Last week’s frightening moments of Damar Hamlin’s collapse on the field at the Bills-Bengals Monday Night Football match, made me more aware of the importance and frequency with which people are talking about prayer. It’s so refreshing to see ESPN talk about God and prayer.
First, check out Dan Orlovsky, ESPN’s football analyst, heartfelt Tuesday prayer to Hamlin.
This is not a half-hearted, boilerplate prayer. Orlovsky was a devout Christian and prayed for peace, healing, comfort, and relief in a way viewers could see what he meant.
After his prayer on air, Orlovsky said to the Associated Press that “it was in my heart.” “The more we pray the more Damar may emerge from it.”
On Tuesday, Buffalo Bills fans also held a prayer vigil outside the stadium where Hamlin plays home games.
Bills fans holding a prayer vigil for Damar Hamlin and his family outside Highmark Stadium here in Buffalo. pic.twitter.com/pjXqj7eP3k
— Mike Giardi (@MikeGiardi) January 3, 2023
It is refreshing to see other ESPN personalities talk about faith and prayer lately. When it showed Hamlin watching Bills games with family members, the network used an emoji that said “praying hands”
Damar Hamlin taking in the Bills game from the hospital 🙏
— ESPN (@espn) January 8, 2023
The reliably awake NFL is trying to get in on Saturday night’s action, sort of. Here’s a tweet taken before Saturday’s game.
— NFL (@NFL) January 8, 2023
NFL, that’s a great effort. However, people don’t usually get down on their knees to think. However, it is possible that the NFL was confused by the act not performed in protest.
Before the prayer, Booger McFarland, an ESPN analyst, said, “It’s an incredible deal for both teams.
After the prayer, Suzy Kolber, host, commented: “What a powerful moment!”
McFarland responded, “You know Damar Hamlin. If he has shown us anything, it’s that he’s shown how we as a people can unite, regardless of race, religion, or creed, to pray for one another.” “There are so many lessons we have learned from Damar Hamlin over the past few days, and we are so happy that he is doing well.”
As Hamlin fell on the field, medics began to pray. Bills Coach Sean McDermott encouraged each team’s athletes to pray for Hamlin.
McDermott acknowledged in a press conference, that his faith and commitment to prayer helped him and his team through difficult times.
He said, “I am a Christian man from the beginning and I don’t hesitate to say that.”
Paul Putz, Baylor University assistant director of Faith & Sports Institute, told the Associated Press that in times of tragedy, sports fans have turned to prayer. He said the prayerful response to Chuck Hughes’s 1971 death on the field was similar to Hamlin’s prayers.
Putz stated, “In 1971 Chuck Hughes — people were responding to prayer.” “In 2023, when this happens to Hamlin,” Putz said. It’s amplified now and scaled up by social media.
He said, “I believe that over time, we’ll realize what this signified and what it highlighted about religion and sports, both of which have been ongoing for a long while.”
Hamlin also acknowledged the importance of all prayers in his recovery.
The love is felt, & extremely real. No matter race or religion everybody coming together in prayer! 🙏❤️
— 𝐃𝐚𝐦𝐚𝐫 𝐇𝐚𝐦𝐥𝐢𝐧 (@HamlinIsland) January 8, 2023
Although it’s too soon to know if the emphasis on prayer will be retained by so many of those who rallied around Hamlin’s cause, wouldn’t it make sense? Over the weekend, I told someone that it would be amazing if this Hamlin situation led to a revival here. It’s possible, although I don’t believe it’s probable. God can use any means to bring glory to Himself.
Someone like me who believes in theology could rail against others who don’t share my beliefs. But history has shown that people will turn to God when they are in crisis. People can pray for NFL players to help them believe in God. Prayers for Hamlin can help someone get to the point of faith.
Damar Hamlin’s terrifying collapse has led to more people praying. It’s good that more people are praying for God, regardless of their concerns or needs.