The baseball prayer
Baseball fans all over the world are eagerly awaiting the call, "Play ball!" and the first pitch of the 2009 World Series. Who could fail to be caught up in all the anticipation, excitement, craziness, tension, pressure escalating into moments of stupidity, the shouting, benches clearing for a fight that marks the playoffs?
Every Fall, when the Series rolls around, I remember Ben Woodfork. Ben was the custodian at First Christian Church in Temple from 1963 until he retired in 1980. He and his wife Lovie were dedicated Christians and church workers. Ben worked hard to keep our church looking like the house of God and was admired and respected by all who knew him.
Ben loved the game of baseball. He was a talented pitcher and could have made the major leagues if Jackie Robinson had come along 20 years earlier.
Ben, more than anyone I have ever known, looked forward to the World Series. He always said, "I don't care who wins as long as it goes for seven full games." He watched the games on TV and enjoyed every minute of every inning.
In memory of Ben Woodfork and for baseball fans all over the world who enjoy the playoffs and the Series, here is "The Baseball Prayer," written by some unknown author who knew and loved the great American game:
"Almighty Father, you who are called the 'Mighty Umpire' in this game of life, we are not sure what uniforms we should wear. While we may be Angels in spirit, in reality we are Giants in pride, Dodgers of responsibility and Tigers in ambition.
"When it comes to faith, we find ourselves in the minor leagues. When it comes to good works, we strike out; when it comes to knowledge of your Word, we are not even sure of the ground rules.
"Therefore, we are thankful for your mercy when we find ourselves in foul territory; for your forgiveness when we commit one error after another; for your uplifting spirit when we find ourselves in pitfalls of a slump.
"Dear God, may our game plan be Your will, and our response a sellout crowd with standing room only. And when our number is retired here on earth, may we rejoice to hear you call out, 'SAFE,' in His name who gives final victory to all who believe! Amen."
Rev. Nichols is Minister Emeritus of First Christian Church in Temple where he served as senior minister for 23 years before retiring. He writes a religious column for several newspapers. His email address is cmnichols44@hot. rr.com