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"Lord, I don't ask that I should win, but please, please don't let me finish behind Akabusi."

Innocent Egbunike's prayer at the 1988 Olympics


Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. ( Mark 1:35)

Chapter one of the gospel shows Jesus getting up while it was dark and going to “a solitary place where he prayed.” World boxing champion, Muhammed Ali, used to say: “The fight is won or lost far away from the witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym and out on the road, long before I dance under those lights”. Similarly, we need to be people of prayer, praying for God’s will to be done in the world of sport - even if it means getting up early!

As sportspeople we are often activists rather than contemplative types. We find it easier to be doing than sitting praying. Yet as sportspeople we understand the discipline of training and practice. Regular, committed prayer needs discipline too.

Many athletes keep a training log. Why not keep a prayer journal.

St. Francis de Sales (1567 - 1622) former Bishop of Geneva was once asked how much one should pray. He replied that you should pray a half hour each day, unless you’re busy. If you’re busy, you should pray an hour.

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