My first game after being called back (the third time) to the 49ers this season, I woke up and started journaling and talking to God. “OK God,” I prayed. “I know I’m not playing, but what do You want from me today?” I had played over 50 snaps earlier in the season, but at that point I was stuck sitting and watching. I wasn’t going to stay still. “How do You want me to move in this space?”
After that prayer, I felt the Spirit of the Lord speak to me, telling me I should lead the team prayer before the game. But why would I do that? I hadn’t been there the whole season. Surely everyone would think, “Who is this guy?” But again, I felt the Spirit’s nudging.
“OK,” I thought, “I’m going to test this and see if it’s just my head talking, or the Spirit.” So I texted Richard Sherman, the pulse of the locker room. If Richard says you’re going to be the one praying, you pray. I texted Richard letting him know that though it may sound weird, I would love to lead the team prayer that day. I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes, but if no one was in place for it, I’d do it. He texted back and said that Marquise Goodwin had been doing it all season, but since he was out for rehab, no one was planned. “It’s all yours!” he said.
Suddenly I had all the confirmation I needed. And that’s been my role since returning to the team. I competed in practice, helped the defense get better, loved on the guys, and led the team prayer before games.
When people hear you went to the Super Bowl, their first question is, “Did you play?” But anyone who has ears to hear will understand that God has a different purpose for me on this journey. God isn’t paying attention to how much playing time you get or what the score is, He cares about the hearts of those we play with.
I don’t know that God really cares about football, but I know He cares about people. I also know He’s always going to get the glory, whether we choose to give it to Him, or He brings it about in another way. So when I pray, I always open up with thanksgiving to God — this is how Jesus taught us to pray. I pray for the guys’ health, and I pray for their boldness, that they would go out and play a game with no regrets.
God always knows what’s going to happen. He knows who’s going to win the Super Bowl and who’s going to be joining the parade. God gave us a choice to go out and play, and He gave us the choice to give Him all the glory. I pray that every man on that field does both to the best of his ability.
We already have the victory in Jesus, and no other victory can satisfy your soul. But this game is a gift, so let’s enjoy it.
— Jordan Matthews, San Francisco 49ers wide receiver
Jordan Matthews is a regular contributor to The Increase, providing monthly articles and opinions. Check out Jordan’s Increase profile: https://theincrease.com/author/jordan-matthews/
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