Marathon Prayers

It’s hard enough to pray.  But it’s even more difficult to find the time to pray in our busy daily lives as well as praying quality prayers when we do pray. One of the most challenging prayers for me are the long term prayers.  The prayers we pray for a long period of time. For me, these prayers are usually for people or difficult times I may be going through.  

It’s easy in the beginning to pray for something like a pray warrior but when the prayer isn’t answered after days and weeks I have to be honest and say that my prayers lose a little steam.  I don’t feel that they are as fervent or effectual.  They easily become repetitive and simply words.  It’s easy to get weary.  

So I asked myself this question:  How can we condition ourselves to pray “marathon” prayers?

  1. Assess your current prayer condition.   How often do you pray now?  You may discover that it needs a little work.  Like a runner that is serious about running a marathon, you can’t just do it haphazardly.  
  2. Proper training.  The best training manual we can follow is the Bible.  Read and study passages about prayer.  
  3. Do what works best for you.  Some people like to pray loud.  Some like to be quiet. Find the way that fits you best.  
  4. Get started.  The only way you can get good at praying is to pray.  Set the schedule that works for you whether it is morning or afternoon or night. 
  5. Stay motivated.  Keep in mind why you are doing it.  Keep the goal on your mind.  
  6. Set your own pace.  Long distance praying is just that – long.  There are no shortcuts.  Chip away at it and don’t give up. 

Just like running a marathon, praying for something for a long time isn’t going to be easy.  It is especially difficult when it appears things that you are praying for are getting worse.  That part can really freak you out.  Don’t give up regardless of what you see on the outside.  You never know what God is doing that you cannot see. 

Here are some passages that will help:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. (1 John 5:14)


AUDL Championship Weekend Preview

HEADER-champDallas, Seattle, Toronto and host, Madison will take to the air in the American Ultimate Disc League (AUDL) Championship weekend.   This will be the fifth championship in the league’s history.  Here’s a look at the four teams that will play this weekend at Breese Stevens Field:

Madison Radicals (15-0) are the host team looking for their first title.  They were runner-up finishers in 2013 and 2015.   The Radicals are the Number One seed in the final four.  Madison has won 31 consecutive games at home. Madison is quick to build a lead on their opponents with their defensive pressure. Matt Weber, Seth Meyer, and Kevin Pettit-Scantling are key players to watch in generating turnovers at the beginning of the game and providing the Radicals with an immediate boost of momentum. The Radicals will play Seattle at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Toronto Rush (13-2) survived an overtime thriller in the East Division final against the DC Breeze.  They are 1-1 in the finals, winning the 2013 championship over Madison.  Toronto is one of the deepest teams in the league.   Mark Lloyd, Isaiah Masek-Kelly, and Cam Harris are the playmakers for the Rush although they have had lower numbers this season.  Toronto will meet Dallas in the first semifinal game on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Dallas Roughnecks (15-0) are the newcomers to the championship in their first season of play in the AUDL.  The Roughnecks’ roster includes five players who competed for Team USA in the World Ultimate Championships in London this summer.  Dallas enters Championship Weekend V with the most potent offense in the league—and perhaps the best offense in AUDL history—but their defense is the focal point for the team’s energy. Dan Emmons and the Larberg brothers (Dillon and Christian) are tough for opponents to stop.   Their quick restarts off of opponents’ turnovers are quick and difficult to defend.  The Roughnecks will play Toronto on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Seattle Cascades (11-5) are the underdogs coming into the finals having swept two California foes in the division semifinals and finals to represent the West in Madison.  The Cascades’ offense is dynamic when the disc is moving between all their parts, constantly shifting the opponent’s defensive alignment and disguising the Cascades’ point of attack striking with precision. Mark Burton and Donnie Clark have emerged as maybe the most dangerous downfield offensive tandem in the league.  The Cascades will face Madison in the semifinals.

The championship weekend will be televised on ESPN3 and streamed on Facebook Live.

