The Tim Tebow Effect:

The ritualistic pose made famous by QB Tim Tebow has brought to the surface the confusion over prayer.  This confusion exists as much inside the community of believers in Jesus Christ as outside among non believers.

I was raised in Ohio, one of the great farm states in America.  I used to wonder who did God listen to when the farmers were praying for rain and the golfers and baseball players were praying for no rain!  Since God says in His word that “He is no respecter of persons,” the question becomes, “Then who does God listen to?”

When the Denver Broncos or now the Jets play any other NFL team does God count up the Christians and then pick and choose who wins?  Of course the question is absurd but, let’s be honest; it is on the minds of many.  Ignorance abounds but that is a good thing because we now have the opportunity to better understand the power of prayer if we will dialogue and seek the answers.

First of all, God does not pick the winners in games.  Our problem is trying to understand what God does on earth and what we, as humanity, do on earth.  While we play games and are concerned about their outcome – God does not play games.  While I do not know what Tim prays specifically in his pose, I gather from his comments that he is trying to get more in touch with God.  The word inspiration actually means “breathed in.”  The idea behind the meaning is that the person praying believes that God, via the Holy Spirit, will breathe into the person the energy to fulfill the duty before that person.

God does not pass the football for Tim Tebow; it is Tim himself that throws the ball.  He desires to play at his highest level and through prayer he seeks to maximize the gifts that have been perfected in him through hard work and application.  An athlete is always faced with conflicting thoughts.  Fear is a common powerful feeling that comes against virtually every athlete that has ever performed regardless of the venue or sport.

As a former professional athlete I was never afraid of my next opponent.  What I was fearful of every week was whether I would perform up to and above my abilities.  I was afraid of making mistakes; there were always thoughts of failure invading my mind.  Every athlete must face their fears in the performance of their sport.  There are many rituals performed every week in every locker room in every sport.  Each ritual seeks to prepare the athlete mentally to perform at the highest levels.

I remember Alex Karras, our all pro defensive tackle, throwing up before every game – his ritual!  Ernie Clark, a linebacker, would put his helmet on and bang his head against the concrete pole in the locker room!  Ah, yes, rituals in preparation to play take on many forms.

Tim Tebow’s ritual enables him to face his fears.  The fact that it has so captured the minds of the sporting community is an interesting phenomenon.  Prayer enables a believer to connect with God.  That connection empowers a believer to the extent that believer has faith in what he or she is praying for.  Faith is not a figment of our imagination.  Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen.  This means that to the person with the faith – to them what they comprehend during prayer empowers them to get a handle on the utmost of their abilities.

In Luke 11 the disciples of Jesus asked Him to teach them to pray.  They had walked with Jesus and had taken note that when Jesus prayed things happened.  Jesus knew how to tap into the power of God as a Man that walked on this earth.  We must remember that the Bible says He emptied Himself of all of His power He had as God.  He walked on this earth as a normal human being with all the temptations of life that everyone of us experiences.  He was without sin and He prayed daily and maybe hourly while He walked on this earth.  He also had to face His own fears and God the Father empowered Jesus with the Holy Spirit to enable Him to fulfill every work that the Father had charged Jesus to perform.

The fundamental key to understand about prayer is that God works in people.  He does not score touchdowns, He does not pass footballs, He does not hit baseballs, and He does not shoot baskets.  Time after time we hear of top performances coming out of those who pray and believe.  We find that faith enables a person to achieve all that they believe.

Prayer strengthens people by taking the promises of God that are written in the Bible and enabling those promises to be manifest in the lives of those believers.  Maximizing human potential is available to all believers according to the word of God.  It can be released as we live our lives guided by prayer and the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Our faith in prayer enables us to tap into the power of God to be released into our lives.  Doubt, fear and all forms of uncertainty will hinder prayer in such a dramatic fashion that those prayers will be ineffectual.  So the person praying must understand what the parameters are as expressed in the Bible and then staying within those parameters must find how to believe those promises can be applied to their situation.

Effectual and fervent prayer of a righteous person will bring results.  Who is righteous?  Only those who believe that their sins have been accounted for by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ are righteous.  Prayer in faith is a wonderful means to facilitate our presentation of the Power of God to others.  Tim Tebow has been used by God to force to the surface a discussion and better understanding of prayer.

We are in tumultuous times and they will unlikely get much better over the near term.  The power available in prayer needs to be better understood so that believers can have greater impact on the hearts and minds of the various societies that are in struggle.  Prayer changes things.  Prayer enables people to get through the challenges of the times we live in.  Prayer can be a comfort as well as an enablement to more effectively respond to the conflicts of the day.

It behooves us to find out how to pray in faith.  More on prayer in my book, “Finding the Power to Heal” listed on Amazon under authors – Daryl T Sanders.