UNPACK this... For March Madness Fans

Day 1 of 5 • This day’s reading


Persistent Prayer and Following Your Shot  

Duke’s freshman, Marvin Bagley III, entered the 2017-2018 season as one of the most hyped players in the country. Averaging 20.7 points per game and 11.9 rebounds, he finished as the ACC Player of the Year and the ACC Rookie of the Year.

While Bagley was injured, some people wondered if Duke was better without him since they won all four games he missed. That question was put to rest, however, when Bagley showed his dominance during a rivalry game between Duke and UNC.

Once Bagley took over in the second half to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit, Duke went on to win 74-64, and Bagley finished with 21 points and 15 rebounds.

A play involving Grayson Allen missing a three and Bagley fighting for the rebound stood out the most. When Bagley secured the ball he took it to the hoop. When his shot bounced off,  he followed it, got the ball back and went for it again with a dunk.

Following your shot is one of the key fundamentals in basketball, yet many players run back on defense after a missed bucket. They aren’t persistent enough to remain in the paint and go up again.

How does our approach to prayer compare to this? When we communicate with God and seek answers from Him, do we remain persistent and “follow our shot” with continuous prayer…or do we quickly give up when our prayer isn’t answered right away?

Colossians 4:2 (AMP) encourages us to “Be persistent and devoted to prayer, being alert and focused in your prayer life with an attitude of thanksgiving.”

Prayer is meant to be on-going as we remain “in the paint” with the Lord, and keep pursuing Him until He reveals His answer. We show our trust in Him by continuing to pray and staying alert and focused on Him until the “ball goes in.”

Romans 12:12 (AMP) tells us to be “…constantly rejoicing in hope [because of our confidence in Christ], steadfast and patient in distress, devoted to prayer [continually seeking wisdom, guidance, and strength].”

Today as we think about players following their shot and staying after it, let’s make sure our strategy is to unceasingly seek God’s direction and never stop praying. I’m Bryce Johnson and you can unpack that!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, help me understand the power that comes from continuously communicating with You and remaining in Your will. Help me be persistent in prayer, constantly seeking You, and trusting You as I wait for Your answers. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

 *For more devotionals about sports and faith visit unpackinit.com.