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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Exhale (08/15/13)

TITLE: Before It's Too Late
By Melissa Lindsey


A stunned silence overtook the dugout. Our starting pitcher lay sprawled across the mound, hit in the head by a line drive. Seconds ticked by. I shook my head fiercely from side to side clearing the racing thoughts from my brain. Running across the field, I began praying. Please God, let him be okay. I know that you have been speaking to me about Manning. I'm so sorry that I hesitated. Please give me another chance. Don't let it be too late!

Ryan Manning lay face down in darkness. In semi-consciousness he thought, "Where am I? What is happening?" His ears were ringing and pain radiated through his skull. Worse still was the blinding darkness, the inability to see even one ounce of light. Finally, after what seemed like decades, he heard a voice. "Coach!", thought Ryan. He distinctly heard Coach's voice.

Coach led a life so different than Ryan's. He was a good man. A family man. He went to church and lived a clean life. Once, after a long practice, Ryan had gone by his office thinking that he might ask Coach about his faith. Ryan had so many questions about God, but he didn't know where to turn. As he approached Coach's office door he overheard Coach praying aloud. It was an experience that Ryan would never forget. Holding his breath, heart pounding, he had stood undetected outside the door and listened to Coach pray for the team and for the influence that God expected him to be in each of the players lives. Ryan's hands felt clammy and perspiration broke out across his forehead. Recently, this had been the normal response of his body anytime that he thought about "God stuff". Ryan knew that he needed to make some changes in his life, but at twenty five years old he wasn't ready. He was living a life that most people only dreamed of. He had more money than he ever imagined possible and there were parties almost every night which he attended with a beautiful girl on each arm. Ryan was amazed at his recent success and popularity, but more amazing to him were the next words of Coach's prayer. Coach's voice broke as he prayed specifically for Ryan, telling God that he was burdened for Ryan's soul and praying that he would give his life over to God before it was too late. Ryan almost cried aloud. Silently, he exhaled and crept down the hall, back to the locker room, away from the conflicting thoughts in his head.

Now, lying on the ground, Ryan struggled to remain conscious. He needed desperately to talk to Coach, but he was fading. "Manning! Manning", Coach's voice called. Ryan felt himself slipping deeper into the darkness. "Help me!", Ryan wanted to scream. "Coach! Help me!"

Darkness overcame him.

Ryan awakened to beeping sounds. The room was dark, but it was not the murky, disturbing darkness from before. His eyes slowly adjusted to the light and his mind registered to the fact that he was in a hospital. He scanned the room and saw the man that he most wanted to see at that moment. Coach was sitting in a chair beside his bed with his head in his hands. He was quietly praying. This time, with no hesitation, Ryan would ask the questions.

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This article has been read 178 times
Member Comments
Member Date
C D Swanson 08/22/13
Wow --beautifully written and beautifully portrayed in all context. I loved this. It delivered an important message in a subtle yet powerful way.

Great job! Congrats.

God bless~
Jan Ackerson 08/22/13
Wonderful cautionary tale for your readers--we shouldn't hesitate, especially when prompted.

When you started out in 1st person, from the coach's POV, it was a bit jarring to then be put in the player's POV and 3rd person. It might help the reader if you'd separated that first paragraph by three asterisks. Alternately, you could write the whole thing from the player's POV. And I'd also suggest that you break up the longer paragraph into a few shorter ones.

Minor cosmetic changes that don't affect your story greatly, or your important message. Thanks for writing this!