When covid broke out in 2020, our world was turned completely upside down. Everything in our daily lives (normal rhythms, routines, habits, etc.) all came to a halt when our country was shut down. One thing that was a huge personal loss for me was the elimination my regular routine of physical exercise.
Prior to March 2020, I regularly went to the gym to work out and keep my old, decaying body in some kind of shape. I would work out at the gym at least four to five times a week and it had become part of my normal rhythm. However, in March 2020, gyms and most everything else in our lives, were shut down. We couldn’t even go outside for a while because the experts told us covid might be airborne.
After a few weeks, it became apparent to me these shutdowns were not going to be short-term and they were here to stay. I knew I had to develop a new normal for my life that included some way to exercise.
As I pondered what to do, I remembered the verse in Mark 1:35, “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus went out to a desolate place, and there He prayed to God.” I decided to “kill two birds with one stone” by incorporating an early morning Prayer Walk with the Lord into my daily schedule. I already had developed the discipline of studying God’s Word and Journaling on a regular basis. Now, I would add an early morning Prayer Walk into my routine that would allow me to exercise and spend time in prayer with the Lord.
I’ll admit my initial motivation was to find a way to incorporate exercise into my daily routine. But, as I continued to walk with the Lord in the coolness of the morning each day, He faithfully and graciously revealed to me how He desired this time of fellowship with me and how much my soul longed for this time of quiet and solitude with Him. This special appointment with my Lord each morning became something I craved, desired and prioritized in my life.
As I continued to meet with God each morning, I began to understand more and more what David penned in Psalm 63:1, “O God, you are my God, early I seek you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” And, I understood better and better what Isaiah proclaimed in Isaiah 26:9, “My soul yearns for you at night; in the morning my spirit longs for you.”
In this unprecedented time of uncertainty and fear, I started my daily Prayer Walk with the Lord. He was faithful to help me understand what it meant for my “spirit to long for the Lord” and “my soul to thirst for Him in a dry and weary land.” He personally met with me each morning and filled me with peace, hope, confidence, and strength. This special time with my Lord helped to get my eyes off myself and fixed on Him each day.
Since March 2020, I have continued with this routine. Yes, I have to get up at 3:45am or 4:00am to make this work for my schedule. But it is so worth it and I long for the sweet time of refreshing and renewal each day. The Lord is closer than any brother or friend. He is the one who truly understands me. He knows every hair on my head, every cell in my body and every plan He has for my life. He knows my fears, hurts, longings, and dreams. He meets my needs that are in the deepest part of me every day.
I know my daily routine is not a formula and won’t work for everyone. But I do want to encourage and challenge you to make it a priority in your life to spend intimate time with God on a regular basis. Find a time where you are away from people and the normal distractions of life and you can just be alone with the One who created you. He longs for this time of intimacy with you and it is what your soul truly longs for too. Build a routine in your life that allows Him to replace your “stinkin’ thinkin’” with what is honorable, pure, lovely, righteous, and true as you meet with Him in a quiet place of solitude and intimacy on a regular basis.