“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6
In college, I had the chance to play football at Baylor University. I was never considered a starter during my entire time on the team. I did, however, get to “start” and play in many games, but it was always because someone got hurt. During my sophomore year, we had a senior who played my position, so I was his backup for most of the season. Without the pressure of performing on Saturday, I felt the Lord calling me to start praying with my teammates before our games. I must confess, though, that I was terrified at the idea. I was nervous that people would think it was weird. I was worried that guys would get angry, but I knew I should do it.
Before one of our first home games of the 2018 season, in the locker room, I resolved that I would pray with the guys before the game. I was close to some of the guys on the team, so it would have been relatively easy for me to ask them if I could pray for them. However, I did not just want to pray for my friends on the team; I wanted to pray for anyone and everyone that would let me, but again, I was terrified.
So, I devised a plan to help me overcome my fear. I identified who I believed to be one of the scariest players on the team. He was a lineman that weighed about 300lbs and looked like he could eat
me for breakfast. I thought, “If I can pray with that guy, I can pray with anyone here.” I then took a leap of faith, walked up to this guy, and asked him if I could pray with him before the game. To my surprise, he agreed, and we prayed together in front of his locker. An even bigger surprise than him agreeing to let me pray for him was that it wasn’t so scary after all, so I prayed for another guy and another.
By the end of my career at Baylor, I estimate I prayed well over 1,000 pregame prayers with my teammates (Not to mention my head coaches during my junior and senior years). Through these prayers, I got to make sure that my teammates repeatedly heard the name of Jesus Christ. It became the norm for my teammates. I wouldn’t even have to say anything. I would approach their locker, and they would stop what they were doing. We would lock hands and pray. Sometimes people would not be in the locker room when I passed their locker, and it got to the point where some teammates would come up to my locker when they returned and look at me with frustration that I hadn’t come to pray for them yet!
Who would have thought that the Lord would use me—a small, underclassman, backup, walk-on, to accomplish His plan to make His name known on the football team? I did not feel perfectly equipped to do what I did. As I said, I was terrified. However, I allowed the Holy Spirit to lead me into battle against my fears, and I am so glad He did.
The command to fear not is written in Scripture 365 times. Satan often uses fear in our lives to stop us from stepping out in faith to do the Lord’s will. If I had listened to Satan’s lies, I might have never taken the leap of faith to pray for my teammates. There is a reason God tells us not to fear. “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the Lord your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6). All Christ-followers who have been saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone do not have to be afraid. We have the Holy Spirit, God Himself, living inside of us.
Do not be afraid to take a leap of faith to follow the Holy Spirit’s nudges in your life. You may not feel ready to do anything impressive, but the good news is God does not need you to be impressive. 1 Corinthians 1 reminds us that God often uses the weak to shame the strong. 2 Corinthians 12 reminds us that God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. God doesn’t need you to be impressive. God wants you to be willing and obedient when He calls you to do His will. Do not allow Satan and fear to stop you from following the Lord’s will. You can take the leap of faith into unknown places because the Holy Spirit is with you.
Questions for Thought
1. What causes us to listen to fear more than the call of the Spirit to do the Lord’s will?
2. What tactics might we use to overcome our fears and follow the Lord’s call on our lives?
Next time you feel the prompting of the Holy Spirit to act, take the leap of faith into what God has called you to do and trust the Lord to go with you into battle.
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College and Career Minister
Jay is a fourth-generation church member at First Baptist Dallas. He and his family have attended the church for over 100 years. Jay graduated
from Baylor University, where he played football and positively influenced those around him. Jay actively prayed for and shared his faith with members of the team and the coaching staff. He is married to Hannah Sedwick, who works at the church in the Communications Department. Jay is currently pursuing his ThM degree at Dallas Theological Seminary.