On Sunday night during a delay before Sunday Night Baseball, David Ross was telling Tim Kurkjian and Karl Ravech about his experience of being called up to the big leagues for the first time. His minor league manager brought the team together before the game, started talking about the plan for the game as a distraction, but then shared the news about Ross being called up with the whole team. It was a moment the whole team got to enjoy, a dream for all of them to share.
I will never forget the first time I watched a player get called up. When I was a batboy for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox, our locker was at the end of the row, right in front of the pay phone (yep, the pay phone). In August of that 1990 season, Jeff Shaw got the call to the big leagues. I remember the congratulatory handshakes and pats on the back, but what really struck me was the phone call he made to is dad. He was shaking, nearly crying, as he called his father to share the news with him. It was an amazing moment to be able to witness.
As my wife, Alyson, and I continued reading Moving Mountains by John Eldredge this weekend, it became more apparent that Eldredge is calling us up to a higher level of prayer, a "big-league" level of prayer, if you will. He uses three words to describe different stages of one's prayer life - a slave, an orphan, and a son.
Many of us pray as if we are slaves - slaves to a religious system, to our thoughts, or to trying to limit the emotion we're willing to share with God (as if He doesn't know). We're bound in some way and Eldredge's encouragement is to "turn off the editor." This one really resonated with me as I wondered if I've been too controlled in my prayer life.
The next stage, phase, or mindset was as an orphan. Eldredge used the examples of praying for scraps, hoping to just get the stuff that falls from the table of God's feast. It's thinking that the world's resources are scarce, when the God who created the whole world only has a little for His creation.
The final idea was that of praying as a son. As my kids get older, I continue to connect deeply with this idea of a Father's relationship to his kids. When I got home from reading with Alyson, my son was standing up on the outside deck. He saw me and just said, "Hi, daddy." It made me think, "When was the last time I started my prayers for the day or in the moment with a simple, 'Hi, Daddy.'"? Ever? While I did reach a new level of authenticity in my prayers this week - a tearful call that was one of those, "this is just too hard and too much to handle" kind of prayer - I think it's time for me to be called up to a new level of relationship, a sonship, in my prayers with my Heavenly Father.
I want to encourage all of us to call our to our Father like a son this week. Maybe in a "Hi, Daddy" kind of prayer. Maybe in a real, authentic cry for mercy. Or maybe shaking with joy as you're overwhelmed because something incredible happened to you like when Jeff Shaw got called up to the big leagues. Let's make this our big-league level of prayer - one that we can all choose to attain.