Praying for field goals

29 04 2010

In 1993 Florida State was playing in the Orange Bowl with a chance to win a national championship. They were playing an excellent Nebraska team and it was tighter than lyrca pants on Randy Jackson. The ‘Noles found themselves down by a single point with just seconds to play. Scott Bentley lined up for a chip shot field goal and this is what happened. 

Crazy huh? What they didn’t show in that clip was all the people on the sidelines or in the stands fervently praying before each kick. During the first kick, the Seminole nation was praying for the kick to be true while the ‘Huskers were praying “wide right.” For the last kick the ‘Huskers were now praying for a perfect kick while the ‘Noles were praying for a miracle.

So was God active in those moments? Were the Seminole faithful more holy than the ‘Huskers? Does God like Bobby Bowden more than He like Tom Osbourne? In short, “Yes,” “No,” and “No.”

Thanks for reading 🙂

Seriously, how are we supposed to pray? I have been through much more serious situations than this football game where I knew people were praying contradictory things. One group praying to restore the pastor they loved while another prayed for his removal. One family praying for the conviction of the accused while another family prayed for his acquittal. One man praying for a marriage to be saved while the participants prayed for it to be over quickly. So, what gives?

Is there something to be learned in this? I think so. It is simply this.

God’s will trumps our desire, but it is God’s desire that we present our desires to Him.

In the Garden of Gethsemane Jesus was making his desire known to God the father while at the same time He yielded himself to the will of God. (check these out)

My encouragementtoday is for ut to consider, when we are praying, that the world does not stop and start with us. Sure, ask God to help your kicker make the kick, or your third baseman to crush the grand slam. At the same time, ask God to prepare you to represent His glory regardless of the outcome.

I find it funny that athletes are quick to genuflect after a touchdown, but not as “religious” after a big drop. Does God only deserve our praise when we succeed? I think not.

The truth is that sometimes things will go in our favor. Sometimes things will not. The ‘Noles made the kick that day, but ask any ‘Nole fan to tell you about kickers and FSU and the tale will be melancholy at best. Sometimes God provides a miracle, sometimes He does not. But in all those situations God is the same.

Our opportunity is to shine the light and truth of God and his goodness into a world that feels hopeless and lost. They don’t need a “Santa Claus” god that just exists to make them happy because they are smart enough to know that sometimes happiness comes at the expense of another’s happiness.

What they want, and truly need is the true God.
The God that is holy and trustworthy.
The God that loves them and does what is right, not just what people prefer.
The God who isn’t desperately chasing the prayers of His people trying to make them all love Him; but instead remains true to His will and does the righteous thing.

When we pray, it should be a little less “God give me my comfort or happiness;” and a little more…

“God I trust you implicitly and I would love to have your help here, but more importantly God help me to trust you with your answer. God, I believe with my entire soul that you can (remove that tumour, bring that wayward child home, meet my financial need, get me a job, get my husband to stop drinking, get my wife to stop seeing that other guy, etc). I also know that you didn’t spare Paul from loneliness and heartache nor Jesus from the cross so and I am no better than them, so give me the capacity to trust you. If you grant me this desire also grant me the humility to point others to you and if you don’t, Lord grant me the faith to point others to you then too. I know you give good gifts, and I know you want me to ask you, but I also know that I am limited while you are not, so I trust you God. Not my will but yours be done to the Glory of the father, amen.”