"Pray without ceasing"....1Thessalonians 5:17
I come to the school every day and I never know what each day will bring. Who will come to class? Will they take their practice seriously? Will their minds be somewhere else? Will they come to class late or leave class early? Are they only here because a friend is here? Or, will they have a true relationship with Tae Kwon Do?
As I have told you before, when Tae Kwon Do came into my life, I was a young boy of about 12 years old. Times were difficult in Korea back then just after the Korean War. We struggled to find food, medical help, and even heat for our homes during the bone-chilling winters. Tae Kwon Do offered me a way to forget about some of these hardships. It became my best and most trusted friend. And to this day, it is still one of the longest relationships that I have ever had, second only to my relationship with God and Jesus Christ.
So, now you are wondering what I mean when I compare Tae Kwon Do practice and Christian prayer. Let me assure you that there is a connection. This is a concept that I hope you will understand and I hope that you will learn to make a part of your life.
In Tae Kwon Do the more you work out the more serious your thinking and the more you enjoy it. If you work out less and are less involved, no matter how many years you have practiced, then there is really nothing there. That is bad for Tae Kwon Do because it is more about building your ego. When you work out more seriously then you build a Tae Kwon Do person. Prayer is this way too. Sometimes when you pray you have to really think about it. Praying develops your spiritual being. Less praying builds less of a Christian, so, you move away from being a Christian. When we have a
problem, we have to think about Jesus Christ more. But we don’t do that. We try to fix it ourselves or get advice from a friend or go to some type of counseling…that’s all artificial. It is temporary. Some people wait until they are dying to think about praying. But you need to pray all the time. Even Christians sometimes wait until something bad happens. Then, finding no one able to help them, finally think about God as a last resort. Also, the more you pray the less you will be involved with sin. You become closer to God. We are told in scripture, “Pray without ceasing”… 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Some people are confused, but this means non-stop. You have to have a relationship with God all the time. It does not mean you have to bend your knees all the time, but you can pray in any circumstances. Prayer helps you to see which way to go, makes your vision clear, and maintains your relationship with God.
The same can be said of Tae Kwon Do. The more you work out the greater will be your relationship with Tae Kwon Do. You will remember more. Those who practice on and off, on and off, have no way to understand and to build their relationship with Tae Kwon Do. They are not really close to Tae Kwon Do. They say they “love” Tae Kwon Do, but really, they just “like” Tae Kwon Do and do not seriously get into it. So, any time they can change. But when they go every day, they feel it is too much. They do not want to invest the time into the relationship. If they do go every day then, they develop their relationship with Tae Kwon Do and they like it more. It becomes clearer and has more value to them. But most people do not think that way. Your time is very valuable to you. If you spend a lot of time doing something it has more value to you. Those who work out more in Tae Kwon Do never say they hate it. They always say they love it because they have given more of their time to it. No one works out every day and says, “I hate Tae Kwon Do.” You have to work out and sweat every day and then you enjoy it more. But for many that is too much for them.
The same is true for praying. The more you pray the better you feel. When you pray you always feel closer to God and you build your relationship with Him. Yet when you back up from God your prayers become short and you really don’t want to pray. When you sweat in Tae Kwon Do it can help clean out your body impurities, but prayer can help clean out your spiritual impurities. If you really love Tae Kwon Do it is like a “Tae Kwon Do-aholic” and you want that feeling of a great workout even more. That’s how some people pray for hours because of the great feeling it gives their spirit. But someone who prays less will have a hard time praying even two times. It is the same with Tae Kwon Do class. If you only go two times a week it is harder for you to go and enjoy it. You begin to make excuses like, “Oh today I’m tired so I’m going to skip class.” It is the same symptoms that they have about praying. So, prayer should be all the time, no excuses. That way you have a close communication with God. Think of the example of Jesus Christ. He prayed to God all the time. For example, to feed the multitude, upon raising Lazarus, in the garden of Gethsemane, and while on the cross. The Gospel scriptures give us many, many examples of the times Jesus prayed, most often in solitude, but sometimes with others. This was His way to communicate with God. Many people will spend hours talking on the phone or posting words on social media, but will easily skip time to pray. Which of these is more important and will feed your spirit?
Will you only wait for an emergency to pray? When you pray you can see your own problems more clearly and it does not even require an electronic device. With your direct prayer line to God, you can pray for guidance in your life, asking Him what He would have you do next. Prayer helps you to avoid temptation, helps you solve your problems, and strengthens your relationship with God. It also helps you to listen to what He wants you to hear and know what His heart wants for you. This improves your communication with Him. We see that many family relationship problems between husband and wife, or with their kids result from poor communication. This is a classic example of why communication is important. It is the same in our relationship with God. This is how we can learn to obey His will for us and we can find the answers to those perplexing problems in our lives when we listen to Him.
This is like Tae Kwon Do. The more you work out the more you enjoy it. But people limit it all the time. They think it is too much for them. In Tae Kwon Do, at first you want to learn how to kick. But, that’s not it. There are so many parts that make up the whole. Speed, power, focus, vision, learning, understanding, interpreting, and so much more goes into each individual movement. We think that going to Tae Kwon Do class more than two times a week is too much, but I say, “No.” Those who have more problems need to work out more and also need to pray more.
Prayer is like breathing. You have to do it all the time. Whether in times of trouble, times of joy, times of thankfulness, or times when you need direction. Prayer is like a breath of fresh air for your spirit. If you truly love God you want to pray more because of the great feeling it gives your spirit. Just think of all the times you can pray for God to intervene for someone else, also. There are so many troubled people in the world today. When you see those who may not yet know how to pray, it’s a wonderful time for you to talk to God and ask Him to take care of them. You can also facilitate their salvation if you can help them come to know Jesus.
So, what am I trying to say to you? If something is truly important to you and good for your life, you will spend more of your time with it. My hope is that you will spend more quality time in your life practicing Tae Kwon Do and in prayer. That you will become more consistent with these things that can give your life and your spirit more meaning and more clarity. I want to see you in class because you actually do “love” Tae Kwon Do, and I want you to become closer to God through prayer. I will be praying for you.
It was at this time that He went off to the mountain to pray,and He spent the whole night in prayer to God.