Being committed to prayer is something many of us find challenging. Maybe you find yourself busy with work, family, sport and a hundred and one other commitments. Perhaps you quickly lose heart, doubting whether prayer actually works, or struggling to know what to pray for at all. Whatever the reason, a consistent devotion to prayer is lacking in many of our lives.
At the same time, we know that prayer is important. It is an essential feature of the Christian life and it is something we quickly turn to in times of trouble or when in need of guidance. So why do we often struggle to pray consistently? The answer: because we have lost sight of the God to whom we pray. When we truly grasp who He is and the privilege it is to be able to speak to Him, prayer becomes not just more natural, but our top priority.
The Lord’s Prayer, given by Jesus to His disciples as a model for them to use, is crucial to understanding how we can relate to God in prayer ourselves. It starts with “Our Father” (Matthew 6:9, NIV). God is our father, we are His children. The relationship each Christian has with God is as intimate as that between a parent and child.
Given the intimacy of our relationship with God, we can bring anything and everything on our mind to Him. He loves to hear from us; He is interested in the details of our daily lives, including our sport and our friends. Understanding how much God wants to hear from us should both excite and motivate us to spend more time with Him in prayer.
Yet, He is not just an intimate God. In the very next line, God is described as ‘“in heaven”. He is far more than just a father, He is the mighty God of heaven too. He made the universe and rules over it to this day. This means that not only does He want to hear our prayers as a father, He is also powerful enough to answer them. He is the omnipotent creator God who “is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine” (Ephesians 3:20, NIV). If prayer is an open door to the all-powerful God, who is totally good and loves us as dear children of His own, how can we NOT want to spend time each day with Him in prayer?
The question still remains, however, of what should we pray for? In 1 Timothy, the apostle Paul urges his readers to pray “for all people” (1 Timothy 2:1, NIV). This means anyone and everyone. So this also includes those we know in the world of sport - friends, teammates, coaches, opponents. We should be giving thanks for them, praying for their physical well-being, and praying into situations in their lives.
But not only that. Most importantly, we should pray for their salvation. We know this as Paul goes on to say that God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4, NIV). Accordingly, we should be praying prayers to that effect for those we know in sport. We should ask God for opportunities to share the gospel with our sports friends, and ultimately that they will come to know Christ for themselves.
God wants us to pray for people from every aspect of our lives and so for the sports person that must include those we know in sport. Will you take up the challenge of regularly praying for your teammates, coaches, opponents and other sporting connections? And will you pray with the confidence that God hears your prayers and will answer them if He so chooses?
Why not join us and commit to praying for three people you know in the world of sport each day? As you do so, be bold, remembering that you are communicating with God, who is intimate enough to care about and powerful enough to act on all that you ask.
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A weekly devotional for sports people