My oldest son, being nearly four, loves playing football (ok, more like picking up a football and running into me as hard as he can and then playing “tackle”) and has recently learned to cheer for the teams that I like to watch.  “Go Browns” and “Go Bucks” are commonly heard emanating from him as he plays with any number of toys while a game is on in the background.

A few weeks back, my high school held it’s Homecoming football game.  In the past I haven’t bothered taking him with me when I’ve had the chance to go watch the game because the weather has been notorious every year for this game.  This year proved no different, but I still decided that we would brave the cold and rain and go.  We had a great time in spite of the weather.

There is something magical about high school football to me.  The team camaraderie, the support of the community, the sportsmanship showed by both teams to each other.  The lack of cursing.  The beautiful sung a Capella National Anthem by an Alumnus who happens to be a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army currently.  The hope and promise of a night out with the family.  The public prayer that opened the game.

Yes, a public prayer.  No one was forced to pray.  No one protested.  No one’s rights were trampled.  The prayer was a quick, humble appeal for protection for the opposing team and their fans.  How dare we impose our religion on those poor boys and their families.  I’m sure that they were horribly offended at being exposed to a prayer for THEIR protection.

By now you probably have caught on that I graduated from a private high school where public prayer is not just permitted, it is encouraged.  I myself am not one for public prayer as I would rather spend my time in prayer quietly, humbly, and without pretense before my God, but there is a place for it.  To lead off a football game between boys that are becoming men is one such place.  To remind them of their proper place in the universe before their God means that the game will be played with more sportsmanship and respect between the teams, the parents, and the fans than games where such a prayer is not initially given.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people.

1 Timothy 2:1

What example would you rather see your kids be exposed?

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