Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Faith on the Frontstretch: Are you ready for your next pit stop?

Ray Wright, rear tire carrier for Richard Childress Racing
Credit: Beth Bence Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs
“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b

Pitting a car for four tires and fuel in less than 13 seconds doesn’t just happen by chance. It takes a lot of preparation - speed drills, repeating pit stop movements over and over and pushing muscles to the limit. But there are times when over-the-wall guys just don’t feel like practicing, especially around this time of year when the temperature starts to climb.

“The last thing anybody wanted to do this week was practice,” said Ray Wright, who doubles as rear tire carrier and strength and conditioning coach for the No. 27 Sprint Cup team of Paul Menard. “Then we had to train outside to get used to the weather for the summer.”

But Wright and his team pushed aside their wants and trained anyway. They’re professionals and they know the only way to meet their goals for pit stops is to be prepared. Is it hard? You bet. The discipline and training pit road athletes undertake is tough, both mentally and physically. But the repetition brings a familiarity with the motions they must perform to make pit stops smooth and swift.

Is there anything in your life you don’t feel like doing? Reading the Bible and praying might fit into that category of stuff we know we ought to try, but we don’t feel like it. Just like the pit crew guys didn’t really want to practice.

Wright on pit road at Dover.
Credit: Beth Bence Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs
“It’s just like with your prayer life – you’d rather sit down and watch TV when you get home,” Wright said.

He’s a man of strong faith, yet like so many of us, he fights a battle with himself. “Manning up is getting down on your knees and having a prayer time.” Whether you feel like it or not.

Before the race, Wright and his team practiced all week. “None of us wanted to do that,” he said. “But now we feel the heat is not gonna bother us today. We can do however many pit stops we need to do because we prepared.”

The movements Wright and his colleagues practice over and over become a part of them. Training in the heat equips them for times when it’s hot as blazes under their helmets.

In a similar way, reading the Bible and praying are good ways to prepare for situations we encounter in life.

“Bible study and prayer play a huge part in my life,” Wright said. “It’s a fight for me to get there, but when I get there it’s such a relief – the peace and presence of the Holy Spirit just fills you up and you feel so good about it.”

Like Wright, you can learn who God is and what He says about how to live. How? By reading His book and talking with Him.

There’s a little-known secret about praying and getting into the Bible. The more you do it, the more you want to do it. Scripture gets into you, it becomes part of you and equips you to do your “pit stops” in life. Prayer gives you strength and an infusion of God’s love so you can pour it back out to other people.

Just like over-the-wall guys are ready to do their tasks with precision and ease, you can be ready to love people and tackle whatever else life throws your way. But you gotta practice to be prepared. And for people of faith, that means reading the Bible and being “prayed up.”

So ... are you ready for your next pit stop?

Pray continually. ~ 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Follow Ray Wright on twitter at @ray_whosoever27 and check out his blog at www.raywhosoever.com
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Want more racing devotions? When you donate $25 to Skirts and Scuffs, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of Beth’s book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a month-long, pocket-sized devotional book for female racing fans.

“Faith on the Frontstretch” appears every 1st & 3rd Wednesday and explores the role of faith in motorsports. Comments or twitter follows welcome: @bbreinke. See you on the Frontstretch!

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