A Self Serving Man
…by Shane Hale
For the longest time my prayers resembled a broken record. Not all days, but most. I seemed to pray for the same things, same people, often with the same words and phrases. Over and over. It began to bother me. So I took an honest look at my prayer life. Wasn’t pretty.
It was mostly self-serving and generic, still better than the anemic to non-existent of years gone by. But I realized something– God had often answered my self-serving and generic prayers. And there is not a more glaring example than my prior baseball career.
Growing up I prayed to be a professional baseball player. Then one day I was a Baltimore Oriole. In the next seven professional seasons, I never prayed for fortune and fame (remember that). In the spirit of full disclosure, I didn’t really pray1 consistently at all.
The kid from Rocky Creek, Mississippi, got to turn it loose!
Most prayers were about baseball. For those I prayed consistently, self-servingly and generically , for one thing : To stand on the mound in a major league stadium, wearing a major league uniform. I just wanted the experience of pitching in a big stadium with all those seats!
The closest I came was in the fall of 1993. I spent three months in Baltimore, but as an extra in the movie Major League II.2 Check it out. I’m #17, last name O’Conner. No lines but I’m scattered throughout the movie. Not exactly what I prayed for. Now fast forward 20+ years.
Cleaning out old boxes, I found a photo and just stared at it. Standing on the mound in Oriole Stadium at Camden Yards, wearing a Cleveland Indians uniform…and I’m pitching. No fortune, no fame, no fans, but for five glorious minutes I stood on sacred ground. God just smiled.
It took over twenty years to realize I ‘d received precisely what I asked for.
Years later I am in a different place spiritually than I was when I “re-found” that photo. I’ve been “re-found” and “re-purposed” myself since then. I got in the boat, as I like to say, and started doing my part. I see things differently, aware of things that once evaded me.
My eyes and ears have been opened to a new level. Examining my prayer life is an example of that broader awareness. And realizing the answered prayer within that photo years ago has led me to ask myself this question….
If God was willing to work in the life of a man whose rarely offered prayers were self-serving and generic, what could He have done in and through the life of that man had his prayers been consistent, God centered, and specific? Probably more than I could ever imagine or would want to know.
Get in the boat. Do your part.
Note : #4 in the photo is Brad Tyler. Orioles 6th pick in the 1990 draft. The most deserving guy I know that never got the call. SH
Shane Hale is a redeemed & re-purposed professional baseball player and former corporate sales executive. Shane, his wife Michelle, and their three sons live in Mobile, Alabama, USA, where he works as a Realtor. While seeking God’s plan for his life in the summer of 2014, God told Shane to start writing. Today he shares his faith to encourage and inspire others to seek His plan for their lives as well. Read his blog at http://www.the1sixproject.com .
1. Unless I was in a pickle. (For our non-southern USA speaking friends…Unless I was in trouble.)
2. Major League II, Morgan Creek Productions, Warner Bros. Entertainment, 1994
Banner Photo: Shane Hale
First Photo: Baltimore Orioles Logo 1992-1994
Second Photo: Shane Hale pitching in Oriole Stadium in Camden Yards, Baltimore, Maryland
Third Photo: Shane Hale, Author