I paced the first base coach’s box and watched my little boy warming up on deck. Every cell of his body reflected eager nervousness. When his turn came he stepped into the batter’s box and went through the motions he had seen others perform.
It was his first year of baseball. Every game he put in his three innings in right field which earned him a couple at-bats during each game if things went well for the team. When he was in the batters box my heart was there with him, so much it is impossible to describe. He is my first-born son.
His uniform pants were usually very clean and white. He was smaller than the other boys. The years between ten and twelve can be very significant growth years. Kyle was athletic, but lacking in size, experience, and the confidence that goes with them because he was ten.
When he stepped into the box he would look sternly out toward the pitcher with serious consentration. He never looked relaxed and loose- that was not his style. He would bend his knees and try to “spring” up and down to stay loose. He would take his pracitce cuts with the bat. The ball would come in and I would pray.
If you were watching me that day you would have no way of knowing that pacing up and down that coaches box I was deep in prayer. I prayed, “Lord, I know there are people with serious needs and staggering problems, but please, Lord, please let that little boy get on base. Please let him get on base.” Every time Kyle came up to bat I prayed for him with all my heart.
A few times that year my desperate prayers were answered and my son safely reached first base. One of those times he was immediately called out because he turned toward second base, but he did get on base. The next year he got on base a lot more. By the time he was twelve it was rare for him not to get on base. Nearly every time he came to bat he would eventually score and bat in other runners.
Last week, fourteen years later this same young man stood before a crowd of a couple hundred young people with his Bible in hand. He was sharing about the process our faithful God has been using in his life in bringing him to a place of surrender to a life of vocational ministry. My mind went back to those early prayers and I found myself again pouring out my heart to God, “God bless him, help him, guide him, use him. Make a way for him. Keep him from harm. Deliver him from evil.”
All my life I have had other who poured out their hearts to God for me in prayer every day to make good in life. I thank God for that. I hope you have someone who prays for you with that intesity. I hope there is someone in your life who stirs your heart to pray for them in that way. Everyone ought to have someone pray for them like that.
Riverfront Character Inn
February 27, 2006