Pray about sports? Really?

I am a field hockey goalie. I’ve also gone to Christian Science Sunday School my whole life. So it didn’t come as a surprise when, during my first field hockey season, my dad encouraged me to pray about my practices and games. I have to admit, though, that at first, I just brushed off his recommendation as a pregame speech. Then I had an experience that helped me understand the value of prayer, even in sports.

It was a really hot day, and several of my teammates were exhausted because they’d had lots of tests in school that day. We were also losing 1–0 and the whole team seemed miserable. That’s when I remembered that my dad had told me I could pray about the game. 

We were losing 1–0 and the whole team seemed miserable. 

When I pray, I often think about what I’m grateful for, but there are many ways to pray. Recognizing God’s goodness and seeing each individual as God’s child are also ways that I pray. Sometimes I also listen with my thoughts for inspiration from God. When I did that this time, the first thing that came to me was the opening sentence from Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “To those leaning on the sustaining infinite, to-day is big with blessings” (Mary Baker Eddy, p. vii). I understood this to mean that when you lean on God rather than on a limiting, mistaken sense of having your own abilities, good things will happen. I took that seriously and thought about how my whole team was being supported by God. About a minute later, our team scored a goal! The team’s mood immediately shifted from misery to hope and excitement.

Another team issue I prayed about was the way my teammates would hit the ball in the general direction of the goal instead of passing it to another teammate, which often allowed the other team to get possession of the ball. So, I prayed about God as Mind. I knew that there is only one Mind, not a bunch of minds that don’t know how to work together effectively. And one Mind is expressed in qualities like intelligence, harmony, and cooperation. Shortly after praying this way, I watched as my teammates gracefully passed the ball to each other and then straight into the goal! Our team won with a final score of 2–1.

While I wasn’t praying for us to win, I was excited to discover the way prayer brings out more unity and harmony on the field.

While I wasn’t praying for us to win, I was excited to discover the way prayer brings out more unity and harmony on the field. And I also saw for myself that prayer isn’t limited to those times when you’re sick or injured. It can be part of every activity you do. As a result of my experience in this field hockey game, now I always pray about all of my games!

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