[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hat if I told you that there was something you could do which was so amazing it would change your life and that, what’s more, it wouldn’t cost you a penny? Something which would involve making the best friend you could ever have, something that would give you more strength to cope with whatever life threw at you and would keep show benefits beyond life and into eternity? Would you make time for it?

If I told you it was prayer, would you still make time for it?

Meet Kelly, one of the stars of Sport England’s ‘this girl can’ campaign. Kelly doesn’t have much time to exercise because she is a single mother with 3 children and has the busy life which that entails. She doesn’t have time to go to the gym (and let’s face it, gym membership can be expensive). However, Kelly has managed to make some creative changes in her life and now does exercise regularly involving her whole family – it’s good for them too! She fits it in when she can and it is changing her life.

How often do we say or act like we don’t have time for God? ‘I’m so busy, I don’t have time to pray.’ ‘When I get home from work/school/college I have to do x/y/z and by the time I’ve done that I just want to go to bed.’ ‘I have to travel a lot’. ‘I need to sleep extra on Sunday morning because I don’t get much time to rest.’ Or perhaps more honestly ‘I just can’t be bothered’. And yet often on Sunday mornings I see a lot of people out running or cycling, even in the winter when it’s cold, raining and dark. And how often do I say in my own life, I’m too tired to pray now, I’m just going to get straight into bed, but then I still manage to read for twenty minutes?

I am not saying that we need to stop running or reading, I do them both, the one because it’s good for me and the other because I enjoy it. All I am saying is that for busy people, or not so busy people, we need to be creative in order to make time for prayer in our lives because it really does change everything.

Parallels between sport and the spiritual life are not new, but here are my top exercise-based tips for developing a prayer life:

1. Start small and build up that ‘prayer muscle’ gradually

2. Don’t be discouraged if you find it hard or don’t get immediate results

3. Remember that there are lots of different ways of praying – find a way that suits you.

4. Look at your day – why not try praying on your way to or from work or school?

5. Ask a friend to join you.

6. Involve your whole family.

7. You can pray anywhere – and it’s free!

Perhaps you can think of some more prayer tips for others who are starting out or want to develop their spiritual life? No matter how obvious they seem – share them below!