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The morning of August 1, I was running. It was sunny. In the upper 60s. Low humidity. I was in the third mile, not yet halfway to my 6.33 total, when I put it all together.
I was feeling great. Appreciating my surroundings. Our safe neighborhood. My good health. The desire to work my body hard and the ability to do so.
I said a prayer of thanks to the Lord.
I noticed that I had already said a bunch of prayers as I ran, as I do on every run. As I do throughout every day. As comes naturally after a lifetime of practice.
And I wondered how many times a day I pray.
So I started counting.
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Before I get out of bed. I awoke at 5:15. Before moving, I say “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,” then “this is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it,” and finish with Martin Luther’s morning prayer. 1.
Podcast devotion. Making the coffee, I listened to a podcast devotion. I pray with the closing prayer. 2.
Bible reading. I read the daily lectionary, concluding my reading with a prayer of thanks. 3.
Daily devotions. I read two booklets each morning. 4 & 5.
When Julie leaves for work. I try not to pray the same way every day, but my prayer generally asks for her safety on the road and that she has a good day of work. Then, I pray for all who are on the road and giving their labors for the good of the community. 6.
Breakfast. I pray before and after my meal. 7 & 8.
School buses. A bus passed our house. The first time I see one in a day, I pray, “Lord, please bless our school buses and keep safe all of their occupants.” 9.
Ready to run. Before I leave the house, I pray, “Lord, please keep me safe, strong, and smart.” 10.
Beginning my run. I again say the name of the Trinity. I say the Lord’s Prayer, pray for my family and a list of others, pray a refashioned version of Luther’s morning prayer, and conclude with either the common doxology or the “Create in Me,” or both. 11.
Roofers. I saw two men shingling a house. I prayed for them, then prayed for all who labor for us for the good of our homes. 12.
House for sale. The first yard sign I saw, I prayed, “Lord Jesus, bless all those selling their homes and those buying, that things go well for them.” 13.
Public buses. Seeing an IndyGo bus, I prayed the same as I pray for school buses. 14.
Lawn mowers. As I saw a woman mowing, I prayed, “Lord, bless her and keep her safe, and all who are laboring for their homes and families. 15.
The run. Appreciating everything about the morning, I thanked the Lord for the weather, our neighborhood, my good heath and desire to work my body, and for everything He provides for my body and soul, now and forever. 16.
Sirens. Every time I hear a siren, I pray, “Lord, bless those in their need, and those serving them.” 17.
While running. Every five minutes, my app calls out the time, my distance, and my pace. With each call, I say a prayer of thanks. When the call includes having reached the next mile, I add, “Keep me safe and strong and smart all the way, dear Lord Jesus.” 18–32.
Busy roads. Most of my running is on side streets and sidewalks. I have to cross two or three busy roads every run. This day, I had to cross Emerson and 46th twice each. I prayed for safe crossing. Twice, I had to run along 46th, in the bike lane. I run toward the traffic and keep my eyes peeled. Still, I pray for safety. 33–38.
Arriving home. I always say a prayer of thanks. 39.
Lunch. My usual prayers before and after eating. 40 & 41.
More sirens. Wherever I am, whenever I hear them, I pray. 42.
Safe son. Our youngest lives with us. He went on an errand. I prayed for his safekeeping. 43.
Garden. I checked our green beans, but they weren’t ready to pick. I noted our first two watermelons are growing. I toured the entire garden, taking pictures of tomato and green pepper plants that are heavy with fruit. I said a prayer of thanks. 44.
Julie heading home. She always texts me when she leaves work. I pray for her safety, and for all who are on the roads that they might have safe homecomings. 45.
The garage door. When I hear it move, I know someone has arrived home. I said my usual prayers of thanks when my son and Julie got home safe. 46 & 47.
Supper. The usual two prayers. At the dining room table, we pray together. 48 & 49.
And more sirens. The evening is usually busy for our ambulances and firefighters. 50–52.
Bed. I conclude my day with Luther’s evening prayer and anything specific to the day. 53.
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Our mom taught us kids to pray. The prayer I say for my family is an adaptation of the family prayer we said together before bed. As we kids grew, our parents were zealous in their faithfulness to the Lord, brought us up in it, and it grew in me. By the time I was in my twenties, I had an active prayer life.
Prayer is simply the believer speaking praises, thanks, needs, and wants to the Lord. For me, it’s an ongoing conversation—as natural to turn and talk with my Lord Jesus as turning and talking with Julie.