When I led the Cyclone Chapel service for the Iowa State football team several weeks ago, I wanted to give them a list of prayers they could select from that would be fitting to pray prior to football games.
I remember that when I was a player, we were always encouraged to pray before games if we so desired. The problem was that we were never given a list of prayers that might be good prayers. I would pray before each game I played in, but I found that my prayers were very fragmented and did not have very much focus associated with them. Even though my prayers weren’t stellar, God must have understood what I was asking for because i never suffered any major injuries during my career.
I wanted to give the current players the list I wish I had when I was a player.
When athletes pray prior to athletic competition, they usually pray for two things:
Protection from injury
- That God be glorified in what they do
As football players, they are going into real battle as they prepare for their football games. The contact is real, it is hard, and you better be ready or you will be left laying on the field wondering what in the world just happened.
Beyond athletic competition, we all face life battles at different times in our lives. Each day we are engaged in spiritual battle fighting off the devil and his temptations. It is important that we put on the armor God provides us to help have a fighting chance against Satan. Part of that armor is prayer. These prayers for protection are useful to each of us as we ask God for His protection in doing life.
Here is the prayer list that I gave to the Cyclone football team. These are some of the prayers that will be prayed in the locker room prior to the Cyclone football games this fall.
Prayers for Protection
17 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
1 I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
2 My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
3 He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;
4 indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
5 The Lord watches over you—
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
6 the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
7 The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.
18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.
11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.”
2 Thessalonians 3:3
3 But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.
1 John 5:19
19 We know that we are children of God, and that the whole world is under the control of the evil one.
1 Peter 2:9
9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.
9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.
2 Samuel 22:3-4
3 my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
from violent people you save me.
4 “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
and have been saved from my enemies.
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
32 “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.
5 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said,
“Never will I leave you;
never will I forsake you.”
10 So do not fear, for I am with you;
do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
17 no weapon forged against you will prevail,
and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High
will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you
from the fowler’s snare
and from the deadly pestilence.
2 Timothy 4:18
18 The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack and will bring me safely to his heavenly kingdom. To him be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
12 “At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.
1 John 5:18
18 We know that anyone born of God does not continue to sin; the One who was born of God keeps them safe, and the evil one cannot harm them.
7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble,
you preserve my life.
You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes;
with your right hand you save me.
1 Peter 5:6-7
6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30 And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.
11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation—
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life—
of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked advance against me
to devour me,
it is my enemies and my foes
who will stumble and fall.
3 Though an army besiege me,
my heart will not fear;
though war break out against me,
even then I will be confident.
22 Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.
5 Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
my hope comes from him.
6 Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
7 My salvation and my honor depend on God;
he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
8 Trust in him at all times, you people;
pour out your hearts to him,
for God is our refuge.
27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13
12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.
I would encourage each of you to print off these prayers and start each day by praying one of them to God. Do this for one week and see if you don’t see some difference in how your day goes. I think you will be surprised. I know that I was when I first did it.
Don’t be foolish and think that you can do life on your own. We all need God’s protection in our lives and it starts by asking Him for it.