Extreme sports are the reproducing rabbits of our day as new thrills are incessantly sought, while onlookers like myself are captivated by what they are able to do with their bodies, risking their lives for new personal bests. If you're like me and need a working definition of an extreme sport, might I direct your attention to the following:
"[An extreme sport is] a competitive (comparison or self-evaluative) activity within which the participant is subjected to natural or unusual physical and mental challenges such as speed, height, depth or natural forces and where fast and accurate cognitive perceptual processing may be required for a successful outcome" -Dr. Rhonda Cohen, emphasis mine
So, you can see that there is something about the circumstances that make their participation in the sports challenging (i.e. terrain, weather, etc.) that requires something just as radical from the athlete in both physique and mental acumen. And failure is not merely shame or a disappointed onlooker, it can be fatal.
Why is it that we continue to use the word "just" in front of prayer? Or how often do we hear, 'Well, I guess all I can do is pray" which only serves to reiterate both the hearer's and our belief that prayer is Small, Least, and Weak. Have we not instruction from the very Word of God that "the prayer of a righteous person has GREAT POWER as it is working" (James 5:16)? Perhaps we prefer to remain insensitive to the spiritual realm around us, and the fear of what happens if we become a people of prayer overtakes our desire to practice it. Do we believe our God is slow or cruel or shallow? For if this is what is dictating our prayerlessness, we need an overhaul of the mind and heart. Beloved, I say this truth with as much love as I can muster: Stop making your God less than for He is FAR GREATER THAN. I know you're scared or sad or hurt or freaking out or anxious or mad or in those straits called Dire, but don't let your own lack of understanding and perspective distort your view of the Unchanging One.
It's time to recognize prayer for the extreme sport it is. Hectic chaos can come at you fast, do you have the spiritual agility to sprint to your Lord with your reaction so He can give you a response? Maybe there's a huge chasm that is standing between you and something He is asking you to do, do you have the guts to leap in faith (after all, with your God you can leap over a wall! 2 Samuel 22:30) and daily trust Him to increase your dependence on Him? Is He asking you to trust Him to go deeper in a relationship that you might be absolutely TERRIFIED of because of the sacrifices you know it will mean? Good thing you can pray! Good thing you have access to the One who holds your whole world in His hands! He ENABLES you to do spiritually what You did not think possible as His purposes are accomplished in your life. He can show you how to pray more specifically, more authentically, more OFTEN, and more MINDFUL of the fact that your life is NOT about you but about Him and His exceptional ability to perfectly perform flips of your circumstances or even of your heart.
May He increase the speed and dexterity of your walk with Him--yes, go deeper and higher with Him--that you might even become one known for a prayer life that resembles that of our Savior, who yes, is praying for YOU even now (Hebrews 7:25). And know that your life is safe with Him, that He will be with you as you take what may feel to you like risky and dangerous moves. And remember that trusting Him is not the scariest thing to do, it's the SAFEST.