Past AUDL Championship Results:

  • 2012 Philadelphia Spinners 29, Indianapolis Alleycats 22
  • 2013 Toronto Rush 16, Madison Radicals 14
  • 2014 San Jose Spiders 28, Toronto Rush 18
  • 2015 San Jose Spiders 17, Madison Radicals 15



Friday Flashback:  1996 Summer Olympics

On September 18, 1990 Atlanta, Georgia celebrated when the International Olympic Committee (IOC) selected the city to host the 1996 Olympic Games.  I remember the announcement on television and celebrated when Atlanta was picked to be the host.  It was an incredible event for the State of Georgia and the first time in history that the Olympic Games had been held in the Southern United States.  On July 19, 1996 the games were officially opened by President Bill Clinton.  Muhammad Ali lit the Olympic torch and received a replacement gold medal for his boxing victory in the 1960 Summer Olympics.

Almost 200 nations participated in the games.  The United States topped the medal count with 101 overall medals and 44 gold medals.  The United States women’s gymnastics team won their first gold medal.  Shannon Miller won the gold medal on the balance beam event.  The most memorable performance was when Kerri Strug vaulted with an injured ankle and landed on one foot.

In track and field, Donovan Bailey of Canada won the men’s 100 meter to set a new world record of 9.84 seconds.  He also was the anchor in his team’s gold medal-winning 4 x 100 meter relay.  

The U.S. Women’s soccer team won the first gold medal in women’s soccer.

Although Atlanta was the central base for the Olympic Games, several other Southern cities also had a chance to get a part in the Olympic Games.  Columbus, Georgia hosted softball at Golden Park, Lake Lanier was home to Canoeing (sprint) and Rowing events, and Savannah, Georgia was home to sailing events.

One of the more forgettable images from the Olympics was Izzy, a futuristic character which you would have a hard time describing.  Izzy wasn’t very popular and was pretty much a marketing disaster.

At the closing ceremony, IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch ruffled a few feathers by simply saying “Well done, Atlanta” when he had traditionally commented after each games that the host had hosted the best Olympics ever.  Most Atlanta and Georgia residents took that as a slight to their hosting of the games.

Perhaps one reason to the perceived slight was that the games were marred by a bombing on July 27 which killed one person and wounded 111 others.  It was later determined that Eric Robert Ruudolph had committed the attack in protest of abortions.  Initially it was believed that security guard Richard Jewell had been guilty of the bombing but was later cleared.

Several structures built for the games have been converted for use today.   Centennial Olympic Stadium became Turner Field and the home of the Atlanta Braves.  Olympic Village now serves as housing for Georgia State University and Georgia Tech.  The Omni was replaced by Philips Arena.  Centennial Olympic Park continues as a lasting memorial of the games that made Atlanta golden during the summer of 1996.

Team of the Week:  Hartford Yard Goats

If you’re a minor league baseball player and you play for a team called the yard goats, you would be playing on a Double-A team in Hartford, Connecticut.  The Yard Goats are an affiliate of the Colorado Rockies in the Eastern League.  They are currently third place in the Eastern League’s Eastern Division with a record of 61-45.  They are nine games out of first place.

The Yard Goats were named as part of a “name-the-team” contest which drew over 6,000 submissions.  The name actually is in reference to a railroad slang term for a switch engine which moves trains around a rail yard to prepare them for another locomotive; however the team’s logo features a goat chomping on a baseball bat.

Catcher Troy Stein leads the Yard Goats with a .429 batting average.  German Marquez leads the pitching staff with a 9-5 record and has pitched in 128.2 innings this season.  

In the latest news for the team, owner Josh Solomon has threatened to move the team if the new stadium is not completed by the end of 2016.  The Yard Goats were supposed to move into Dunkin Donuts Park this season but construction delays have left the team without a home for the rest of their inaugural season in Hartford.    The franchise moved from New Britain, Connecticut to Hartford this season.

An Eternal Perspective

I recently heard a preacher give his definition of being relevant.   He said “If it’s not eternal it’s not relevant”.  That statement woke me.  Am I not thinking enough about eternal things?  Have I been much too preoccupied with material things?  The Bible tells us to lay up our treasures in heaven.  (Matthew 6:20)
What exactly does that mean?  We can’t literally put physical things there.  

