I love it and this afternoon, I’ll watch it. Sometimes I am intensely glued to the screen and other times it is just white noise. The intricate plot of a well written movie requires silence and total concentration as the viewer tries to predict the outcome.

Football is social to me.

Any significant play can be re-viewed in the guaranteed replay, many times in slow motion and multiple camera angles. Some people take it far too seriously. It’s not a matter of life and death and the wellbeing of the world around us is not dependent on the NFL and certainly not the CFL.

Every once in a while, I over engage. In the hope deprived recesses of this football fan’s heart, there is an undeclared flicker that believes, perhaps … maybe one day the Bills will be the Super Bowl Champs rather than the Super Bowl Chumps. Most of the time they are just too painful to cheer for.

I can’t remember ever praying for the outcome of a game. I’ve seen it though. Entire teams taking a knee. Genuflection can be fashionable on the grid iron. I seriously doubt whether God has ever answered a prayer for victory on a football field … and I am unsure as to whether or not He even enjoys the association let alone the idea that an athlete’s success brings Him glory, any more than an athlete’s failure.

I don’t think God takes sides. People do pray silly prayers for victory … on both sides. I think He loves people, without thinking about winners and losers and faith franchises.

It is a picture of life though.

Every single game. You can fill in your own details. Every game is a new slate. Sometimes the losers win and sometimes the winners lose. Anything can happen. Sometimes injuries take people out of the game and sideline them forever. There is injustice. There are dirty hits. No one celebrates character over success. Coaches are fired for lack of success and successful coaches are tolerated for lack of character. Bad calls happen and are not always overturned. Arrogance is celebrated by times. There are murderers that we cheer for if they wear the right jerseys. We know this to be true. The franchises with the biggest bank accounts buy the best players and sometimes the biggest egos. Sometimes the greatest plays ride on the backs of people who make critical blocks or play a role that is unobserved or run diversionary routes. The camera follows the ball but that never tells the whole story.

You get it. It is as messy as life itself.

So I watch it for what it is.

This palaver began with the idea of “prayer” in mind. I have a dear cousin who is wrestling with the idea that there are so many of our prayers that don’t seem to be answered as our spiritual senses would suggest they should be.

Tomorrow you can read the scores of every game that will be broadcast today but you won’t know a thing about the stories unfolding in the lives and homes in which the contest is observed. You won’t know the back stories of the players. The point is that there is far more going on than what you see. Much of what you don’t see may be more interesting and definitely more important than what you do see.

When you pray about your life game, that perspective may be a good one to hold on to. There is more going on than what you see. God doesn’t take sides, no matter how right you think you may be or how justified, non-biased or selfless your prayers may seem. The victory dance that you do in the end zone may not bring Him the glory that you imagine. The cameras may not always follow you. You might be hurt and sidelined. Perhaps you may be found out for the things that you have gone to such lengths to hide and you may have a price to contritely pay in the here and now. God won’t make you a winner by making someone else a loser.

So dear cousin … this is a start relative to prayer … just a rough beginning with the gods of football who are as human as we are.