I was in the 7th grade. Need I say more? My relationship with Christ was limited to a little pinch of guilt that kept me showing up for Sunday services. I was much more interested in baseball than open-hearted prayer before a generous God.
I played second base for the Tigers. Our little league team was decent, but one formidable obstacle stood between our team and the area championship—the White Sox, a dynasty of near mythic proportions.
As the season progressed, my desire to beat the White Sox grew to an obsession. I couldn’t sleep the night before we were slated to play them. I lay in bed imagining myself achieving heroic feats. Then I knelt by my bed for a serious conversation with God. I don’t remember exactly what I prayed, but I firmly believed that God could pull off a win for the Tigers.
The next day, the Tigers shivered to realize that each of the Sox players was at least a head taller than any of us. But then, as the game unfolded, an outright miracle occurred. We won. As I rejoiced with my buddies I remembered my prayer the night before. Without a doubt I knew that God had answered that prayer.
When I think back on the audacious prayers of that young ball player, my first response is to wince. Isn’t it immature and shallow to pray to win a little league game? The more I think about it, though, I’m not so sure. As an adult, I still believe that win took some divine intervention. Who am I to question whether the God of the universe could grant a young boy’s barely-believing prayer? Perhaps He did it in order to draw me closer to knowing Him.
Jesus vividly portrays the generous goodness of God in Luke 11:11-13:
“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? … If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”
The more I learn of God and His heart, the more convinced I am that we don’t have to edit our prayers. Just as a loving earthly father does not expect his children to filter their requests, we aren’t called to filter the desires we submit to God.
This story and others like it can be found in Doug’s book Making Waves, available from NavPress.