Locker Room Pep Talk

By: Pastor Jarren Rogers

“You are never more like Jesus than when you pray for others. Pray for this hurting world.” – Max Lucado

Annie and I watched a couple of the best sports movies recently. On one night we watched the movie Hoosiers and another night we watched Remember the Titans. I love the underdog stories that are told in these movies. In one, a small-town team that goes for the state finals. In the other, a racially divided team works towards reconciliation in order to win. 

Arguably, the best parts of these movies are the pep talks for the big game. When Gene Hackmen breaks out the tape measure in the huge gym before the championship game or when Denzel Washington and Will Patton end their midgame speech with, “You’ve taught this city how to trust the soul of a man rather than the look of him” will give anyone goosebumps.

When you see just how hard the team has worked and all that they have overcome, you feel as if you are in the locker room with them, getting pumped up and ready to go out and win.

In a sense, I think this is what Paul is doing with his letter to Philippi. This letter is kind of like Paul’s locker room pep talk to the Christians living there. Paul understands that his Philippian friends are experiencing a lot of opposition, so he is writing to encourage them and push them on to the goal.

He shares with them his prayer for them: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-10).

I imagine this must have been encouraging to the people of Philippi, knowing that there was someone who was praying for them and approaching God on their behalf.

Prayer is powerful on so many levels. Not only is it powerful because we call on the Creator of the universe, and not only because we have faith that He answers prayer, but also because letting someone know that you are praying for them brings them hope!

It is encouraging to know that someone is calling out to God for you and your specific situation. It gives you hope and the strength to go back onto the court and play the rest of the game. 

I want to challenge you to begin praying for others. Pray for your friends and your family. Pray for those whose difficult situations have become known to you. Pray for your enemies and those who frustrate you. 

And then tell them that you are praying for them. Be specific. Hey, I just wanted to let you know that I have been praying for you. My prayer is that God will… 

Tell them, not to gloat, but to bring encouragement that they are not going through life alone. Let them know that they have people praying for them and cheering for them as they march back onto the football field. 

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