Written by Hope Brakenhoff. Media by Taylor Harpster.
God, please clear my head of all distractions and my heart of burdens I may bear so I may perform my best, knowing you will always be there.
This is the first line of the athlete’s prayer-a prayer that clearly represents how important faith is in sports. It’s not just sports, though; it also shows how important faith is in everything that we do. Some people do not believe faith has anything to do with sports, but the correlations are abundant.
While there is no part of the Bible that specifically talks about sports, there are many verses and excerpts that address hard work and things that pertain to sports. God tells us to work hard at whatever we are doing. That doesn’t exclude sports. It is important to understand whom to play for and how best to utilize all of the talents that God has given you. Colossians chapter three discusses working at whatever you are doing with all of your heart for the Lord (v. 23). It is important that, as Christians, we understand whom we are trying to glorify with our actions. We do not play for our own glory, although it may feel good to win, but for the glory of God, no matter what the outcome. We receive a reward of eternity in heaven, which is why we should be focusing on glorifying God in all things that we do (v. 24).
Sometimes it can be difficult to find the motivation to play your best, especially when you may not be having a lot of success as a team. God never promised that life would be easy. It will be hard at times, but God does tell us in Hebrews 12:11 that hard work and discipline “produce a harvest of righteousness and peace.” God calls us to discipline ourselves in whatever we are doing, which, for athletes, means a lot of our time is spent in training, at practice, and at games; however, it’s amazing that we are capable of glorifying God during all of those times. If we act in a positive way on the field, we are automatically worshipping God because He loves to see us do what we love and are given the talents to do.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27 specifically uses an analogy of a runner running the race to receive a prize at the end. God calls us into strict training to prepare for the race. The race is an analogy for all parts of life but can be taken literally as well. God calls us to be prepared to race and to race well. We are called to train our bodies to be our vessels that show God’s love to others in every way that we act, whether our actions are in athletic events or in our everyday lives.
God also provides us with the strength and the ability to succeed in whatever we do. He has provided us with the talents to be successful in what he has called us to in our lives. Whether that is sports or working for a non-profit organization, whatever your calling is, God has called you to do it to the best of your abilities. He is with us in all that we do. Deuteronomy 31:6 tells us to “Be strong and courageous.” God tells us to not be afraid but to trust that He is with us and will care for us. He wants us to trust in the abilities He has blessed us with and to use them in a way that is glorifying to Him.
Video talking about giving glory to God through sports.