"God answers my prayers everywhere except on the golf-course."
Prayer of GethsemaneThey went to a place called Gethsemane, and Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” He took Peter, James and John along with him, and he began to be deeply distressed and troubled. “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death,” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch.” Going a little farther, he fell to the ground and prayed that if possible the hour might pass from him. “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” Mark 14:32-36
The disciples once asked Jesus to teach them to pray. As Christians we spend a lifetime learning to pray. Prayer is one of God’s greatest gifts to us. Bishop Graham Cray says that Christian prayer is rooted in Gethsemane as we can only approach the Father because of the death of his Son. He describes Abba as a “Gethsemane word...which combines respectful intimacy with profound commitment to the will and purposes of God”.
As we seek to learn how to pray, it is important to understand that prayer aligns us with the will of God. Some athletes use the hashtag #Hiswill. It is not easy but we need to remind ourselves that prayer is not so much about bringing our shopping list to God as it is about learning to align our will with God’s.
World boxing champion, Muhammed Ali, used to say: “The fight is won or lost far away from the witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym and out on the road, long before I dance under those lights”. That is as true for your spiritual life as for your sporting life.