Eight Prayers for Your Athlete Boyfriend
Updated: Oct 19, 2020
The most important way to support your guy from the sidelines.
This post comes from a place of conviction and confession, let's be real with each other. It wasn't until I was introduced to the fires of September 2020, a year after we started dating, that I realized how important it is to have pointed and specific prayers for my boyfriend. Of course I have prayed for him through this past year and we have prayed together, but Ben is the first guy I've dated as a Christian, so to say we're trying to figure this out; how to honor the Lord and how to date well for the Kingdom, is honest.
A bit on Ben. He's the best guy I have ever met. He has faced challenge upon challenge in his baseball career and has shown immense perseverance. He is fresh off Tommy John rehab, drafted straight out of high school, and plays in the minor leagues with the Phillies. He works harder than anyone I know. He'd be uncomfortable with me bragging on him because he walks so humbly and gently. His love for Jesus is shown in the way he loves others. I don't think he has ever met a stranger. He is a glass half full type of guy. The Lord knew whoever was going to spend time on me would have to be.
Why the fires of September 2020? The Minor League season had long been canceled. All the months Ben was supposed to be down in the Clearwater sun finishing up his rehab was instead swapped for a Long Island grind. Something called Instructional League was in the works. We had no idea what was going to happen, an echo I've heard rumored throughout baseball life this entire time. It was my turn to bear that weight and I failed miserably. Pride and self-concern grew within me. I was anything but supportive and selfless. It hurts to admit it.
Leaving September behind, with plans for the next two months set in stone, I can look back on this past summer and the past month, by God's grace, with a contrite heart for the way my sin played out but a renewed vision for the future.
I'd argue it starts with prayer.
So, if you're like me and you're wondering how you can swap out self-pity and self-obsession with selfless, God-honoring prayer, I'd invite you to pray for your athlete boyfriend alongside me.
1. Pray that he would seek the Lord first
Dang. Once I was hit with the realization my biggest aim should be his growth in Christ as his sister in Christ, I was like what am I doing? When COVID-19 pushed us to opposite ends of the country and when his return to Clearwater was unknown, I had a tough time working that out in my heart and head. Because I struggle so bad with anxiety, he spends a bunch of time pouring into me, I almost forgot at times how he needs to be poured into, too.
Praying that Ben would seek the Lord first means my biggest want is for him to love God supremely, with his whole heart, his whole mind, his whole strength, and his whole life. This should be our honest prayer for those closest to us, believer or not, that the Lord would be, or come to be, their aim, their treasure, and their fire.
And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind." Matthew 22:37
2. Pray that he would desire more of Christ
Whether your boyfriend has been a follower of Christ for years or not, the same thing is true for us all, we all need more of Christ. There's no way we can grow while we're being stagnant. There's no way we can taste and see that the Lord is good and then cease wanting more of Him. When your boyfriend is on fire for the Lord, pray that fire would keep on burning.
Praying that your boyfriend would desire the Lord more and more means you want him to grow. Pray that he would grow in godliness, grow in his knowledge of God's Word and his hunger for it, and grow in his yearning to see the fruits of the Spirit in his life.
Praying for this doesn't mean that your boyfriend rarely wants more of Christ while you do. Pack up your pride, help me pack up mine too, and let's lay it aside. Your boyfriend should be praying this for you as well. Just like prayer mentioned above, we need to be increasingly aware of our need for God's grace amidst our brokenness and inability.
3. Pray that he would have godly community around him
Depending on the sport your boyfriend plays, what his seasons look like, if and when he travels, it could be hard for him to have solid community or be plugged into a local church. Pray that there would be other Christian players in his organization, on his team, and in his circles. Pray that this community would be life-giving to him. Pray that there would be biblically-sound opportunities for him within his sport/organization to learn from God's word. Pray that this is a community they can be open and honest in. Pray that your guy would be invested in his brothers and their walks of faith. Pray that these guys would edify him, too.
