NFL fans know it's nearly impossible to get through a football game without reference to God. Whether Tebowing on the sidelines, giving a shoutout on ESPN, or pointing to heaven after a touchdown, plenty of players recognize that God's a part of the game.
Christians need to stop acting like that's a bad thing, according to apologist and theologian William Lane Craig. He's the one they should be praying to and thanking, says Craig, a professor at Biola University's Talbot School of Theology and author of Reasonable Faith.
CT's Kate Shellnutt spoke with Craig about prayer, providence, and pigskin ahead of Sunday's big game. (Craig, for the record, will be pulling for Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos.)
Recent polls have found at least a quarter of Americans pray for sports teams, and that number is even higher among evangelicals. As a theologian, what do these stats tell you?
I think it shows how deeply committed they are to their teams that they would feel compelled to pray about it! In fact, it's almost irresistible for someone who is on a team to pray that God would help him to do a good job and to win and to prevail. I don't think that there's anything the matter with that type of prayer, so long as one adds the caveat, nevertheless "not my will, but thy will be done."
What's the value in praying for God's will to be done for the outcome of a game if God's will will be done whether we pray or not?
Now that's a question about prayer in general. What good does it do to pray about anything if the outcome is not affected? I would say when God chooses which world to actualize, he takes into account the prayers that would be offered in that world. ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 63+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more