I am 1st Elder in my local congregation. This weekend I was leading our service and wanted to lift a local sports team up in prayer as we began our worship. But what to pray for? Praying for the win felt presumptuous. So I prayed for the team to "play well".
Because to play well encompasses all the things we want for our young people when competing:
- To play to their skill level, remembering and doing what they have been taught
- To play as a team, coordinating with and supporting each other
- To play fairly, so as to be honorable and above reproach
- To be generous in winning and graceful in defeat
Because to play well is something both teams can aspire to. A win against a team having an off-day is not so savory as a win against a team playing their best. A win when both teams are playing well is the sweetest win. And a loss when you're playing your best is not so bitter a thing.
Because the win in a sporting event shouldn't be from divine fiat, but rather from having the skills when both teams are at their best.
Because praying for a team to play well is an honorable prayer that can be granted to both sides.