I really love baseball, and have discovered that my favorite baseball of all is Little League in all its forms, from kindergarten t-ball to player-pitch, when skills begin to develop and grow. There just is nothing better! As my grandkids have progressed through the levels, one of the most interesting parts has been watching the development of team play.
When they first start off in t-ball at about age 5, and the ball is hit off the tee, every single player, usually from both teams, runs to wherever the ball lands and has a discussion about what to do with it. It is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen – all these earnest little baseball players, with gloves as big as they are, running to the ball. Of course, that means there is no one on base to catch the ball and get anyone out. There are lots of home runs in t-ball! Players also have a limited grasp of the rules and structure of the game, and tend to have very short attention spans. So, in t-ball you may see bases run in no particular order, or an outfielder who wanders off to chase a butterfly.
Now my oldest grandson is playing more “real” baseball. This is his first year of player-pitched ball, and everyone is VERY serious. They march up to bat with serious “game faces” on, and the pitchers stare down the hitters. They are also really learning to play together as a team. In a recent game, I saw them execute a perfect double play, one of the most exciting plays in baseball. Done right, it is truly a thing of beauty. You can see the Royals do this here. In order for this to work, everyone involved has to work together in perfectly orchestrated teamwork. Each player has to be where he needs to be at that moment, and also be aware of the exact location of his teammates and the runners. It requires concentration and shutting out distractions like the noise of the crowd or those butterflies!
We talk about prayer as a very personal and individual experience, and it is. But there is also great power and experience of the presence of God in praying together with other believers. In Matthew 18:20, Jesus promises that, “where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” If you do not routinely pray with someone else, this week why not explore this kind of prayer? Gather friends or family members and spend time in God’s presence. Try to also be aware and attentive to each person in the room, focusing on this time of prayer and shutting out everything else.
If you need a “game plan” for your time of praying together, choose ahead of time who will begin and who will finish the time of prayer and how each person in the circle will let the next person know when they are through praying. (A common way is to squeeze the hand of the next person). One good framework for praying together is to use the A.C.T.S. method:
Adoration – each person present shares a prayer of adoration, telling God what he means to you, and end by praying this scripture together out loud: Let my whole being bless the Lord/Lord my God, how fantastic you are!/You are clothed in glory and grandeur!” – Psalm 104:1
Confession – this can be done out loud, or silently, with the leader allowing time and then leading the group to pray out loud, “Lord hear our prayer.” Before moving on to prayers of Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving – each person present offers up a prayer of thanksgiving to God. After the last person, the group can pray together, “Lord hear our prayer.”
Supplication – each person present can offer up a different prayer request, or if the group is focused on one prayer need, can pray for just the one topic. Again, at the end, the group may pray together, “Lord, hear our prayer.”
If you like, you can end your time of prayer by reciting the Lord’s Prayer.
In your time together, I pray your “team” will experience the power and beauty of God’s presence, and feel more closely connected.
–Jennifer Creagar, Resurrection Prayer Ministry