What a Baseball Player Taught me About Prayer
Craig Kimbrel is the closer for the Boston Red Sox. If you’re not a baseball fan, that means that he is the last pitcher to face the other team. At the end of the game, Kimbrel is the final stop before victory. Translation: the guy is a stud with ice in his veins. Nothing faces the closer.
What makes Kimbrel so fascinating to even the casual fan?
It could be his diminutive stature- he’s only 6’ tall. It may be his long beard. One could easily point to his success- he’s been one of the best closers since entering the big leagues in 2010.
What stands out for me regarding Kimbrel is his unique posture as he prepares to deliver a pitch. He stares towards home plate and strikes a pose- it’s really more of a pose. His right arm sort of dangles and he enters the mysterious place where pitcher and catcher communicate through hand signals.
Then, in the blink of an eye- he delivers the pitch.
So what does all of this baseball talk have to do with prayer? Consider the various postures we use when we pray:
- Kneeling: a gesture of surrender, repentance and obedience.
- Standing: a sign of respect and praise.
- Hands up: an act of praise.
- Palms out: a sign of openness.
- Hands folded: a sign of focus and concentration.
If the best athletes in the world use gestures and postures to execute their craft, we can learn something from them. They pay attention to the slightest detail and maybe it’s time that we do as well.
Watching Kimbrel this year in the playoffs caused me to ask: what is my ideal prayer posture?
The answer came quickly- it’s hands up, palms open, head slightly bowed. When I need to pray with all of my might, that’s the posture I use. It means openness and reminds me of my total need for God. I feel like I can talk with God in the most honest way possible- as if I’m not holding anything back.
This isn’t to say that other postures aren’t valuable. They are. It’s just that this particular posture seems to be most effective when I need to pray and pray hard. It’s good to pay attention to these things.
How about for you? What’s your ideal prayer posture?
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