I love baseball, and I love word-play, so it’s probably no surprise that I really love the Abbot and Costello routine, “Who’s on First?” (watch here)
The idea behind the famous routine is that Abbot is trying to explain the positions on the baseball team, but the players’ names lead to all sorts of needless confusion. You don’t really have to know a lot about baseball to be entertained by the comedy routine, but the more you do know, the funnier it gets. Baseball depends on coordinated team effort– knowing who is playing where can make the difference between spectacular plays and disasters– both offensively and defensively. But as much as I would love to talk about both baseball and comedy today, I really want to use baseball as a metaphor for prayer.
Prayer is very personal, especially confessional prayer (see yesterday’s post), but often it is also communal and a coordinated team effort. Every player (pray-er) wants to play our best, and we are gifted for certain positions on the “team.” Some of us are great at pop-ups– catching people “in the moment” and praying with them, sharing their burdens and joys with concise sentence prayers. Some are sluggers– prayer warriors who “knock it out of the park.” Some are outfielders, patiently persistent in praying for the lost, and ready to chase down a line drive or jump up to make the save. Some are basemen– praying to keep the enemy from gaining ground, or catchers, defending home base from all attempts to score. Some are good at bunting–providing the necessary support and sacrifice so that someone else can advance. And some are master pitchers–crafting prayers that strike out or even shut-out the enemy. Our coach, our mascot, our general manager and MVP? The Almighty, Triune God! He knows our strengths, weaknesses, and how we can improve our performance and standing. He also wants to help our team become closer and stronger. After all, baseball is wonderful, but Christian living is even better– it has eternal consequences!
When we ask, in relation to prayer, “Who’s on First,” we need to remember a few things:
- Always listen to the coach!
- Remember you are not alone.
- PRAY to win!
- Look out for and support your teammates.
- Each inning is a new beginning– don’t live in the last inning.
- Don’t let the current score determine your play.
- Don’t let the other team’s players or their fans take you “off your game.”
- (Spoiler alert)– We are the champions!
Let’s get suited up and ready to take the field for today’s game…after all, you or I may be on first!