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Your Prayer Batting Average-October 30, 2023

In Baseball the batting average is a key statistic. Showing how many times you succeed and how many times you fail. But, what about your prayer batting average. Do you always get a hit? How many times do you fail?

Monday Morning Devotion-October 30,2023

Your Prayer Batting Average

*Reprinted from June 22, 2015

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.  Colossians 4:2

       The World Series is underway and talk about surprises.  The two teams that are in it are major surprises simply by their presence.  Both the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Texas Rangers, as wild card entries, were highly unlikely teams to survive the playoffs and win their way to the World Series.  But here they are.  Up next…another surprise answer to a simple question.

      The legendary Ty Cobb, even though his Major League Baseball playing career ended over 90 years ago, is still considered one of the All-Time Greats of the game.  His lifetime batting average of .366, accumulated over 23 playing years is still the highest career batting average of anyone who ever played the game.

            In his 70's Cobb participated in an Old Timers game before a regularly scheduled Major League game in Detroit.  A reporter, quizzing him about the differences in baseball when he played and modern baseball asked him what he thought he would hit if he was playing major league baseball today.

            Cobb replied, "Oh about .310 or maybe even .315."  The surprised reporter, knowing he hit much higher than that when he played, quizzed him.  "Is that because of travel, night games, artificial turf and the current assortment of new pitches like the slider?"

           Cobb said, "No the reason I would only hit just above .300 is because I am 72 years old.   :)   How's that for a confident mindset?

            Nowadays .300 is considered a good batting average for a season and for any longer than one year it is considered great.  Think about it.  That means a batter is considered a success if he gets 3 hits in every 10 at bats.  This means he will fail seven times.

            As Mark Batterson says (The Grave Robber pg. 107) "Great hitters have short, selective memories."  They would have to in order to play at the big-league level.  If a player went up to home plate thinking about the times he had failed and worrying about not failing again-he would fail.

            So let me ask you this. What is your batting average?  No, I'm not talking about your baseball batting average.  In fact, you may never have even played the game.  I am referring to your prayer batting average. 

            No matter how many times you strikeout when you pray° and let's face it. God does not answer every prayer just the way we want it to be answered. So you may feel like you are striking out more than you are getting a hit.

            Love the way Batterson puts it:  "No matter how many times you strike out, faith keeps swinging for the fences."

            The fact is the way to bat .000 is to not pray for something because God will not answer 100% of the prayers that are not prayed.  God is able to answer any and all prayers, but He can't answer a prayer that is not prayed.  That is not to say He won't send a blessing your way anyway, God is capable of doing anything.  But it wouldn't be in answer to a prayer because you didn't pray.  God out of his goodness sent you a blessing anyway.

            God answers all prayers in one way or another.  He could answer it in the way you prayed for.  He could answer it in a different way.  Or his answer could be "not yet" and He might delay and answer it later because of something, in His Omniscience that he sees in your current situation.

            Sometimes it is difficult to understand what is going on with a prayer you have offered up. Batterson says "the will of God can sometimes feel like a game of pin the tail on the donkey."  But when that prayer gets answered it is like, as my friend Science Mike (author of Finding God in the Waves) says, when something good happens:  "winner, winner, chicken dinner." :)

            Paul instructs us to devote ourselves to prayer and to stay committed to it.  In other words, stay the course.  In LAB (Life Application Bible) we read this; "Have you ever grown tired of praying for something or someone? Paul says we should "devote" ourselves to prayer and be "watchful" in prayer.  Our persistence is an expression of our faith that God answers our prayers.  Faith shouldn't die if the answers come slowly, for the delay may be God's way of working His will in our lives.  When you feel tired of praying, know that God is present, always listening, always answering---maybe not in ways you had hoped, but in ways that He knows are best."

            I can think of some prayers I have prayed day after day, and because they involved issues that were on my heart, I didn't give up.  Got weary? Yes! Tired of offering up the same request? Sometimes! Wondering if these would ever be answered? At times, yes!

            But, let me tell you when you keep on praying and finally, in God's timing, the prayer is answered in an obvious and rewarding way …“Bingo!”  It is the greatest feeling.  It's kinda like a .200 hitter in baseball, that's a guy who is failing 8 out of ten times, but once he gets a game winning, walk-off hit, the batting average is forgotten.  He is the hero of the moment.

            Same deal with God's wonderful answers to prayer.  Forgotten are the times you prayed, wondering, but still exercising faith that "God is able."  I think the worst thing would be when that prayer is finally answered to not recognize God's hand in it and fail to give Him thanks.

            Pastor James L. Nicodem in his book "Prayer Coach" writes. "Leave thanksgiving out of your anxiety-prompted prayer and it will probably end up as handwringing. Thanksgiving keeps that from happening.  Thanksgiving reminds us that God is in control and that He has a long track record of resolving crises like ours."

            In Philippians 4:6-7 we find these comforting words:  "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with Thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

            LAB comments:  "Imagine never being anxious about anything!  It seems like an impossibility---we all have worries on the job, in our homes, at school.  But Paul's advice is to turn our worries into prayers.  Do you want to worry less?  Then pray more!  Whenever you start to worry, stop and pray."

            The more we pray the greater our prayer batting average will be.

Monday Prayer:  Thank you, Lord, for the privilege and the power of prayer.  Prayer is truly a gift from above.     Amen!



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