I did something weird during my son’s soccer games this weekend. They were state cup games–important games, at least as far as such things go for 8-year-old soccer players. I watched him lining up on the far side of the field, his blond hair spiked so he’d look fierce, but his pacing and tugging on his blue-and-white uniform betraying his nerves. And I did something I’d never done before during a game: I prayed for him.
Not that he would win. I’m always a little uncomfortable with praying for sports victories, as much as I appreciate when athletes give credit to God afterward. I prayed instead that he would be calm and filled with God’s peace and confidence and know that we loved him no matter how he fared in this or any game. I kept praying that for him during that game and the next and when he looked over at me from the field, instead of responding with a “Let’s go!”, I found myself beaming at him, feeling very calm and peaceful myself.
At first he looked a bit surprised and then he smiled back a tiny bit. And I’m a subjective observer, but I also thought I saw him relax his shoulders from their death clench somewhere up around his neck and start to look like he might actually be enjoying himself.
It’s good for both of us to remember that that is the entire point of youth sports. At least to me.
It’s funny how I have never before thought to pray for him during these particular circumstances. It’s not like I don’t pray for him all the time; it’s just that my prayers tend to center more around keeping him healthy and strong, asking that he be kind and remember his blessings and serve others and grow up to be a faithful man who will make God proud. I have lots of prayers for my sons, but not many of them are focused on sports.
Actually, I often find myself feeling reluctant to bother God with certain things, falling prey to the fallacy that there are aspects of my life and the lives of my sons that don’t matter all too much to God. Such as soccer.
Yet God makes it crystal clear that we are to come before him about everything. There are so many verses on this subject, but here’s the one that seems the most relevant to me now. Philippians 4:6: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayers and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be known to God.”
My job is to ask, to come before God. I believe too that God teaches us in the asking, that when we make requests that are out of line with God’s will, we learn from that too. And that prayer changes us, something that happened even this weekend when praying reminded me of why I was there on the sideline and what was important in the game and in life.
So here I am reminding myself again (and perhaps you too) to continue to come before God with everything.
Next weekend is the state cup semifinals and finals. I know what I’ll be doing on the sidelines.
When have you found yourself praying at a time or place that seemed a little strange?
The 1 Corinthians 13 Parent Series: Raising Little Kids with Big Love and Raising Big Kids with Supernatural Love and their companion Study Guides, are formally launched this month. We are sharing the LOVE with over $400.00 worth of give-aways: books, jewelry, and one-on-one parent coaching with either Lori Wildenberg or Becky Danielson, both licensed parent and family educators. To be eligible for the gifts, comment on one or more of the 1C13P blog posts during the month of February. Winners will be randomly drawn each Friday and notified via email.