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Preparations for Prayer

My first season coaching All Stars was exciting as my oldest son James also was selected for this team. While our team could hit, we only had two solid starting pitchers. As the elimination round began, players spent an hour in the batting cages, eager to keep their season alive. After batting practice ended, players began to warm up their arms. As the head coach and I talked strategy, we both overlooked one crucial element of our pregame routine: stretching. This oversight proved costly as our starting pitching pulled a hamstring warming up.

Abraham said to him, See to it that you do not take my son back there. The Lord, the God of heaven, Who took me from my father’s house, from the land of my family and my birth, Who spoke to me and swore to me, saying, To your offspring I will give this land—He will send His [b]Angel before you, and you will take a wife from there for my son. And if the woman should [c]not be willing to go along after you, then you will be clear from this oath; only you must not take my son back there. So the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master and swore to him concerning this matter, Genesis 24:6-9.

The purpose of stretching in baseball or any kind of physical activity is to prevent injuries. As a former country runner, my high school team regularly stretched for 15 minutes and sometimes up to a half hour before running. My only major injury over my running career was spraining my ankle after falling into a hole covered by leaves. Other than this freak accident, stretching kept me free from harm for a decade. From a spiritual perspective, prayer is like stretching before a baseball game. This typically limits injuries and prepares your body for sprinting and stopping at the crack of a bat.

And he said, O Lord, God of my master Abraham, I pray You, cause me to meet with good success today, and show kindness to my master Abraham. 13 See, I stand here by the well of water, and the daughters of the men of the city are coming to draw water. 14 And let it so be that the girl to whom I say, I pray you, let down your jar that I may drink, and she replies, Drink, and I will give your camels drink also—let her be the one whom You have selected and appointed and indicated for Your servant Isaac [to be a wife to him]; and by it I shall know that You have shown kindness and faithfulness to my master. 15 Before he had finished speaking, behold, out came Rebekah, who was the daughter of Bethuel son of Milcah, who was the wife of Nahor the brother of Abraham, with her water jar on her shoulder, Genesis 24:12-15.

Depending upon your personality, a detailed planner or laid back, ready to go with the flow, prayer prepares you mentality for the beginning of each new day. If you have an important decision to make, specific prayers can serve as signs to proceed or wait for something else to come along. In the case of Eliezer, Abraham’s trusted servant, he uses prayer to enhance his chances to succeed. While this type of prayer may not fit your personality, make sure you cover yourself and family with prayer. Those who use prayer as a hedge of protection against the spiritual forces of evil in the world, Ephesians 6:10-12, will see answers to prayers like Eliezer over time. This is the proactive approach to prayer.

by Jay Mankus


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