by Moira Cullings
WEA — For David Downey, a quiet run in the crisp, early morning hours of the day is the perfect occasion for prayer.
“I started this habit probably 10 years ago,” said Downey, a parishioner at Queen of the Holy Rosary in Wea.
“It is very peaceful and quiet, so it was a great way to stay in shape and remember to be thankful to God and pray for my family,” he said.
What some may consider a form of punishment is actually a time of peace and blessings for Downey.
“Mostly I run on the country roads around my house, which see very little traffic early in the morning,” he said. “I am more likely to see wildlife than cars on most runs.”
Downey runs five to six miles about three times a week, and said it takes at least five miles to get in a complete rosary.
A bit of spiritual reading before his runs also gives him something concrete to contemplate on during his time of exercise.
Like running, praying is an activity that starts each day off right.
“Once the day starts, many disruptions can occur that can seem more important, and that may infringe on being able to exercise,” he said.
“If I have started my day with exercise, then I know I have accomplished that at least for the day,” he added. “The same can be said for prayer.”
But Downey said that prayer, like running, doesn’t necessarily need to happen at a particular part of the day. The important part is that it happens.
And finding time to pray — not just at church, but throughout daily life — has boundless benefits.
“All the things that you do during the day can become offerings and sacrifices to God,” said Downey.
We are able to thank God when things go well and ask for help in times of trial, he said.
Downey also does a Holy Hour each week, which, he said, makes for a wonderful structured time with God.
“But praying while running is more about making your whole life a prayer,” he said.