Praying Offense

“Someone praying for you causes your problems to realize they have a challenger.”

The game of basketball has a multitude of offensive schemes and set plays. Some teams operate with all five players on the perimeter and look for back cuts, on and off ball screens, and mis-matches. Other teams, because of size factors use systems that depend upon ball control and patience, while others with speed look to push the tempo. Coaches look to figure out what gives them the best chance at success. What worked best for Brad Underwood at Stephen F. Austin does has not necessarily fit with his personnel at Illinois. The objective is to score more points than the other team. The method of that offense is secondary.

In each of the books of my novel series Red Hot, prayer is an offensive weapon used to battle illness, tragedy, bullies, and death. In fact, Maggie Bowman, the mother of Randy “Red Hot” Bowman is requested to pray for the eyesight problems that young Ethan Thomas has by Ethan himself. He tells her, in his opinion, she is the closest thing to Jesus. He says, “…so I figured it would almost be like the Great Physician…” Maggie replies, “Ethan, I’m flattered, but it’s not the person who’s praying that makes a difference; it’s the power of prayer.” (Red Hot: New Grace in Fleming, page 302)

Just as a good offense in basketball causes the defense to be back on their heels, uncertain and retreating, prayer charges at the dominion of darkness.

I’ll never know how many prayers were said for me, prayers for protection, wise decision-making, and courageous leadership, but I know my life has been undergirded and moved forward on the backs of prayerful people. On the other side, I realize that I’ve doubted the power and purpose of prayer at times. Like a poor foul shooter stepping to the line, there comes into play not only the confidence of his teammates, but the confidence he has in completing the shot.

How often is it that we sense something supernatural going on around us? Sometimes we’re the prayer and sometimes we’re the prayed-for. In the past week there’s been several names added to my list of people to be lifted in prayer: My friend during my middle school years, Terry Kopchak, who I mention in the Foreword of the above named book; Pastor Rob Jones of Beulah Baptist Church in Proctorville, Ohio; the family of “Scooter”, the 50-year-old woman who passed away recently and whose parents I sat beside on the flight from Charlotte to Dallas; the family of Professor Robert Erickson, who passed away at the age of 90 (the last living original professor of Judson University); John and Sheri Metli, dear saints of Simla who has been ill; and Katie from Simla, whose husband recently passed away; and just this morning at Starbucks, the wife of my coffee buddy, Richard, who is dealing with an undiagnosed ailment. And then there’s the son of one of my Timberview teaching friends who had a dreaded but necessary knee surgery this past Thursday.

I could go on and on as I sit here pecking on the keyboard. The names keep coming, but not nearly of the same quantity as prayers that have been said on my behalf.

Offensive prayer. I realize that people are offended by a slew of things these days, but rarely is someone offended by being prayer for. As it should be!

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