4. Pray for someone to disciple him and someone for him to disciple
Jesus called us to go and make disciples, promising that He would be with us until the end of the age. With such a bold and precious promise, we need to be praying that the Lord would use this opportunity to connect our guys to other guys. Dudes that are wiser and in different stages of life than ours and younger guys that our boyfriends can share their experiences with. Learning from others is great and they, honestly though, we, need to be teaching it to others as well. Pray that your boyfriend would be poured into and have someone to pour out on.
When they have those people, be praying for that relationship. Be praying for growth in both of their lives. Be praying for their friend’s marriages, their relationships, their kids, and their work. Be plugged into what the Lord is doing through them.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20
5. Pray that your boyfriend would use his athletic career to glorify God
This is so cool to me. Whatever season of life and sport your boyfriend is in, he has a platform to glorify Christ through what he's doing. He has his own little mission field with the people he is surrounded by. I know Ben usually sees all of the following people on a regular basis: teammates, coaches, clubhouse managers, facility maintenance workers, athletic trainers, nutritionists, mental strength coaches, hotel workers, physical therapists, and the list could probably go on. There's a unique pool of people he interacts with that I never will. Pray for real ways for your boyfriend to tangibly love, serve, and show Christ to the people around him. Pray that your boyfriend would be a light in the darkness. Pray that conversations would be shared because of how evident your guy's faith is and how dependent he is on Jesus, because of Jesus.
6. Pray for his conformity to Christ
There have been loads of perceptions I've had about athletes throughout my life, especially pre-salvation Maggie. Athletes can oftentimes get a bad reputation. Although the guys I've met lately have been amazing, it doesn't negate the lifestyle that may accompany an athlete. Pray that your boyfriend would flee temptation. Pray that he would lean on and seek Christ when locker room talk is crazy crazy. Pray that the way your boyfriend walks would be a witness of the love and goodness of God. Pray that your boyfriend's choices would spark conversation with other guys. Pray that he would become more like Jesus while living in a world that is anything but.
7. Pray for his physical and mental needs
Praying for spiritual welfare is of the utmost importance but your boyfriend's physicality is important, too. Due to my severe desire to stay so far away from a health and wealth prosperity gospel, it's hard for me to say anything outside of prayers for the spiritual. That's where my heart needs to adjust though. God listens to us, He hears us, and He cares for us. The Bible tells us in truth to pray without ceasing. If there's something on your mind, go to God about it. So, if Ben has a big bullpen tomorrow, is starting in a game, or there's some ailment or mental block going on for him, I'm going to go to God in supplication. I'm going to revere God for His goodness in whatever He decides to do but I'm going to pray to Him as my Father, knowing He is near to me. This includes prayers for my boyfriend's arm or for the outcome of a game.
Being connected to what your boyfriend has going on is not only a kind and intentional thing to do but it allows you to better pray for him in his endeavors.
... do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-8
8. Pray that his identity would be found in Christ
A big aspect of Ben's testimony is identity. When he had to get surgery, he was in a place of wondering, which is so often how the Lord draws us to Himself. Is there more to life than this sport? We could all insert something in the blank. Thankfully Christ rescued him there.
Pray that on the good days your guy's identity would be found in and fixed on Christ. Pray that on the bad days your boyfriend would be reminded how sure and steadfast our hope is in Jesus and that nothing can take that away. Pray that your guy would find joy in the fact his identity is secure and his future is certain.
Thankful is an understatement for the way God has moved in my brokenness over the last year. Ben has a weight to carry as an athlete that I will never understand. There's a mentality of diligence and self-control he has to have that requires something different, unknown to me. The Lord has equipped Ben to be so many things that I'm not, and for that I am grateful.
So what is my response? What is my response when the baseball season is confusing, when I don't know what's going on, when his stats are amazing, when his arm feels great or when his arm is hanging? I am imperfect. But my response, God willing, is prayer.
Lord, strip me of self-absorption. Seriously. Help me and whoever is reading this count others more important than ourselves. Help me to see the seasons of life the people around me are in and help me to pray for them earnestly. This is a task my heart is unwilling and unable to do on it's own. Sanctify me and make me more like you, Jesus. Thank You for being good, for being holy, for being gracious, for being willing, and for bringing lost people to yourself.
“Prayer—though it is often draining, even an agony—is in the long term the greatest source of power that is possible.” Tim Keller