No doubt Satan probably got a kick out of the headlines in the newspaper in Portales last week. “Prayer ruling upheld” relating to a ban on coach led prayer in City League sports.
Hopefully the devil read a little further into the story and saw that maybe he hadn’t exactly won this one after all. A large crowd turned out in support of prayer at the last council meeting even though they knew it was an uphill fight based on other similar cases. From all reports the crowd modeled Christianity well for the community and no one has blown up any mosques or killed any diplomats over this incident. It also looks like parents, rightfully so, may step up to take charge of the prayers in the future.
I had first intended to go to the council meeting but knew it would be crowded and I feared that all might not remain peaceful and I didn’t want to be a part of that in a discussion about prayer.
I do not think that corporate prayer is a bad idea. I like it when a city council starts with a prayer, I like that my Rotary Club meeting starts with a prayer even if it is frowned on by the international organization. I think corporate prayer is good in church and in a family setting and I think it is good even for sports teams.
Last year a quarterback in the NFL named Tim Tebow created a stir by obviously praying after touchdowns. I remember chuckling when I saw the television cameras trained on Christian athletes from both teams praying together after games. That had been going on since I was in high school. Suddenly it was news.
I don’t remember in my days as a City League baseball coach leading a corporate team prayer even when I coached with my church’s youth leader. I can tell you I said silent prayers for those kids all the time though. Sometimes to keep them safe, sometimes to protect them when they were injured and sometimes that things would just go right for a kid who was struggling and that he would get encouragement from the game.
I believe the Bible tells us to submit to the laws of the land even when those laws are not very palatable to us. As much as I hate it this may be one of those times.
I don’t think it should discourage us as Christians though. It would be easy to let things slide and drop the prayer altogether. Instead, parents should embrace the kids after the game and one of them should step forward to lead a prayer of thanks. Thanks for the kids’ safety, thanks for the opportunity to play organized sports, thanks for a country where we don’t have to go inside and draw the shades down tight to pray together.
Coaches left without a corporate prayer to lead before games should, not unlike Jesus, think about stepping to the sidelines and praying alone for the wisdom to lead his team in sportsmanship and honor.
Karl Terry is a former publisher for the Quay County Sun. Contact him at: