Imagine a game where your team only played defense. In basketball, you could keep the ball away from your goal, but no one on your team would shoot. In baseball, you could strike everyone out, but your team never got a runner home. Could you win the game with only good defense?
When I was in 8th grade, I made the girls’ varsity basketball team—the Meadow Glade Mustangs. I wore my number-five jersey with pride, but also a little fear because I had only played basketball in P.E. class. Now people would be watching—mostly just our parents, but also the boys varsity. It was enough to feel the pressure. Unfortunately, I don’t think I was the only one struggling with my junior high confidence on the court, because there were probably only about two or three on our team who weren’t afraid to shoot the ball. This made for a pretty lame season—we lost every single game. (We did tie a couple times just so we could lose in overtime). We were often told we had “good defense,” but that didn’t make us feel better. The fact was, as we well learned, that good defense without good offense doesn’t win the game.
Imagine a prayer life that has solid defense, but weak on offense. It’s probably not too hard to imagine, because that’s how most of us pray. Sometimes it seems like our prayers are just enough to keep our heads above water, or like it’s the only thing we have to offer on behalf of a struggling friend or family member. There is nothing wrong with that—we need strong defense. And God loves to take our burdens and help us trust in His care. But if our prayers are only about defense, we might forget our ultimate purpose as Christians—to win people’s hearts for Jesus.
What if we practiced up on our “prayer offense” and started to take on enemy territory? What if we prayed for more open doors and miracles for the sake of the Gospel than for the sake of our own comfort? Somehow I think we can’t even imagine the possibilities of what God could do. But I am pretty sure the win would be glorious—much greater than any junior high basketball victory. Anybody else ready to find out?
*About every other week, we send out a short devotional to our volunteers. This was written by Andrea Keele, and sent on April 14, 2015.