Recently, I was honored to be asked to give the invocation at the dedication ceremony for the new locker room facilities to be built at Loftin Stadium in Pacheco Park. This new facility replaces the previous set that had been condemned and removed. It will serve the football teams, as well as other athletes, who compete at the stadium.

What does one pray for when asking God’s blessing for such a facility?

First, pray God’s blessings on all the athletes who participate in activities there regardless of whom they represent. While some modicum of bodily wear and tear is expected and normal, we ask that no catastrophic injuries occur in practice or competition.

Ask God that the Spirit fill each person with the wisdom to learn from participation. Learn to trust their fellow teammates and be a teammate who can be trusted. Most of the athletes using this facility will be students. The bonds one builds as team members are ones that have a potential to last a lifetime.

Pray that every competition is a learning experience in how to conduct oneself in adversity. In sports, there is the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, as ABC Wide World of Sports once told us each Saturday. Athletes need to be able to handle both. One needs to learn to control emotions during the competition also. Learn to remain in control without letting anxieties take over and govern our actions. “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.” Philippians 2:3

Coaches and other responsible for the athletes should have prayers said for them, that God’s Spirit fill them with wisdom to teach an honest sense of being competitive. See to their well-being, both physical and mental. Instill respect for their team members and their competitors. Let them all remember the scripture in Ephesians 4:29, “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.”

May God’s Spirit see that the game officials enforce those rules even and fairly for all competitors.  May those officials oversee sport that all can be proud of participating in. As it is written in 2 Timothy 2:5, “An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”

Finally, may those who come as boosters and spectators be filled with a positive attitude toward all involved on the field, whether athlete, staff or official. Let them celebrate or commiserate without violent action or rhetoric. Let them be supportive of all regardless of outcomes. Colossians 4:6 “Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”

From these I built a prayer to dedicate the facility. May God use His guiding hand as it is constructed, that the facility is built well and become something our community can use with pride.

The Westside Express