Four-time British Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton, who is poised to become that country's richest sports star when he signs a nearly $160 million contract extension with Mercedes, says his Christian faith particularly prayer is now playing a more central role in his life.
Hamilton, 33, revealed in a Formula 1 podcast that he believes when it comes to prayer, people have to make time because it can result in powerful transformations.
"You have to make time for things and every morning I have breakfast and before I eat, I pray. Every time I eat, actually, I pray. So, whether it's a couple of seconds, a minute or whatever you are praying for, take that moment. Everyone is talking, and I say, 'Sorry, one second' and you just make the time," he said.
"One Sunday, for example, I couldn't wait because I'm going to church. Wake up, get to church and then I have meetings afterwards. I go with a couple of my close friends, we meet, we go for breakfast and then we go to church together. We leave most often feeling enlightened and empowered, it's like a re-centering. Sometimes you leave, and you are like 'I didn't get that today,' but most of the time you leave and you are like 'Wow, I know where I am going,'" he explained.
Though vocal about his faith now, Hamilton, who is Catholic, revealed in an interview with tennis star Serena Williams for Interview Magazine last summer that he used to be insecure about making his faith public.
He got over that insecurity when he got to Formula One, the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile.
"I used to be insecure about the fact that I'm Catholic and that I have a relationship with God. It wasn't until I got to Formula One that I really started to embrace it and feel comfortable showing it," he told Williams.
"There's a quote from Marianne Williamson: 'There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you.' I have that tattooed on my chest. She goes on to say, 'We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.'"
In his Formula 1 interview, Hamilton explained that the sense of empowerment he gets from his faith inspires him to live a fuller life.
"Whenever my time is up, I like to imagine the Pearly Gates and I'd be like 'I didn't get through everything I wanted to do but I gave it a good shot and got through most ...' So I'm trying to learn things, challenging myself," he said.
"For example, I did my diving test because I love the ocean and I am fascinated by sea life. As a kid, because I'm dyslexic I struggled at school, so I like challenging my mind, learning new things, surpassing certain tests ... I love doing risky stuff even if there is a bit of pain sometimes in it. I just love that thrill factor, so that is never going to change, whether you are bungee jumping, sky diving, doing these great things which I know not everyone gets to do," he said.