Writing for the newspaper at Marshall University was intimidating. I was an older student by the time I decided what I wanted to do with my life, so I already felt a bit out of place. My “beat” was religion, and I basically wrote about any religious groups on campus that were doing something – giving out hot dogs, hosting a seminar, etc. To ensure that we all got as much experience as we could, there were a few assignments that we had for the semester that had nothing to do with our category.
One of those was sports.
I was dreading that for most of the semester. I am not a sports person. I have a difficult time paying attention to what is going on in a game of any kind, and do not know the rules. I also use my own terminology to make it easier for me to understand. In football, “downs” are called “tries.” In baseball, “runs” are still “points” to me.
I tried to get around covering any kind of actual sports thing by doing a couple of sports-ish articles. One was on the Herd’s football chaplain at the time, Pastor Steve Harvey. He was delightful and told me a sweet story about one of his former players, C. J. Spillman, who had gone on to play for the San Diego Chargers.
After hearing him talk about this guy, I got this idea that just maybe I could find a way to get in touch with him. I remembered something my professor had once said.
“You are a reporter.”
She said that we can call anywhere, contact anyone, or get permission to go anywhere that paid journalists can.
When she said this, it gave me so much more confidence than I would have had otherwise. I wasn’t just a student trying to get a passing grade, hoping to one day be a reporter at a real paper. I was a reporter writing news for readers, plain and simple.
That gave me the confidence to call up the San Diego Chargers media department and get clearance and an appointment to interview Mr. Spillman the following afternoon.
I don’t remember what the story was about or much of the seven minutes I was able to talk to him. But I can tell you that it increased my confidence, it increased the value that I saw in my work, and it increased my boldness for the next time I had a story idea.
I was thinking of this the other day and realized I need to duplicate this line of thinking in my prayer and my relationship with God.
I sometimes forget to pray big. To dream with God. To trust that He hears me and cares just as much for me as He cared for Moses, for David, for Elijah. I’m not trying to say that God should do everything I ask Him; I’m not that crazy. I am often like a toddler who thinks she knows what she wants but needs her Grownup to know what is really good for her. But I should have the assurance that He is listening.
In James chapter 5, James reminds us of when Elijah prayed confidently for rain to prove to the people that his God is the only God. The whole story is found in 1 Kings 18 and 19, and if you have a minute you should go there because it is awesome.
When James is telling us about it, he starts off with a key point.
“Elijah was a man just like us.” James 5:17a (NIV)
There isn’t anything extra about these people who we read about. They are flawed humans who believe in a big God. That’s us too.
When reading Scripture, remind yourself of this. See what God did for them and know He can do it for you too. Know He is hearing your words.
You are a child of God.
For me, this is a reminder to be more intentional in my prayers. It shouldn’t just be a routine, but an opportunity to talk and listen to the same God Moses and David and Elijah talked and listened to.
I challenge you to make a list of the first five times that come to mind when God showed up for you. Times you were confident He heard you.
If you are struggling with that, I want you to look through your Bible and find five times God came through for the people in those pages. Your God did that! And He can do it for you too. Let’s pray like we believe that.