Do you know who prayed this prayer?
“God, we come to you in these moments that we don’t understand, that are hard, because we believe that you’re God and coming to you and praying to you has impact… “If we didn’t believe that prayer didn’t work we wouldn’t ask this of you God. I believe in prayer…we believe in prayer.”
It wasn’t Franklin Graham. Or a popular preacher. Or a televangelist.
It was Dan Orlovsky, an ESPN football analyst, praying for Damar Hamlin, a Buffalo Bills Safety who was in critical condition in University of Cincinnati Medical Center as he lay sedated on a ventilator. For almost a minute Orlovsky closed his eyes, bowed his head and prayed on his live NFL show.
In the outside chance you missed this news, on last week’s Monday Night Football game Damar made in routine football play when he tackled Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins. Hamlin got up. Then collapsed on the turf, going into cardiac arrest. Without the fast response by the Bill’s medical staff Hamlin would have died on the field.
I didn’t see the game, but watching the reports and video the next day was sobering. An eerie quiet stadium. People crying and praying in the stands. Announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman speaking in hushed and solemn tones. Tears streaming down the faces of rugged 300 pound linemen.
Following Hamlin being taken off the filed in an ambulance, the NFL postponed the game, and later cancelled it all together. This never happens. Before leaving the field, players from both teams huddled together and prayed.
Thankfully, Hamlin is on the road to recovery and has returned home to Buffalo.
However, for several days it seemed America was united in prayer and piety. Discussions occurred on many news and talk shows about the “power of prayer,” the fragile nature of life, and the comfort of faith.
In a conversation with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Benjamin Watson, a Super Bowl winning tight end for the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints, offered this thought provoking insight. “Life can change in the blink of an eye. Damar’s injury has made us all wrestle with this truth. It has served as a reminder of our own mortality. While we pray for him as he fights for his life, we must ask ourselves where will we spend eternity?”
It is ironic, that in an ever-increasing secular society, there was such a universal outpouring, often from unlikely sources, of prayers and expressions of faith.
Because there is still a religious feeling and fervor buried deep in the hearts of most Americans. In times of tragedy, when we feel helpless and hopeless, frightened and feeble, we turn to God. It reminds us that the answer to America’s polarized and divisive state is not found in social programs or political solutions, but in Faith and God’s healing power.
Occasions like this reveal the truth of Blaise Pascal’s observation: “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of each man which cannot be satisfied by any created thing but only by God the Creator, made known through Jesus Christ.”
It also underscores an old military aphorism, “There are no atheists in foxholes.” In other words, in times of extreme stress, deep fear, and sudden tragedy, people turn for comfort and seek solace in a Higher Power.
Furthermore, it’s important to remember that we ought “to pray without ceasing,” (1 Thess. 5:17). Not just when we face a crisis, or tragedy strikes.
Finally, this a good time before we leave the emotions of this event, to realize we need God every day. Every hour. And not just in times of crisis. America would do well to hear and heed God’s plea to Solomon and ancient Israel.
“If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land” (2 Chron 7:14).
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman
2 responses to “Public Prayer and Piety When Facing a Crisis”
Ken, I shared your blog on my FB page. It’s so true, prayer should be something we do each day not just during a crisis or tragedy.
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