Thursday, September 4, 2008

Back Home and Looking Forward to September and a Perfect Day for Ball

What’s a perfect day for you? Weather-wise I mean. Some people like a day that’s good for the beach. Some like a day without humidity so their bread will rise properly. For me, it’s all about baseball. A perfect day for me is a day that would be perfect for baseball. A deep blue sky, with just a few clouds so it doesn’t get too hot. And if I’m really honest I would like a steady breeze that will carry a ball over the left field fence. There’s nothing like the sound of a wooden bat making contact with a pitch, especially if you happen to be holding the bat at the time. As a boy and before summer jobs got in the way I spent many August afternoons playing baseball. We usually have a lot of these kinds of days in late summer. And although I rarely pick up a bat anymore I still relish in these perfect days.

Perfect days for baseball come around often enough, but what about perfect days for prayer. The humorous answer to the question, when is a perfect time for prayer?, is tomorrow. It is so easy to put off the very lifeblood of our spirituality.

One of the great things about prayer is that we don’t have to wait for perfect weather. We can pray whenever we want. We don’t have to wait until the evening (when the rates are lower). We don’t have to wait for tomorrow (it’s always now). And we don’t even have to wait for Sunday. As they say in the infomercials, “operators are on call.” God is ready and waiting for our prayer.

Baseball is mostly about a bunch of people standing around waiting for something to happen. Whereas prayer is the happening. I would advise not setting any goals with prayer. Don’t try and accomplish anything except the prayer itself. Don’t wait for something to happen. Don’t wait for enlightenment. Prayer is the point and it is in prayer that we are basking in the presence of the Divine.

In baseball, like so much of life, practice makes perfect, well it makes pretty good at least. Remember that in baseball a consistent batter is one who hits the ball (and gets on base) only 30% of the time. So, if we manage to pray about 30% of the time we intend to pray, well that’s pretty good. God will joyfully take what God gets. And if we swing and miss, at least we are at the plate and for God that’s the whole point.

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