One time I was walking the field and Todd Helton was out there. I had my headphones on and my Bible in my hand, and Todd said, “What are you doing, praying?” I said, “Yes,” and he said, “Pray for us too.” And I said, “I can’t do that. Because Todd, I truly believe this works and I’m trying to pray for my team right now. If I pray for you, my team will lose!”
I know and understand what intercessory prayer is. And I truly believe that God would save a whole team based on the heart of someone who would pray for it, just like when He told Abraham, “If you can find even ten good people, I will save this city.” (Genesis 18:22-32)
And so I’ve done that the last couple of years. I intercede for guys. It doesn’t matter if they don’t believe in God. One of my favorite movies is The Count of Monte Cristo. And one of my favorite scenes happens in the prison, where the old priest, Abbé Faria, is teaching Edmond Dantès, the Count. Abbé Faria says to him, “Here is your final lesson – do not commit the crime for which you now serve the sentence. God said, Vengeance is mine.” Dantès looks at the priest and says, “I don’t believe in God.” Because he was angry that God had disrupted everything, right? And Abbé Faria looks back and him and says, “It doesn’t matter. He believes in you.”
That was one of the most awesome lines in any movie I’ve ever watched! I’ve read the book and the line is in there too. Alexandre Dumas wrote this in the 1840s, and delivered one of the greatest lines on grace that I’ve ever read.
I just look at that and say, “God, I know that all of my teammates don’t believe in You, or they might believe in You but they don’t really know You, they just know of You, and right now that’s okay because You know them and You love them.” And so I pray for each and every one of them. I go to each position, I stand on each area of the field, and I ask God, “Bless this area, and whenever this person comes into this area, I pray that You would elevate his ability to play.” And I’ll stand in the batter’s box and pray that God will bless them as they hit. I’ll sit behind the plate and I’ll pray for our catchers, Buster Posey and Eli Whiteside. I pray that they will have wisdom, and they will know what pitches to call, and they will see the hitter’s reactions, and that there will be a trust factor between the pitcher and them.
And somehow, some way, whether a player believes in God or not, I believe I stand in the gap for that person. I stand there and I pray a blessing over them, and over the area that they play, that they will be great. For whatever reason, I just feel like that’s what I was led to do. And that’s why I do it.
I realize that there are situations where I have to take control of the career a little bit, and sometimes I have to ask questions and make decisions, but I also think God will work it out. And I think that He did. He knew my heart. He knew I was frustrated and saddened because I hadn’t been pitching, and giving me those two innings in the National League Championship game was just an amazing way of encouraging me. People were saying to me after the game, “You saved us.” Even my teammates were saying that. Cody Ross said something like, “There was a new MVP every game. I got the MVP award today, but Uribe and Affeldt were the MVPs of this game.”
The encouragement I got from people was just astounding. I realized that even though I wanted to pitch more than I did, it was the prayers that I was giving my teammates, and how I was feeling around them, that let me serve God. And then when I did get to pitch, the way God elevated one of His servants was just amazing. It was just truly inspiring. It taught me to always remember what I need to be doing: serving, listening, and praying.
See you Friday. I have some great things to say about my teammates.