I really want Crystal Palace to win today – so much so that I’m going to pray for them.
But how shall I pray?
Somewhere deep inside is the sense that this would be cheating. Why should my team have God on their side?
We have it so deeply embedded in us: “may the best team win”, but that’s not what we really want at all. I want my team to win. I am decidedly partisan. In reality, I am more than happy if my team gets that bit of luck which changes the game, the scoreline, the season.
And what happens, if by chance or righteous living, Swansea has more people praying for them than we have praying for Crystal Palace? Will the dubious decisions all fall their way?
Of course, Crystal Palace are due some good luck. They had some terrible decisions against them at the start of the season. So now my prayer has taken a righteous tone. There’s a sense of justice about it. My team are the downtrodden. I am standing with them and crying out for an answer!
But then it’s true: “we make our own luck”. Maybe I should simply pray for all the normal extras needed by footballers – sharpness, concentration, strength, awareness, initiative, creativity, connection. Then they will make the most of every situation and get more shots on target. But something within me still wants to add, “and may the Swansea goalie fumble the ball – at least twice.”
Should I get paid for this undercover work? After all, the physios and dietitians all get their wedge. My prayers could be making the difference between us staying up or going down.
When will God stop listening to my prayers – assuming he started? What is the limit? When does he say, “Now come on – really…”
My thoughts go back to bedtime prayers – of being taught and then teaching – that we must pray for both teams, and all the fans, to play to their best ability, fairly, honestly, and for everyone to have a jolly good time.
But I’ll tell you – there’s no way I’m praying for Swansea today.
What do you think?