Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A Mountaintop Experience

George Mallory, a British climber, was asked in 1924 why he wanted to climb Mt. Everest. His reply was, "Because it's there."

I haven't climbed a mountain before, but I know what it feels to reach a summit. For George Mallory, Mt. Everest presents itself as a lofty destination. For runners, it's the finish line. And crossing that finish line is the closest feeling to a mountaintop experience.

With great joy
I just had that peak experience in the 2011 San Francisco Marathon. Holding a pink carnation the whole distance, I reached the finish line with great joy. I ran the race in prayer and in memory of my wife, finishing it in 5:17 to symbolize her birthday.

All of us, whatever we do, can experience a mountaintop experience, as long as we lift it up to God. You can do your walking, gardening, cooking, whatever, and offer it to God. To me, running is a time to experience God's loving presence.

Start off by having the desire to encounter God in your run. And that desire to meet God is nothing but the desire to pray. Here is a prayer you can say before you run:

God, our Father, Creator of all life and energy, I come to you with a contrite heart. But look not into my faults, but into my faith. Protect me from evil and harm along the way. Give me the strength to overcome my weakness. Grant me the courage to persevere as I run. Thank you for the health I have and for my ability to run. Remember, O God, the people in my life who need Your countenance. (Mention the people you want to pray for.) This run, I offer to them, for their sake. Stay with me, O God, the whole time I run, until it is time for me to rest. May my desire to run today to meet You be pleasing to You. This I ask, through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.

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