Workout Prayer

Stephen W. Hiemstra, Soccer, 1982By Stephen W. Hiemstra

Merciful father,

Thank you for each and every new day.

The chance to witness a new sunrise and to feel the warm breeze of summer afternoons.

The opportunity to participate in new life, to care for the old, and to experience both.

May your Holy Spirit inhabit this temple (1 Cor 6:19) all the days of my life.

May I remain a fit custodian praying to you

even as I workout in the gym, swim my laps, and compete on the field.

Bless my heart that it might be ever open to feel the pain of others.

Bless my mind that it might attend to your commandments and not be seduced by sin.

Bless my legs that they might carry where you would have me go.

Bless my arms that they may carry the burdens of your children.

Teach me to care for your people the way that I care for my own body.

Grant me strength for the day, grace for those I meet, and peace—the peace that passes all understanding (Phil 4:7).

In Jesus’ precious name. Amen.

Workout Prayer

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A Place for Authoritative Prayer 

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Resurrection of the Body

RPC_tomb_03092014bBy Stephen W. Hiemstra

One big anxiety that amputees experience is that lost body parts embody their identity in ways that must now change. The pain is particularly acute when the body part is associated with a beloved activity. Our hearts go out, for example, to the runner who loses a leg or the brilliant researcher who develops Alzheimer’s disease. Our body is part of our identity.

God knows who we are and feels our pain—to be human is to be whole in body, mind, and spirit.

Jesus raised the widow’s son out of compassion (Luke 7:13) and he wept before raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:35). How compassionate would Jesus have been if he had raised the widow’s son from the dead only to have the son live on as a paraplegic? Or if Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead but left him mentally handicapped?

During my time as a chaplain intern, I knew a dear woman who had been resuscitated after her heart stopped for eight minutes. The resuscitation left her afflicted with dementia and forced to live in a lock-down, Alzheimer’s unit. The affliction left her family guilt ridden and torn over their decision to resuscitate her.

Resuscitation leaves scars. Scripture reports that the widow’s son and Lazarus were returned to health without scars. Consequently, Jesus did not resuscitate them; he re-created them as only God can. Meredith Kline (2006, 220–21) uses the term re-creation in reference to the flood narrative and sees this idea already present in 2 Pet 3:5-7. In other words, Noah was a second Adam even before Christ..

Resurrection is an act of grace—bodily resurrection completes the compassion.

Jesus was bodily resurrected. When the resurrected Christ appeared before the disciples in Jerusalem, he asked for something to eat; the disciples gave him a piece of broiled fish and he ate it (Luke 24:41-43). Furthermore, Christ’s compassion for his own disciples, who had deserted him, reveals that Jesus, in his perfection, did not harbor the deep emotional scars that might normally accompany the trauma that he experienced (John 21:17).

Consider the alternative. What if Jesus had been raised only spiritually, how long would he continue to empathize with us? Or what if Jesus harbored grievous handicaps or emotional scares? Would he still have pity on the rest of us? Would we really want to stand before such a scarred and potentially vengeful judge?

Christ’s resurrection was a re-creation, not resuscitation, event. Christ’s resurrection gives us hope because our judge is healthy and whole. He is still human and he harbors no grievances.


Kline, Meredith G. 2006. Kingdom Prologue: Genesis Foundations for a Convenental Worldview. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock Publishers.

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