The Progression of Prayer

What Gameday Looks Like for Prayer?

The Sport of Prayer – Part 1.2

If prayer is like a sport, how then would we prepare to play?
You may have heard me say this before, but Pamela (my wife) and I are huge college football fans. I’ll give you a hint. We live in Alabama and attended the University of Alabama. In Alabama, Nick Saban, who is the head coach for the Alabama Crimson Tide, is loved and hated. Regardless of whether you love or hate him, his results are undeniable, as he has now become a legendary coach for his achievements and results. I have a desire to see the same type of results when it comes to prayer for those who play the sport. Therefore I’m declaring myself the Nick Saban of Prayer. It’s my goal to help you achieve unheard of results when it comes to prayer. I want you to get beyond the ordinary results we hear and see around us and get the results that the Bible says we can have. While we’re talking about coaching, in any sport you need a coach, allow us to coach you to victory like Nick Saban does his players.

Now that we have a list of things we know about sports, we can take this idea just a step further. I like to refer to this as the progression of prayer. This is where we take a person through workouts & conditioning, to scrimmages, to full-on practices, and finally gameday. Keep in mind that I will only provide a couple examples but each progression can be a host of real life situations. For example, maybe gameday for you is a hospital visit you need to make or dedicating the life of a child, or praying to pass your courses for the semester. In this example I will use gameday as a team of pray-ers (people who pray) during their Sunday church services in real-time. At any rate, you can decide what game day looks like for you.

The Progression of Prayer
Here’s what the progression of prayer might look like when comparing prayer to a sport. I will go in reverse order starting with the end in mind.

  • Game Day (Praying with other experienced pray-ers.)
    Every player would like to make it to gameday and participate in the game. That reminds me that later on I will have to assign you a position on the team. Everyone has a part to play and everyone is needed on the team. For Game Day as I mentioned above, it’s our Sunday service in-service prayer moments. This is prayer in an environment of a number of others who are next-level pray-ers. To participate on gameday, one should desire to be ready to play and play their best. So how can I get myself ready for game day prayer?
  • Scrimmage (Praying in smaller groups.)
    Every athlete, to be any good at a sport and to be ready for gameday, will need to participate in scrimmages. In prayer, you need to scrimmage. In this case, scrimmaging is easier than you think. Oftentimes you find yourself in small groups of individuals where prayer is expected, this is an opportunity to get some scrimmage time simply by participating; for example if your church offers smaller prayer meetings or you’re a part of a small group. Ask the group to pray together. Take a few minutes to pray. However, keep in mind that even prayer scrimmages take preparation which leads me to practice.
  • Practice (Praying with one’s family.)
    In order to be any good during scrimmage, one must go through the repetitions (reps) and practice. When an athlete shows up to a scrimmage never having been through any practice, it shows. It shows they’re not as far along as the guys who’ve mastered their practice regimen. Practicing, which can be compared to the times you pray with your family, is the best time to improve how you’ll perform at scrimmage, but it doesn’t start there. In fact, one isn’t truly ready for practice until he or she has done their own workouts and conditioning.
  • Workouts (Praying on your own.)
    The best athletes (in any sport) work out and go through regimens for conditioning. So often a pray-er wants to win on game day, but have not mastered their own personal time in pray-er workouts. To go to the next-level in prayer, it starts with your personal workouts. What do your daily prayer workouts look like?

These are what I call “the progressions of prayer” that lead to next-level prayer at every stage. I get the sense that this might be resonating with you. This is good. Actually I know that it is, I’ve cheated by testing this material out on others first. This progression plus what we know about a sport is what we will use and build upon over the next few weeks to help push you to the next-level in prayer. This is “The Sport of Prayer.”

Question: which of the four progressions of prayer interest you the most?

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