Saturday, January 27, 2018

When It Comes Time for Prayer, Make It Your Own: A Prayer for Coaches

I get asked quite often by coaches and by athletes for prayers—formal prayers, written prayers, meaningful prayers, sports prayers. They are seeking a good one to say before a big game. Others have to lead prayer in a public space—before the national anthem, prior to the Homecoming contest, as a way to frame "Senior Night" and they want words that will resonate with the larger school community. Fortunately, there is no shortage of resources readily available for praying with your team, before/after a game or in the context of Sports and Spirituality. Indeed, the prayers one can find online are as varied as the sports and the athletes who pray them; this can both a good and bad thing. Some prayers are not age-appropriate. A few sound more like a poem that a prayer. Still, others echo of a rallying cry or team chant. What to do? My only recommendation for captains and chaplains, coaches and players is this: choose a prayer that resonates with your heart and your voice. Even when prayer is formal, it can and still should offer a message that you want to say and believe others should hear....and if it doesn't, amend...modify....edit...and make it your own. It's your prayer—your communication with the Lord—why not.
Coach Pat Riley prayed at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem (1999).
The Miami Heat traveled to Israel play a friendly against Macabbi Tel Aviv.
Coaches, please pray for your athletes
At the conclusion of the Jesuits West Colloquium for newer teachers and faculty, the students of Loyola Academy at Brophy Prep handed me a prayer card that follows my recommendation. The Prayer of St. Francis, one of my very favorite prayers, was adapted for teachers. As I read this prayer with my colleagues, I was touched by its beauty and its authenticity. Its message spoke to the wants, needs and desire of me as a teacher. And, I saw how it might speak to coaches. 

I urge coaches and athletic directors to pray for their athletes in every presentation I give on the topic of athletic ministry. This is a beautiful way to do that.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is frustration, let me show patience.
Where there is confusion, clarity.
Where there is struggle, support.
Where there is success, celebration.
Where there is doubt, faith.
And where there is hurt, love.

Oh Divine Masters, grant that I may
Greet each student-athlete as a child of God,
Find joy and fun in my relationship with them,
And seek to learn as much as I coach, model and teach.
The goal: to pray together as a team
Photo Credits
Pat Riley
John Harbaugh

No comments:

Post a Comment