To youth: Play hard, pray hard


Good morning, friends!

For several weeks, I’ve been caught up in the Junior Babe Ruth frenzy, and with good reason. One of our grandsons is a player on the team. He’s a catcher, and a great one, at that.

I applaud each and every one of the team members, and it was so exciting and inspiring to watch it all unfold as they won the championship! The journey continues as the team heads off to Washington state next week for the chance to earn the national title. I wish I could go with them, but certainly, my prayers do!

If you had an opportunity to attend any of the games at Armagh Field in Milroy, you couldn’t help but notice the huge sign in very bold letters that says, “Play Hard-Pray Hard.” At the opening of the first game, our flag was honored through the playing of the National Anthem, with the beautiful Abby Traxler’s voice being heard as she put her heart into singing for us. There was then a prayer offered for the boys and all that was involved in the making of this series. I apologize, I didn’t catch the name of the man who prayed…most importantly, he prayed. Remember, the sign says, “Play Hard-Pray Hard.”

At one point, I was asked if I would be willing to give the opening prayer for one of the games, and I enthusiastically agreed. But then, there was no more mentioned about me praying, and at the following game, there was no prayer before the game…or the next game, nor the one after that. I

inquired about it and was told that there had even been a pastor invited from out of our area, who was prepared to sing the anthem, and pray. But, it didn’t happen. I have been told that it didn’t happen because “somebody” made the decision that “we don’t need to pray.” Now, if you know me at all, you have to know that my blood boiled! Are you serious? We don’t need to pray? I am outraged, to say the least! I wish my emotions hadn’t gotten the best of me, because the rebel that I can be, would have taken charge of this situation. I promise you, if my head had been clear, I would have marched out to the field, and prayed anyway! Has it really come to this, folks? We can no longer pray before a ballgame, simply because one person decides for all of us?

All is not lost, friends! The boys, the team, decided for themselves that if there would be no prayer for them, THEY would pray…and pray they did! One player in particular, Brian Yetter, initiated the praying before the games, and I tell you, that picture will FOREVER be etched in my memory! How precious! How very precious, to see our young men huddled on the ground before the Lord, heads bowed, arms on each other’s shoulders, asking for His blessing and protection before heading out on the field! To see the unity in seeking God together just touched my heart and brought me to tears! This, THIS, is the America I know and love! America, ball teams, on their knees before the watching world, seeking God…it takes my breath away! I applaud you, Brian, for being bold enough to stand for Jesus in this apparently hostile-toward-God world! I applaud each and every team member who knew the importance of seeking God before undertaking the hard work of winning a championship! These young men still know the priority of “God first”, and then, play ball!

Listen, friends, I have no interest in taking part of all that’s happening on political stages of life as we know it today. Maybe I’m wrong for that, but maybe not. My heart and soul is with God, and I WILL PRAY! I will pray for those who are no longer sensitive to the Voice of God, for those who no longer acknowledge God, and for those who feel they have a right to influence all of us who do!

Luke 18:1 says: I always pray, I don’t faint, quit or give up.

1 Thessalonians 5:17 says: I will be unceasing in prayer.

Lord, please be near to those of us who call You Lord. Help us to persevere in prayer, especially in times of opposition. We would be nothing without You. In this world where many have turned their backs on You, Jesus, help each of us be strong, steadfast, and immovable in our faith in You. We love You, Lord. In Jesus’ name, I pray. Amen.


Debby Renninger is a freelance writer and inspirational speaker. She holds a Bible study in her home in McVeytown, where seeking women are always welcome. She may be reached at (717) 250-7086 for speaking engagements.