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"Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play…it is war minus the shooting."

George Orwell

Why pray when you can worry?

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray (James 5:13)

For James, prayer is the first option. In the next verse he writes: Is any one of you sick? He should call the doctor. Actually what the verse says is: Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. He continues by assuring us that a prayer offered in faith will be answered and gives us the assurance that The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (5:16) Incidentally don't worry that you do not feel righteous - your righteousness is built on Jesus' death.

So then we are encouraged to pray about everything - that cannot exclude our sports life. What should we pray about with regard to sport?

First of all let us clarify what we should not pray for. We should not pray selfishly, "Lord, make my team win" or "Lord, may I score the winning goal".

Our first prayer should be one of thanks. As people who love sport we can thank God for our bodies, which enable us to compete. We can thank God for the gifts to play sport

Pray for your own involvement in the club, that you would be able to play well and to use your skill fully and fairly to the glory of God. Pray that your attitude would be above reproach. While recognizing that the coach is important and your team mates are important, that ultimately you are playing with an audience of one in mind

Pray for the game for your team captain and the club officials. Pray for the match officials - that the Lord would open their eyes! Pray for a good and fair contest.

Pray that you would handle success and failure equally well ñ no pouting if you lose, play badly or are dropped; not proud if you do have a good game but to have the guts to say something like: Thanks but you know as a Christian, I believe that God gave me the gifts I have got and made me able to play like that so I don't deserve the accolades.

Pray that team mates and opponents would see from the way you play that you serve God and live your life by his standards.

Pray for your team mates - generally or for particular ones whom God has placed on your heart with whom you have been able to share your faith.

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