Sunday, October 11, 2015

Pope Francis' 5 Finger Prayer for Coaches and Athletes

Anyone who is a teacher and a coach knows that this point in the season—close to midterms and deep in the thick of league competition—is a busy time of year. On a daily basis, I teeter between feelings of real love and appreciation for the JV golf team I have gotten to know so well and total inadequacy at what I do. I've missed meetings and memos. My communication is unclear and misunderstood. Because I've been working so much when someone asks "what's new?" I don't know what to say. I said to another teacher-coach, "I don't know the last time I had an original thought."
And then I remembered...that's not true. I encountered the Five Finger Prayer of Pope Francis and made it my own. It's a simple prayer, yet a beautiful one. And the Holy Father made it that was so that anyone can pray it. If you don't know that pray, here it is.

1. The thumb is the closest finger to you. So start praying for those who are closest to you. They are the persons easiest to remember. To pray for our dear ones is a “sweet obligation.”

2. The next finger is the index. Pray for those who teach you, instruct you and heal you. They need the support and wisdom to show direction to others. Always keep them in your prayers.

3. The following finger is the tallest. It reminds us of our leaders, the governors and those who have authority. They need God’s guidance.

4. The fourth finger is the ring finger. Even that it may surprise you, it is our weakest finger. It should remind us to pray for the weakest, the sick or those plagued by problems. They need your prayers.

5. And finally, we have our smallest finger, the smallest of all. Your pinkie should remind you to pray for yourself. When you are done praying for the other four groups, you will be able to see your own needs but in the proper perspective, and also you will be able to pray for your own needs in a better way.
One day before practice I realized: we could use the other hand! My original thought of the month made this prayer sports specific. Athletics is made possible because so many people give their time, talent and treasure. They are people we can and should remember in prayer. 

Coaches, lead your athletes in this prayer that you can say together and teach it to them so that can also offer this prayer on their own.

1. The thumb: pray for the teammates you have had past and present. Pray for those you are have grown close to, thanks to your sport. Give thanks to God for the joy they bring to the grind of daily practice, the struggle of competition, in the agony of defeat and the shared joy of victory.

2. The index: pray for your coaches past and present. Pray in thanksgiving for the men and women who have selflessly given their time so that you can learn new skills, that you can develop your talents and participate in games. Add another prayer for your team captains and those teammates who help you improve and push you to be your best self.

3. The middle finger: (haha, let's all recognize that may sound funny to some): Pray for the athletic director(s) in your school community and the league officials who allow for the organization of games, contests and league standings. Pray for the referees who see that our fields are fair. These people have authority; they too need God's guidance.

4. The ring finger: Who on your team is battling an injury? Pray for your teammates who are hurt or sick. Pray for those who may suffer without our knowledge. Lord, bring healing to all those in need.

5. The pinky: Again, this prayer is for you. Thank the good Lord for the gifts you are able to uniquely share with your team.

As a coach, I have noticed the "easiest" time to pray with your team is before a competition. Perhaps you and your athletes want more. Maybe you want to pray with them on a more regular basis or in a setting away from the pregame routine. This prayer is an easy place to start because it's so invitational. I believe that students are curious about praying in this way—it's different. It's as simple and tactile. Adding to the prayer with a sports lens can serve as a bridge for what you may desire to share and pray as one.

Everywhere that he went in the United States, Pope Francis asked others to pray for him. Offering this prayer is an easy and wonderful way to do that!

Photo Credits
Five Finger Simple
SI Girls: Thank you, Mr. Nguyen!

1 comment:

  1. Wow!!! Love this!!!! You are a true gift to so many...Thanks for sharing!!!

    Aunt Wendy