It means we should have our priorities on eternal things more that temporary things.  We get so wrapped up in things of the material world.  Money, jobs and other material things.  The truth is that it doesn’t matter if you are a believer or not, when we die we aren’t going to take any of this with us.  Some believe that when we die that’s it.  Done.  Finished.  Okay we’ll see how well that works out.  I’m sorry but maybe I’m silly but I choose to believe that we are eternal creatures.  There is something there for us on the other side of death. 

So what treasures can we lay up for ourselves in heaven?   

The main thing is our relationship with God.  We will all face him one day.  Do we value our relationship with Him now or do we have to be shown proof that He even exists?   What would He have to do for you to believe?  For many years I wasted time asking and pleading for God to speak to me in an audible voice or have some sort of burning bush experience.  I never got it.

I learned two things:

  1. God isn’t going to be coerced into proving His existence
  2. God speaks in the silence

God doesn’t play “Let’s Make A Deal” to anyone.  He’s God and we’re not.  You either believe in Him or you don’t.  Sadly, For years I had gotten caught up in the emotionalism of a Pentecostal church.  I’m not saying God isn’t there, but for me He was that still small voice.  Not in the miracles and spiritual spooky things or speaking in tongues.  When we are loud, it is easy to distract ourselves from our real problems.  The quietness brings us close to God and forces us to see who we really are.  

Eternal things are the most relevant things of all.  We can ignore it but the day will come for us all.  

I think we should all live in doing the best we can and do good for others as best we can.  In a world that is selfish and impatient we should display the best example of being unselfish and patience. 

Friday Flashback:  United States Basketball League

Summertime is usually the season for baseball and soccer but in the late 1980s a new basketball league was formed as a developmental-type league.  Although the United States Basketball League (USBL) wasn’t officially aligned with the National Basketball Association (NBA), they did produce some talent that eventually became NBA stars.

Tyrone Curtis “Muggsy” Bogues, Manute Bol, Mario Elie, World B. Free, Avery Johnson, Anthony Mason and Michael “Sugar” Ray Richardson all played in the USBL.  

The USBL began play in 1985 as one of the first leagues to play in the summer during the NBA’s offseason.   Atlantic City, Dodge City and Miami won the most titles with three each during the 23 seasons the league was in existence.   In the last two seasons, the league was more of a regional-type league with teams in Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Some of the more interesting teams were the Nebraska Cranes, New Jersey Shore Cats, Palm Beach Stingrays and Springfield Fame (home of the Basketball Hall of Fame)

The Kansas Cagerz was the most successful team on the court with a record of 164-127.  

Gift-Wrapped Garbage

garbageYesterday when I got home from work I noticed that our trash had not been picked up as it usually is on Tuesdays.  I thought it was odd.  I checked to make sure and – yep – the trash was still in the container just as I had left it.  I called the HOA who pays for our trash pickup and they referred me to the number for the company.  When I called I was asked “Did you have everything bagged?”

Excuse me?

It’s trash.  As long as it is in the container what does it matter?

Apparently it wasn’t an issue until yesterday that ALL of my garbage wasn’t in a bag.  Since when do we have to put our garbage in a neat, bagged package?  It’s TRASH.  I’m throwing it away.  Next thing they will ask will be for you to wash it before you put it in the container!

I went to the website which lists such rules and it took a while to find them.  In addition to the “gift wrap” rule they have also banned cardboard, yard waste and electronic waste.  I guess that means I can’t dump my 60″ TV in there.

So if I get any cardboard, yard waste or electronic waste then I am stuck with it.  Perhaps I can sell it on Craigslist.

It might surprise you to know that there is a difference between “garbage” and “trash”.  Garbage is refuse which comes from the kitchen or bathroom.  Trash is the waste which comes from anywhere else except the kitchen or bathroom.  Interesting.

So your trash could be another man’s garbage depending on where it came from.  Just make sure to bag it.