“Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” — Proverbs 19:21
I used to pray for a win. When I was an early Christ-follower, just starting off my NFL career, I would pray to God for certain results in a game. In a way, I guess I believed that if I lived a holistic, blameless life, God would bless me on the field and I’d play well. Looking back, I realize that this is a completely selfish perspective to think that one individual’s actions during a particular week would determine his team’s scoreboard. Now that my faith in God and knowledge of Him has progressed, my prayer has changed.
Yes, I still pray before each game, but my prayer isn’t the same at is was when I first began my career. Today’s prayer is one for guidance; it’s a prayer requesting that at the end of the day — win, lose or draw — that God would get all the credit.
It’s not an easy prayer to say. The easier prayer is to ask for a win, especially when you’re entering the playoffs. It’s hard to be happy when we end a game with a loss. I am disappointed, I don’t often feel like talking to other people or smiling. And if the loss was a direct result of something I did, or failed to do, it’s even worse. But my prayer is that God would truly be glorified through my play, no matter what that may look like. I hope that my competitors and teammates alike would see Christ in me, in the way I conduct myself. Pregame, during competition and postgame, my position is to bring Him glory.
In the beginning of most people’s faith journey, we often try to use God as a lucky charm. I’m one of the biggest offenders of this. But that’s not God’s role. Confining Him in our mind as a sort of rabbit’s foot sells us short of experiencing His true power and glory in our lives.
I do believe God cares about the wins and losses of each one of our games. He is in control of it all, but not in the way our minds consider it. He has a greater plan weighed on a scale much larger than we can even comprehend.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” — Psalm 27:14
—Trey Burton, Philadelphia Eagles tight end