This blog is excerpted from a five-day devotional I wrote for Sports Spectrum, available on YouVersion. Each day’s entry features video reflections from NFL stars, including Drew Brees, Ryan Tannehill, Matthew Slater, Matt Forte, and Demario Davis. They discuss topics such as the daily refreshment of God’s Word, prayer, salvation, baptism and the courage to tell others about Jesus. Below each video, I share some additional reflections.
Here are some insightful reflections from NFL quarterback Ryan Tannehill about prayer and our relationship with God.
I confess to struggling to maintain long periods of prayer. However, over the years God has graciously taught me about praying and depending on Him continuously. As I hear requests, I often pray immediately so I don’t forget. My wife Nanci and I pray together, sometimes on the phone, as we hear about needs throughout the day.
I ask God to give me divine appointments wherever I go, and prompt me to see needs I can meet. I want prayer to be an adventure in which I enter God’s presence and become absorbed with Him. Just as we need to hear from God in His Word, we need to talk to Him, so communication is two-way.
Ryan put it so well: “Prayer plays a crucial role in any relationship with God…it’s your life-line. Once you have that tight feeling with God, you don’t want to feel anything else. He’s such a fulfilling God, a loving, giving Father that we don’t deserve…when you get a taste of it, you just want more!”
Sometimes when I’m praying, I pull out a chair and imagine Jesus sitting in it (He not only sat in chairs; He also built them!). Then I talk to Him. I’m not pretending Jesus is with me; I’m believing His promise that He really is with me. Contemplate the reality of your Father in Heaven, Christ your Savior, and the Holy Spirit your Comforter and Teacher, and you’ll find rich meaning in the phrase “spending time with God.”
No matter how busy I was, my kids were always welcome to come and talk with me. It’s the same with my grandkids today. A king’s advisers hesitate to interrupt him, but his children have unlimited access. Since our King is all-knowing, He can hear each prayer as if you or I were the only ones praying in the whole world. “Whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help” (Hebrews 4:16, CEV).
The more conscious our dependence on Christ, the more we’ll “pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18). We can’t spend time with many of the world’s famous people, and I think they’d disappoint us if we could. We can, however, spend time with God daily. He loves us so much that He gives us constant access and always listens with genuine interest. To “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) isn’t an impossible chore but an ongoing delight.