There’s been an uptick in prayer in the media. Just a few weeks ago, the world watched the terrifying moment when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suddenly collapsed on the field. The 24-year-old suffered a cardiac event right there in the middle of the game. You know the story and have seen the footage by now. Players, coaches, and staff on both teams united in tears to kneel and pray for the young player. ESPN analyst Dan Orlovsky even prayed live on air, leading as the other analysts bowed their heads.
The remarkable response and acceptance of it was a spirit of unity that we haven’t seen since 9/11. It’s a shame that it takes a tragedy, but folks turn to faith or “religion” when they are scared, helpless, and hopeless. It’s also a stark contrast to an incident last summer when Coach Joe Kennedy was fired from his job as a high school football coach for praying quietly on the side of the field after games.
In both circumstances, biblical manhood made an appearance.
Men were willing to stand in the gap and pray but with vastly different responses. During good times, the coach got fired. In tragedy, people recognize their need for God, even a God they may not know or understand.
It brings to mind something I’ve heard John Stonestreet mention numerous times: we must develop a theology of being fired. “The time is coming when we may be forced to choose between our faith and our jobs,” he proposes. “Are you prepared to choose between your career and your convictions?”
Orlovsky could have been “canceled” for this move, and many others have been. He probably knew that, but he stepped up for such a time as this, demonstrating true manhood by rejecting passivity.
What about us? How many times has the Holy Spirit urged us to do something, and we didn’t respond?
Have we stopped because we were embarrassed or afraid of the consequences? What does it look like to reject passivity in our lives today?
Billy Graham is credited for saying, “Courage is contagious. When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”
Did you notice that as Dan prayed, he was actually leading with courage? The other analysts bowed their heads in agreement. When have you had an opportunity to lead with courage in this way? Did you step up or sit still?
One more thing – as much as tuning in with social media would steer us in this direction, this is not a political issue. I’ve seen posts about how Tim Tebow was treated differently for praying vs. how Dan Orlovsky was treated. I get it, and that’s an issue. But the point here is prayer, not politics. I’m afraid it’s too easy for us to focus on whether folks should be able to pray in public when we don’t do enough praying in private.
In other words, is your political position more important than your prayer life?
After all, you don’t know when it will be your time to step up – or kneel down – to lead others in prayer.
Tip: At a previous Noble Man Conference, Pastor Don Coleman shared some memorable tips on bolstering your prayer life:
- Prayer is the key to ministry in all forms.
- A robust prayer life stems from receiving the word of God with eagerness and examining the scriptures daily. (Acts 17:11-12) “One of the best ways to build your prayer life is to build your Bible knowledge.”
- Prayer needs to be part of our daily rhythm.
- Prayer takes work, but the payoff is greater.
- For those who sometimes struggle with prayer, ask the Lord to teach us to pray just as the disciples asked Jesus.
- Make prayer a lifestyle. “Prayer is not just for when you’re at church!”
“Prayer is critical because you are putting yourself in an awareness that you’re in the presence of God. When are you in the presence of God? Always!”