The Prayer walk
I’ll always remember the prayer walk that Josh Mawhorr and I took before the night before our first national tournament game.
It had been a frustrating season for me as I had high hopes of playing a big role on the team after putting in hundreds of hours of work in the off-season. I knew it was going to be a breakout season for me, and I played well to start the year, but my minutes went down as the season went along. The ten games leading in to the tourney were some of the most frustrating of my career, as I had not played more than 3 minutes in a game. I had many sleepless nights wondering if my hard work off the floor was ever going to pay off on it. Still, as much as I wanted to complain, I had a lot of faith in my coaches, and I knew God was asking me to trust what He was doing.
I had decided to pour all my energy into practice. Coach Clark showed me on film how I could work on my perimeter defense, and I spent a lot of time before and after practice getting better and staying ready. If other guys were going to play more minutes than I was, I knew I had to do everything in my power to get them ready. Despite my good intentions, it was challenging to not know what to expect heading in to Branson, and I had no idea if I would get any meaningful minutes.
Josh has been my brother and best friend on the team since he came to IWU two years ago. The night before we played Bellevue, we walked around our hotel and prayed for each other and our teammates. He prayed that I would be able to pour my energy into the game without worrying about playing time. He prayed that whether or not I played, I would glorify God in all I did. It was a meaningful time of battling in prayer with a teammate that I battled with on the floor every day in practice.
Coach called my name midway through the first half against Bellevue, and I remember Josh’s prayer going through my head as I was waiting to enter the game, ‘God, help me not worry about myself but to play to glorify you.’ On my first possession, I snagged the offensive rebound and put it in the basket. I remember the great feeling that came knowing I was helping the team and my hard work was paying off. By the time the game ended, I had filled up the stat sheet with 20 points on 8-11 shooting to go along with three offensive rebounds and a block. The best part was, I was not concerned about myself but had been playing with a focus on our team and for God. This allowed me to play with a great sense of freedom.
As I led our squad in the Lord’s prayer in the locker room after the game, I couldn’t help but hear the words of Josh’s prayer in my head again, and I was grateful to be a part of a team that sought to give glory to God in everything.