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Guideposts :: What Prayer Can Do



I’m not sure how the March 2010 issue of Guideposts ended up on my coffee table, but here it is, staring at me in the face. If something is fortuitous enough to make it into my home, especially reading material, I usually peruse it from front to back cover,


Rarely do magazines live beyond the first perusal, and this Guideposts is definitely going out with the recyclables.

That said, as a sixth grader, I remember going through great effort to preserve the mint condition of a particular issue of Guideposts,

the one in which Orel Hershiser graced the cover, back when he played for the LA Dodgers and helped his team clench the World Series.

God, faith, prayer, and love comprised a large part of Orel’s success. He gave the Christian readers of Guideposts a glimpse into the spirituality that, so he believed, was responsible for everything he had gotten out of life.

I didn’t preserve the issue because of the article, but because of the picture of him on the front cover – better than any baseball card. He stood in his MLB uniform, looking like king of the mound.

The March 2010 issue of Guideposts, on the other hand, has a picture of some talking head on the front cover I’ve never heard speak, not a talented baseball player, i.e. Orel Hershiser.

He was one of two pitchers [Nolan Ryan being the other] who taught me, not with their words, but with their pitching form. I could learn so much just by watching them throw sinkers on TV. That’s all it took.

Then I’d go outside with my glove and tennis ball and make nuanced adjustments to my own form as I pitched into an imaginary batter’s box on the side of the house.

The March 2010 issue of Guideposts will not be preserved. In fact, it’s already creased everywhere, rubbish ready for the heap pile.

But before I throw it away for all of time, I want to say something about the one-page article on page 86. In the TOC, it’s listed under the subheading, Your Favorites:


This particular instance of what prayer can do is called “Revved Up” by Kelly C Baker out of New Enterprise, Pennsylvania. Kelly and her husband, Chris, like to live on the edge.

For their latest adventure, they go out and buy a Harley Davidson. Neither of them have a motorcycle license, so they take the class together.

Kelly has trouble in the class. She’s nervous about handling a crotch rocket. I’d even say she gets anxious when it’s her turn to weave her way inside and out the orange cones, performing figure eights:

When it was my turn, I climbed on the Harley and wobbled every which way, my knees out to the sides. My arms felt like spaghetti. I barely made it through the course.
‘You’ll do better next week,’ said Chris.
‘Definitely!’ I replied, though the thought of trying again made me feel sick.

Clearly, Kelly doesn’t get good vibes when it comes to riding on a motorcycle. She isn’t comfortable on the chopper. And, if you ask me, she should listen to her discomfort and quit the class and refuse to ride the crotch rocket with her husband, who can be all adventurous on his own, if being adventurous means riding on a motorcycle.

But that would make Kelly a quitter. Guideposts doesn’t like quitters.

The article wouldn’t be included in Guideposts if prayer doesn’t come into play and save Kelly from being a quitter. Sure enough, two paragraphs later, Kelly writes:

Maybe a little prayer won’t hurt, I thought. Before my turn, I got on the bike and shut my eyes tight. God, please help me control this bike – and my fear! I prayed.

She passes the final exam. She gets her license. End of story. Now she can live on the edge with Chris, on their hog, if they haven’t already gotten into a small accident, or worse.


If Kelly and Chris only knew the people I know. People who almost lost their lives in preventable motorcycle accidents. I say preventable because these people could’ve opted not to buy a motorcycle in the first place. In other words, they could’ve been intelligent for once.

A reckless car clips your tire, that’s all it takes, and you skid on the asphalt, break your clavicle, gush blood, lose a chunk of your thigh muscle as your leg grinds into the street under the weight of another vehicle, and the motorcycle you voluntarily purchased.

I know two completely different people, with varying skills when it comes to riding motorcycles, and both regret the adrenaline junkie inside of them, but only after they are released from the hospital, lucky as hell to still be alive.

Not to go from bad to worse, but I also witnessed a motorcycle crash while driving on an urban street in Miami. It happened at an intersection. Someone ran the red light, and the motorcycle cowboy went flying through the air. The ambulance was at the scene. But it was already a lost cause. With his helmet off, rolling next to him on the asphalt, surrounded by paramedics, the rider’s head went limp: another statistic.

I also know an average couple, husband and wife, who used to get a big kick out of getting suited up in their leather jackets and riding their hog to Key West on beautiful Sundays.

However, one beautiful Sunday the husband lost control of the crotch rocket and careened dangerously against a median. Both hit the road, nearly breaking their necks. His wife lost her yellow diamond ring.

Truth be told, they were lucky to walk out of the hospital with bruises, minor blood loss, and sprained muscles. But that was enough to prompt them to do the smart thing and junk the motorcycle that nearly killed them rather than repair it.

For Kelly to use the power of prayer to pass an exam that will only put her at greater risk of getting injured, or worse, and then to give prayer all the credit after passing the exam, is, to say the least, not a good example, almost as if she were praying for her own hurt.

To be more blunt [and transitive], if an injury does occur because of passing this motorcycle exam, Kelly will blame God, since He helped her control the hog and her fear on exam day, something He couldn’t do on the road, where much larger vehicles abound, and everything is unpredictable.

My only hope is that Guideposts subscribers are able to see the logic behind this one-page write-up in the same light, and perhaps pray for Kelly and Chris: that they may stay intact, or that someone may steal their hog before they decide to ride down to Key West on a beautiful Sunday.

March 9, 2010 4:46 pm

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