God is with you whether you are on your playing field or not. A lot of times we forget about God when we are playing our sport… not on purpose but we sorta just… forget. Can you relate?
My last two years playing college soccer, I was on fire for Jesus. I thought about him a lot. But I still had those days where I might go an entire practice where I didn’t think about him once. So I tried to come up with ways to bring myself back to Him!
Here are 7 things I did in my sports career to remember and experience the presence of God even on the field. And after reading these, my hope is that you will share some ideas too! Let’s find more ways to practice the presence of God in our sport!
1. Every time I looked at the flag pole, it was a trigger to pray.
Find some thing on your field or court that you often spot during practice or games. For me, it was the big flag pole. Every time I looked at that flag pole, I remembered God. I would pray. I would re-center myself on God. It would help me take a deep breath. It might even be a three word prayer.. “Oh hey God”.
I was an often “mental” player. I got in my head a lot. So having the flag pole trigger was AMAZING. My common pray was to ask God for comfort and confidence.
2. One minute planks = One minute prayer.
When I first stopped playing soccer, I taught circuit classes at the local YMCA. I trained one woman who was an incredible warrior for Jesus. Outside of class we would often pray for each other and encourage each other in faith. One day I had the class end our time in a minute long plank. My sweet friend Tracey said, “Oh, you mean one minute of prayer?”. I was obviously confused. But then she explained that planks were her time to pray. Her reasons: She couldn’t really talk. And it was painful. So she would pray during that time!! She said it was the only way to get through it and take the focus off of the pain.
Every time you are doing fitness, specifically an exercise that is isometric and you must hold it for a sustained time, use that as a time to pray!!
3. Pray during the national anthem
Now… I want you to respect the flag and this country, of course!!
But what if we spent this time thanking God for our country! Thank God that we are able to play soccer. Thank God that you are in a country where girls get to play soccer freely. Thank God for the incredible opportunity to play for the school you are playing for. I wonder how different a game might be if you entered into it with a rush of thankfulness!
4. Do a prayer walk before practice or a game.
I need to do a SHOUT OUT to Claire Matthews, my best friend and co-captain of my college soccer team. Our senior year, we would go out to the track on the night before a game, and walk and PRAY. We would often pray silently. Sometimes we would pray out loud. Sometimes we would actually talk about things that were really on our mind concerning soccer or the team, and then we would pray about that.
Girls. This made the field SACRED. When I would walk by the field the next morning on the way to class, it would remind me of the prayer time, and it would bring me back to focusing on God and prayer. This is a must. Pray walks are sacred.
5. While you are stretching, talk to a Christian teammate if you have one.
Talk about what God has shown you that day. Talk about a prayer request you have for THAT practice or THAT game. Bring God into your conversation and together you will be able to check in at the end and pray throughout for yourself and for one another. Bring God into your relationship as teammates.
6. Find Christian pump up music!!
Girls. I’m serious. The Christian music is only getting better (My personal opinion). Have you ever listened to a pump up song before practice or a game, and then sung it in your head during the warm up or while you were playing? Imagine if the words to that song were about God! You would be singing to him and about him while you play your sport!
What an amazing way to remember God on the field! Sometimes when I am at church and am having trouble focusing on the message or even on God at all, when the music starts and I sing the words, it has the power of reaching my heart in a more direct way. Why not bring that same impact into your sport? Some examples to look up: Lacrae, Hillsong Young & Free, Hollyn, Rend Collective
7. Write Bible Verses or Encouraging Words on Your Hand
When I was a senior, I has some serious issues with my feet. Plantar Fasciitis was RAGING and I was always fighting through the feeling of knives in my heals. It was a hard season. But I had a girl on my team that would write on my hand: Move Mountains. Every time I looked down, I would see these words and I would remember that with God, I could move mountains. It would encourage me to keep going! What is God wanting to remind you during this season?
Okay, I just listed SEVEN pretty simple ways to practice the presence of God on the field! Now I need your help. Let’s make this list longer. I’d love to create a guide to share to all female Christian athletes! Post in the comments below!! We are a FAM after all :)
Hey FAM! I work for Fellowship of Christian Athletes where I specifically run a soccer ministry. I coach soccer all over Orange County and work with female athletes of all ages. I grew up in Southern California and played soccer at Point Loma Nazarene University where I studied exercise science and theology. My passion is to encourage others and bring them closer to Jesus! I also love all things my husband, Lakers, and the ocean!