A. Jayaraj

Jayaraj as a five year old had only one prayer. He said this prayer daily as he watched over the clothes of local athletes as they trained. "Lord Jesus, make me a champion so that I can earn Rs. 300/- to support my family." This prayer was the foundation of Jayaraj's sporting career, that started at 5 and still continues even today. His achievements at the state level in the 400 metres, 1500 metres and 5000 metres earned him a job but did not make him a champion in the country. He told his young bride, "My first wife is my spikes!" He felt his prayer to Jesus was only partially answered. He had a job to support his family but he was not yet a champion. He began to see the answer to his prayer, as he took up training for the marathon. To become a marathon runner one should be familiar with pain. Pain accepted on friendly terms, indicates a new strength that is developing within you. Pain helps your mind to control your body and push it to its limit and beyond. But to Jayaraj, this pain was also an opportunity to cry out to the Lord Jesus Christ to help him to be a champion.

In the 11th Stockholm International Marathon in 1989, Jayaraj was the only Indian who participated. He says, "I was all alone but through prayer, Jesus gave me two Australian friends who stayed with me throughout the race. I was finding it difficult as it was very cold but they encouraged me as if I belonged to their family." Pain enveloped him at the 39th kilometer. His legs were not coming up, his body cried out, "Give up! Give up!" Jayaraj turned to his inner resource – Jesus Christ. He says, "I cried out to Jesus with each stride, "Jesus, You brought me here to do my best. Help me or I die." A sense of purpose engulfed me as I entered the stadium and overtook my closest rivals."

He finished 18th in the world and won a silver medal that the first 20 runners in world marathons are awarded. An achievement he repeated in the Australian 1989, Malaysian 1990 and Bangkok 1990 and 1992 marathons.

Jayaraj was presented a prestigious award by the President of India at the Asian Track and Field Meet in Delhi, 1989. He was given a place in the famous Jawahar Jyothi procession with other greats like Sunil Gavaskar, Vijay Amritraj and Milka Singh. Today, Jayaraj humbly states, "If you make Jesus Christ the center of your life and your family, then you are more than a conqueror."

If you would like to know more about Jesus and what He can do for you, just click the button on the left side of your screen to change your life.