-1 Thessalonians 5:17 (HCSB)
When I was playing professional lacrosse, I was the only Christian on my team (as far as I knew). I was outspoken about my faith during my four years of playing, and I never had another player share with me about their faith in Jesus. I felt God had placed me on the team to be a light. As the token Christian player, my teammates selected me to do the team prayer. Usually, if it was a big game, I would have a player say something like, "Pray a GOOD one Dan. This is a huge game!" The mentality was that a "good" prayer would lead us to victory; a "bad" prayer would lead to defeat.
For good luck, some people believe in carrying a good luck charm, like a rabbit's foot. In the same way, some people think of prayer as their rabbit's foot. Many athletes and coaches believe a quick prayer before a game brings a favorable outcome. But prayer is not a good luck charm. It's so much more than that--it's a battle.
In Ephesians 6:18-20, Paul uses the word prayer four times after describing the armor of God. Once we have God's equipment, Paul urges us to pray! Not a short, rabbit's-foot type of prayer--a "Let's pray real quick before we compete real long" type of prayer. Instead, Paul challenges us to pray without ceasing. Oswald Chambers says, "Prayer is not an exercise, it is the life." Constant, ongoing, continual, pervasive prayer is tough work. Prayer is digging below the surface, and allowing God to reveal His character to us.
Let me be clear, I believe in prayer before competition. Just make sure your heart is right. Don't just ask God for His hand of blessing, ask God to reveal Himself to you. Pray that you will know Him better after you compete. Pray that He would shine His light through you on the field. Pray that you will feel His pleasure in you as you play. Pray for protection and safety for everyone. Ask God to show you what it means to win His way.
Let us pray. . .
1. Is it hard for you to pray before competition? Is it easy? What types of prayer do you pray?
2. Have you ever viewed prayer like a rabbit's foot? When?
3. How can you develop powerful, intense, purposeful prayer?
4. Should your prayers be focused on victory or on glorifying God? How are they different?
5. Give specific ways you can honor the Lord with pre-game prayer.
"Lord Jesus, I know that I have treated prayer like my own rabbit's foot. Please forgive me. I do not want to make You, the God of the Universe, a good luck charm. Teach me how to pray without impure motives. Show me how to pray constantly, not just when my head is bowed. May my prayers be sweet to Your ears. Help me to go deeper, Lord, when I seek Your face in prayer. Hear my prayer, hear my shout. In Jesus' name I pray now. Amen."