The end of the soccer season comes this week. The last game will be played and the cleats will be put away. I’m not sure what the ranking is for my grandson’s team. I think it’s somewhere near the bottom. But it is not the final outcome of these games that will measure the success of this team. It will be the heart and perseverance and team work that made them true winners.
At one of their games last week they were set to play the number one team. In past years, it was a day of annihilation with the ending score double digits to zero. After the first few goals, our players would begin to waver, slow their pace and then eventually give up. Their team would become just a group of individuals taking matters into their own hands trying to somehow diminish the loss.
But this year was different. The young men and women of the team took control of the field keeping the opposition at bay. They moved together as an ominous force working as a unit. There was one point when things began to turn against them that they started to falter in their resolve, but the coach cheered each play with praises reminding them they were good players and he was proud of them.
In the end, the final score was not what they would have chosen but they were champions. They played the game in the best way possible using everything they had learned from their coach. The outcome was not in their hands. The thing they did have control over–the way they played the game—they did very well. Each one was a winner as they stepped off the field.
This made me think about how we conduct our prayer lives. We have been coached by Jesus himself on how to pray. He even demonstrated it to us in his resolve to look to the Father every time He came up against something difficult. We need to follow his example even when things go in a direction we would not choose or expect. The outcome is not up to us. The way we pray is.
Prayer can be a funny thing. To some it may be a going-through-the-motions cadence that remains the same day-after-day. Not really heartfelt rather a fulfillment of a duty. Others implement the laundry list approach asking God to act, supply or rescue on their behalf. In each of these methods, they simply pass the ball to God with the thought that He will make the big play and save the day.
Perhaps there is another possibility to consider. One that is much more integrated– A team building of sorts. In this method of prayer, an exchange of information and encouragement takes place. This is the ” Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you” approach. It is a cooperation in which we work together with God to reach the favored outcome–being like Jesus.
Second Corinthians 9:8 tells us, God is able to make every grace overflow to you, so that in every way, always having everything you need, you may excel in every good work. God has given us just what we need to play out this game of life and do it in victory.
That you may excel says it all. You will surpass others, be superior—win—just because of what He has given you. With that in mind, ask and receive. Pray with the knowledge that victory will be the result, thanking God for all he has provided. Your perspective in those tough moments of life will never be the same. Teamwork with God produces a force to be reckoned with.
I love how my grandson’s soccer team demonstrated that attitude by playing as if they had the win in sight. Although they knew first place was a long shot, they still ran the field with victorious hearts. The real trophy was to be seen in their character.
Your victory brings him great honor,
and you have clothed him with splendor and majesty.
Psalm 21:5 NLT
My grandson, Simon, continued to play for his school’s soccer team into his senior year. Their team advanced in standings each year eventually coming in third at the CIF playoffs. They played like champions to the end. At the present, Simon, serves in the United States Marine Corps. He is hoping to tryout soon for a position their soccer team. No matter the outcome, I will be proud of him. I know he has what it takes to be victorious in all life’s endeavors.