Friday, August 11, 2017

Shall I Pray for Success?

Earlier this summer I received a call from a man whose son was playing in a baseball tournament and working out in a series of showcases in the pursuit of an offer to play for a college team. I have known his daughter, who played golf at our university and attended our Fellowship of Christian Athletes meetings. The father and I had only met, face to face, one time.

He called as he was trying to discern whether it was proper to pray for his son to be successful. We had a great chat and a number of the ideas discussed are below. Much of what I told him was that it depends upon how one defines success. We chatted a couple more times during the summer as the process moved along and they contemplated opportunities.

I greatly respect John Wooden’s definition of success:

“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.” John Wooden
In this economy of success, yes, I believe it altogether appropriate to pray for success. In the world of sport’s normal economy of success: that I win every time, that I am first, that I am the greatest of all time; not so much.

I always pray for those I am serving to be successful, but I never pray regarding the results on the scoreboard. I pray that they fulfill their highest potential, that they compete to their absolute best ability, that they experience the best of their sport, that they are great teammates, that they experience the Lord Jesus' presence and pleasure in sport, that they find joy and satisfaction as they compete, and more. I believe this is success in sport.

A few of the prayers I have written for competitors to pray are below. I believe they are emblematic of this approach to success.

Powerful God of Heaven and earth,

Today's competition will require my absolute best and the same of my teammates.

Please give us to be at the heights of our abilities.

Please enable our hearts to be united.

Please grant us insight and wisdom.

Please infuse us with strength, speed, and endurance.

We would honor You with each and every second of this contest.

In Jesus' strong name we pray,


Strong Father in heaven,

It is game day and I am ready.

Every fiber of my being is poised and prepared for a great day of competition.

I commit every moment, every breath, every movement,  and every thought to You.

May I be blessed with Your provision as I compete?

May I be honored by Your presence in this game?

May I bring Your heart pleasure throughout this day?

I pray and compete in Jesus' name,



It is almost game time and my heart is racing.

My mind is full of anxiety.

My body is tense and tight.

Please quiet my heart.

Please speak peace to my mind.

Please relax my body.

This competition is for Your honor, for Your glory, and for Your pleasure.

I pledge to You the greatest devotion of my heart, the best thoughts of my mind, and the strongest efforts of my body.

In Jesus' strong name,


Earlier this week I received notice that the young player had received an offer from an NCAA Division I university to play baseball. The family expressed their thanks for praying with them about the process, and the young man tweeted his thanks to God for the offer. The player’s mother said, “This was such a God thing,” and promised to tell me the story about how the offer came about. I was pleased that they were seeking God’s counsel throughout the process, even more than simply comparing offers, academic programs, dormitory rooms, and team gear. 

No comments: