As I get older, I’m increasingly aware of the importance of physical exercise and staying in shape. I’ve been fairly fit and lean all my life, so the encroaching ‘jiggliness’ and loss of muscle tone is completely obnoxious. There are so many benefits to aging that I love, but the physical disintegrations are not one of them. I’m trying to combat age-creep by a fairly strict régime of walk-running. We have an absolutely primo facility here in town; a walking track surrounding the largest indoor hockey arena. At least three times a week I set out at a stiff walking pace, interspersed with a good length of running. Not that I don’t love the great outdoors, but I actually prefer the track to walking outside. As gorgeous as it may be, unfortunately, there’s just too much distraction (wow, that wind is cold… isn’t that bird so beautiful!). I just can’t seem to keep my mind on the task at hand. The sheer monotony of the track works so much better. I can find a concentration ‘groove’ and really go to town.
I cover a lot of ground on my several-kilometer blitz. It keeps things in a fairly optimal place both physically and mentally. It’s a huge spiritual benefit as well, because as I go, I use the time to pray. I change that routine up too…switching between praying with my mind and then in tongues. It’s so wonderful to come out feeling physically tired but refreshed, and spiritually unburdened. I wonder if I exhaust my assigned angels (oh brother, she’s going for another round…)! There are times I go home depleted, but with the very certain knowledge that the most significant task of the day is completed. There’s something about driving around that track in an intense dialog with the Lord that gives me a tremendous sense of accomplishment. I can be quite a sarcastic scrapper when it comes to petitions, so the physical exertion helps temper my tone to a more courteous temperature. It’s harder to be caustically indignant when you’re a touch breathless. Some days, I find myself praying, prophesying, meditating, petitioning, contending and sermonizing all in one stroke. It gives me serious jet fuel in the Spirit.
There are situations of life for which you will require acute, sustained spiritual energy, so it’s good to stockpile. I refer to these as ‘Jericho’. Something about my repetitive, droning circuit around the arena represents the spiritual Jericho march of the Israelites to me. Under the Lord’s direct stratagem, they marched around the city for seven days, and on the seventh day, marched seven times. Then at the proper moment, their united voice brought down the walls of the city. It was their first battle into the promised land, and it was highly strategic. Their enemies expected them to engage the campaign with a roar. Instead, they took Jericho at a whisper. Isn’t that the perfected image of the battle of prayer?
‘Jericho’ represents a state of affairs in life, so stagnant and wearisome that only continual, unrelenting prayer can power you through. These may be family relational labyrinths, tangled financial or work situations, deep-seated grievances, traumas or addictive behaviors. A cherished dream or expectation may allude fulfillment, and haunt us instead. Crippling failures from the past can put the future in paralysis. These are issues that never seem to get any better, no matter how hard you try to tackle them on ground level.
Unfortunately, we all experience these scenarios, so utterly dense and tense; they make you want to tear your hair out. Where do you ‘hit the wall’? That’s your ‘Jericho’. There are places so fortified by the enemy that you have to have direct divine assault to break into. Spiritual strongholds are deeply entrenched entities; they’ve got to be marched around and shown who’s boss. May I suggest a solution? The secret is that we do have the authority to encompass desperate, difficult situations from the much superior vantage point of Heaven. Speak the Lord’s words and will over them and breakthrough is inevitable. That alone brings dominion.
…I shall have to do some plain speaking to those of you who will persist in reckoning that our activities are on the purely human level. The truth is that, although of course we lead normal human lives, the battle we are fighting is on the spiritual level. The very weapons we use are not those of human warfare but powerful in God’s warfare for the destruction of the enemy’s strongholds. Our battle is to bring down every deceptive fantasy and every imposing defense that men erect against the true knowledge of God. We even fight to capture every thought until it acknowledges the authority of Christ. 2 Cor 10:3-5 J.B. Phillips
How much of this power are we actually laying our hands on? How seriously are we taking the war to the doorstep of our enemy? Where should we really be focusing our energies in the warfare we face? Are we fighting battles we shouldn’t? Are we carrying extra baggage we needn’t? What’s holding us back from optimizing life’s potentialities?
Recently, unexpectedly, someone prophetically told me that when I’m praying my way around the track in tongues (unbeknownst to me), I’m actually powerfully encompassing the city with my petition. I’m changing the spiritual atmosphere. That word came like lightning from nowhere, and I knew immediately it was the Lord’s encouragement to me; a commendation. What I thought was simply for my own personal benefit, all the time, He was taking up to a much higher level. Wow. I actually broke stride for a second over that one! That may explain the strong impetus I feel. Like David, I’m learning to recognize the sound of the Lord’s marching through the mulberry bushes, and get behind Him for the tactical moment of victory. I’ve worn out a lot of spiritual shoe-leather to get there, but when the walls come down, there’s absolutely no moment like it.