My Dad used a couple of lines on me quite regularly. The first would be as he firmly clasped me on the shoulders and with a hint of a smile he would say, 'you have fine shoulders for a rugby player'. The second would be the well known saying of ' you're built for comfort not for speed.'. How I'm not in therapy...... Anyway, all this was done quite affectionately and is to say that I am not one of lifes natural runners. The past few weeks, however, has seen me giving the jogging thing a go and then, to some suprise, starting to enjoy it.
I am now managing to run 5 miles to work and have found in the process that my prayer life has taken an upsurge. I have joined a renovare group which has encouraged regular and deep prayer. This is an area I've struggled with for a while. It's the deep aspect I struggle with. I can pray, it comes with the job. I can talk hoping someones listening, but that's not the same as deep communion with God. The running though has changed this.
One of the renovare exercises was to give chanting a go. This has been a previous no go area for me. Basically I would get bored and lose interest too quick. Running though has changed this. I don't take an ipod i just sing or chant (silently of course, I need no more eccentricities to make me look bonkers). This eventually gives way to prayer where I actually feel I give way to God.
Now it has crossed my mind that this 'giving way to God' thing might really be just exhaustion getting the better of me. It has also crossed my mind though, that the spiritual practice of work as prayer may actually have a lot in it. Monks have been doing this for centuries, using rhythm and labour as a part of their spiritual formation. I can't imagine that the running thing will stick for me (see my fathers comments earlier)but it does feel that I have made a significant step in my own personal experience of prayer through physical expression.