Norton: Saying it and praying it is the right thing to do
By now most of us have heard what happened to the Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin during a game Monday night in Cincinnati. Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest after making a tackle against a Bengals player, collapsing on the field after the tackle. In the days following his cardiac arrest, Hamlin was listed in critical condition.
Kudos to the league and the people responsible for suspending the game. I am a huge fan of football, but a bigger fan of life and respecting life. And a huge applause to the players and coaches from both teams who joined together in an on-field prayer. As there is an ever-increasing scrutiny and effort to cancel prayer or public displays of prayer, it was obviously more important to those on the field who witnessed what happened firsthand to come together in prayer for Hamlin.
Over recent years coaches, players, and teams from youth leagues to high school, and from college to the pros, have been taken to task for praying in public. Some even lose their jobs and are forced to bring lawsuits to try and keep their position. So, making what we witnessed happen during that Monday night game relative to the prayer was both promising and truly inspiring.
Then there was the next unbelievable moment, an amazing event that took place on ESPN as Dan Orlovsky took the time to pray out loud for Hamlin. I filled up with tears as I watched his prayer, listening to the intensity, compassion, and sincerity with which he prayed. Hats off to ESPN for not shutting this down, and a tremendous shout out to you Orlovsky for your courage, bravery, and conviction to your faith.
Being a part of several prayer groups myself, prayers for Hamlin were surfacing each day for his recovery, for strength in recovery, for complete healing, for his family, and for his teammates. Nothing less was expected, because that’s what we do for each other in our prayer groups, we pray with each other and for each other and for all those that may need prayer. We pray with people and for people from all over the world and from every walk of life.
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We all know what happens sometimes. Someone we know will share a story about something or someone in their life where there is a problem, a challenge, an injury, or an illness. And with the best of intention, we say, “I’ll be praying for you,” or “I’ll say a prayer for them.” And then we go about our day, and we never actually stop for a minute and say the prayer. Did we mean it when we said we would pray? Or did it just feel like the right thing to say at the moment?
A few years ago, in a coffee shop in Denver, I was approached by a man who recognized me from this column. He told me he appreciated the motivational columns but was turned off when I would mention my faith or anything to do with prayer. We talked for a few more minutes, and I shared my faith journey with him, but he still said that he was not a believer. Then he said that even though he didn’t believe in God or prayer, his family really needed some prayer and could I please pray for them. The irony was real, and I prayed for his family.
That is why what the players did on the field matters. It’s why what ESPN and Orlovsky did matters. The power of prayer is an incredible gift we have been given. So, if we say we are going to pray for someone, we need to pause and pray, because we never know the impact we may have. I would love to hear your thoughts on prayer at email@example.com and when we can come together in prayer for those who need a little bit of prayer or a lot of prayer, it really will be a better-than-good life.
Michael Norton is an author, a personal and professional coach, consultant, trainer, encourager, and motivator of individuals and businesses, working with organizations and associations across multiple industries.