keep things under 1000 calories.

The basic recipe is simple, combine bread with custard and bake. To lighten things up, you can use smarter ingredients at each stage of the recipe and keep portions to about ½ cup per person.

Bread Dense or sweetened breads will undoubtedly have more calories and monster portions just aren’t necessary. Consider using whole-grain bread for tummy-filling fiber and figure on 4 to 5 cups of cubed bread for 8 servings.

Custard Replacing half-and-half with low fat milk saves 200 calories and 25 grams of fat per cup. Don’t worry about the thinner consistency of the milk -- eggs help thicken the mixture and allow it to bake without separating. For every 2 cups of liquid, add 2 eggs and ½ to ¾ cup of sugar.

Extras Boost flavor (sensibly) with any of these embellishments: • Add 2 cups of fresh fruit or ½ cup of dried fruit • Sprinkle the top with cinnamon and sugar before baking • Mix in ¼ cup dark chocolate chips • Add 2 tablespoons of rum or orange liqueur to the custard

Dana Angelo White, MS, RD, ATC, is a registered dietitian, certified athletic trainer and owner of Dana White Nutrition, Inc., which specializes in culinary and sports nutrition.

Moved to Move

"You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing your praises and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever." --Psalm 30:10-12

Read: Psalm 30

This morning, during worship service at church, I fell victim to the rhythm. Without making a conscious decision to do so, I found myself air-drumming the bench in front of me, tapping my foot to the beat and gently bobbing my head as I sang along with the choir. Sometimes, a song -- whether by melody, message or miracle -- just takes hold of your body and compels you to move. Isn't it as amazing that something as simple as a song can inspire you to the point where God's love within you is left with no choice but to expressed through movement?

But long after we're dismissed from service, our bodies are still crying out to move for the Lord -- to run, jump, lift, climb and ride in perfect step to a song that He so meticulously composed on our hearts so long ago. All we have to do is tune in and listen and let the music do its work. This Master's magnum opus was written to evoke a particular response -- to move you to move.

--Eric Velazquez

WORKOUT OF THE WEEK: Arms This week's workout focuses on your biceps and triceps. Contrary to what some may think, training your arms is not simply a matter of vanity. Strong bi's aid on all pulling activities and well-trained triceps generate more force on all your pushes. Though smaller by comparison, these muscles play a crucial role in how much weight you can lift on other exercises such as bench presses and rows. So training them regularly does more than just help you look better in sleeveless tees. This routine requires the use of dumbbells and can be done at home or the gym.

This is a form of training known as German Volume Training, or GVT, and simply calls you on you to perform 10 sets of a single exercise in order to fully and effectively target the muscles. The quick-training wrinkle? You'll be supersetting, or alternating between biceps and triceps exercises. And because you'll be targeting arms, you can keep rest periods short -- biceps and triceps recover fairly quickly -- to keep the intensity level high. Choose a weight that you can safely complete 20 reps with but perform only 10. Continue alternating exercises until you have performed 10 sets of each exercise.

Exercise Sets/Reps Dumbbell Curl 10/10 -superset with- Lying Dumbbell Extension --Rest only 30-60 seconds between supersets. --Perform this routine at least once per week and no more than twice. If you train arms twice, allow at least 3-4 days between sessions for recovery. --Perform a few light sets of curls and extensions before beginning your 10 working sets.

NEWS: PrayFit founder Jimmy Pena spent some time this weekend meeting with fans and signing DVDs in Southern California. Check out the pics here!

NO HILL FOR A CLIMBER

October 6, 2011Read: John 6

Then Jesus climbed a mountain…” –John 6:3

A friend of mine, Betty Gutierrez of Fitness on Fire Ministries in Grapevine, Texas, can often be heard telling her class that “Jesus would climb mountains to pray, so we know He was healthy.” Her message makes me think…Jesus wasn’t healthy for health’s sake, but for Heaven’s. In order to pray, he climbed. In order to worship, he walked. His body simply got His soul where it needed to go. His health on earth was in direct response to His purpose.

At PrayFit, we believe that our health is not so much about how we want to look, but more about what we need to do. The more fit we are, the better we live, move and serve. Our health should enable our purpose, not get in the way. To think, Jesus was often out of breath for us…when was the last time we were out of breath for Him? But then again…we don’t have to climb mountains to pray.

--J.P.

MASTERING THE PUSH-UP

Those new to exercise or returning from a long break may find push-ups difficult. Nonetheless, the push-up is a fantastic exercise that targets your chest, shoulders, triceps and to a lesser extent your core musculature. So mastering it, even through the initial road bumps, is a good idea.

>> Try this. Begin your push-ups in standard position and perform as many as you can — even if it’s just a few. Then, when you can no longer do push-ups in this position, move to the modified version, where you let you knees rest on the floor. When you fatigue at the modified version, you can continue with incline push-ups, where your hands rest on an elevated surface such as a table, chair or low wall.

Rest only as long as it takes to get into position for the next move. After complete failure, rest 1-2 minutes and then repeat the sequence or move to your abs or even additional cardio. Be sure to record your effort, then beat that performance the next time. Since it's a bodyweight move -- no additional weight is used -- your body can recover much faster, meaning you are capable of multiple sessions in a single week.

>> VIDEO: Standard Push-Up

>> VIDEO: Incline Push-Up