6 Spiritual Benefits of a Daily Walk
- Jessica Brodie Award-winning Christian Novelist and Journalist
- 2022 28 Feb
I’m going through a tough season in my life right now, and while I normally love walking as a form of exercise, I took a far-too-extensive break. But recently, I started walking again, and I’ve noticed some tremendous spiritual benefits I’m gaining from my daily walk that help me grow closer to God in my journey as a Christian.
1. Walking Helps Me Develop Self-Discipline
The very fact that I consistently get up—even when I don’t feel like it—put on athletic clothes, lace up my sneakers, and head outside for a walk is a display of self-discipline. It’s not always comfortable when I walk. I live in South Carolina, and our temperatures are all over the place. Some days it’s bitter cold, some days it’s raining, and some days it’s so hot and muggy you feel like you could slice the air with a knife. But making time to push myself through the discomfort to do something that I know is good for me exhibits self-control and self-discipline.
There are days I don’t feel like reading my Bible and praying, but I know it’s important to do it. There are Sundays I don’t feel like waking up early, going to church, and talking to a bunch of people (especially on my more introverted days), but I know I should, so I do.
Likewise, walking is a step outside of my comfort zone. Sometimes I’m exhausted or in a really bad mood, and I really don’t want to. But when I push myself and do it anyway, that’s a cause for celebration.
Proverbs 25:28 tells us, “Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.”
And 2 Timothy 1:7 says, “For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.”
I want to have self-control and self-discipline, and walking helps me in this area.
2. It Helps Me Care for My Body
While my soul is the eternal part of me, God gave me this body as a gift. He gave me certain abilities, certain weaknesses, certain beautiful things, and certain things I’d love to change. For example, I wish I didn’t have major food allergies. I wish I were gifted with the ability to run without triggering asthma.
But when I take care of my body by walking and doing other daily things that are good for me, I am honoring God and the gift He gave me. Just like getting enough sleep at night, eating healthy food, and drinking enough water, getting outside to walk is really good for my body. It’s helpful to my lungs and heart, and it helps me breathe better. It works muscles I’m not even aware of. It’s good for my mental health, and the fresh air and daylight I’m basking in is good for me, too.
The apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”
3. Walking Brings Time and Solitude with My Creator
Some people walk with others, but I typically walk alone. When I do, I enjoy quality time with God. Even if I’m not actively talking to Him, I’m thinking about Him. I am calm in His presence and perhaps marveling at the ways He’s created this world. I’m noticing trees and blooming flowers, all designed by Him. I’m noticing other houses and buildings that were crafted with human labor and skills—gifts God gave those people. I’m taking a moment in time that’s outside of all the doing to focus on just being.
As God commands us in Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
4. Walking Helps Me Bask in the Word
Usually when I walk, I listen for a little while to a couple of Christian songs, and their words permeate my heart. It becomes a form of worship. Sometimes I even sing a little bit as I go.
If I walk in silence, I often find my mind naturally jumps to things of the spiritual realm, and that is also a form of worship as I draw closer to the Lord.
At times, I listen to audiobooks, both fiction and nonfiction, which are good for my soul and my brain.
I’m a writer by profession, and most days, I use the Notes app on my phone and reflect via voice text, whether it’s a blog or a commentary or a piece of fiction I’m writing. While I have to sift through a lot of autocorrect typos, it’s good for my expressive spirit. The act of walking releases that expressiveness – all the longing of things I feel I must get out of my brain and share with others. This in turn uses the gifts God has given me—also a form of worship.
In Joshua 1:8, we’re told, “Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night.”
Walking helps me do that.
5. It Can Help Me Pray Better
Sometimes I get in a prayer rut. I pray, but I feel a bit of a disconnect on my end. Maybe I’m busy or sad or distracted or uninspired for whatever reason. Maybe that particular day, God is feeling far away.
Instead of praying in my bed or as I drive or as I read the Bible, praying when I walk is a change that can stir my soul and liberate my spirit. The rhythmic pound of my feet upon the pavement, and the endorphins that are released as my body moves along the path somehow break thoughts free that I didn’t know were inside my head.
I bring them to the Lord in prayer.
“Pray continually,” we’re told in 1 Thessalonians 5:17.
6. It’s Fun
Walking is fun! It doesn’t always feel that way at the start, and even partway through, but when I return I usually find I’m smiling—and not just because the walk is over. It makes me feel good and makes me nicer and kinder. It makes me more inclined to laugh and enjoy life.
God does not intend for us to be miserable. Walking unleashes joy within me, and that’s a good thing.
As Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
If you are seeking a way to draw closer to the Lord or grow in self-discipline, prayer, obedience, or another area, consider any of these six benefits as encouragement as you consider a daily walk practice.
More from this author
Psalms to Help You Cry for Help to Our Sovereign God
How to Be the Person God Needs You to Be
7 Prayers for When You’re Feeling Discontent
Photo credit: Unsplash/Emma Simpson
Jessica Brodie is an award-winning Christian novelist, journalist, editor, blogger, and writing coach and the recipient of the 2018 American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award for her novel, The Memory Garden. She is also the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism. Learn more about her fiction and read her faith blog at jessicabrodie.com. She has a weekly YouTube devotional, too. You can also connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and more. She’s also produced a free eBook, A God-Centered Life: 10 Faith-Based Practices When You’re Feeling Anxious, Grumpy, or Stressed.