Yesterday during the BCS title game I avoided, by choice, an argument over the power of prayer in football. The person who began the discussion said she didn’t know why players felt the need to pray during games. Others began to pile on her, saying what business was it of hers and we have the right to pray and the usual point-missing rigamarole. My only contribution was that prayer obviously didn’t work for Tim Tebow and it certainly wasn’t working for Notre Dame.
People certainly have a right to pray to whom whoever they wish on their own terms. It is, and should be, a personal thing upon which no one can infringe. I happen to think public prayer is showy and reductive, but that’s one of those debates no one can really win, even if the Bible does back me up.
I also think people overuse and misunderstand the concept of prayer. I’ve always understood prayer to be a lifeline to one’s respective deity as a quiet, personal plea to be heard in a time of crisis and/or reflection. It could also be a regular, dutiful ritual of worship. And/or serve a lot of other purposes with which I, as a secular person, am less acquainted.
But in any case, it seems like a stretch to ask, to paraphrase Denis Leary, that God choose which spoiled pituitary freaks win the Super Bowl. Or to ask for prayers because you’re closing on a house. Does anyone actually do this?
O Heavenly Father, please bless those in your image who must struggle to get by. And please look out especially for Chad and Lisa Dawkins of Moonlight Oaks, who are about to close escrow on their McMansion. Amen!
Supply-side prayer must be vogue in America.
At the risk of sounding all humblebraggish, I’m broke. And I still feel like it would be rude to ask for prayers. Also, pointless, because prayers don’t pay bills. That’s a comforting thought for me, actually. Why? Because when you link prayer to success, you also link it to failure. You might start to feel that if you hit a rough patch or lose a big game, it’s because God doesn’t love you enough and/or is really into tough love. Is that really more comforting than random, dumb luck?
Notre Dame lost because the Fighting Irish were a complete mismatch against defending champions Alabama. The game said a lot about the BCS in general, but not so much about where Jesus’ loyalties lie. The best that can be said is that players and coaches used their judgment to execute the best gameplans they knew, and did all they could to avoid injuries. And then stuff happened, as it tends to do.