by Cory Waddell, Bear Valley church of Christ, Denver, CO (This article from the Bear Valley church’s Daily Bread email struck me as worthy of being shared and considered – DR)
“To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints, and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel…” Ephesians 6:18b-19
On January 2, during the NFL’s Monday Night Football broadcast, Bills’ player Damar Hamlin (24) collapsed from cardiac arrest after making a tackle during the first quarter. After several minutes of onfield CPR, he was taken to the hospital where he remains in ICU. In the face of such a scary, tragic event, it has been heartwarming to see so many people turn their eyes heavenward to pray for this young man’s life. It began on the field and has continued to social media and even broadcast TV. One of the most impressive expressions of support came from ESPN commentator Dan Orlovsky. In a moment of true boldness, Dan openly prayed for Damar on live television. (You can watch it at https:// www.foxnews.com/video/6318161264112.
The fact that the prayer happened at all made my jaw drop, especially on a station that is particularly non-religious. Yet it was Orlovsky’s whole demeanor that was particularly impressive to me. Leading into the prayer, he said, “I heard the Buffalo Bills organization say that we believe in prayer, and maybe this is not the right thing to do, but it’s just on my heart and I want to pray for Damar Hamlin right now. I’m going to do it out loud, I’m going to close my eyes and bow my head, and I’m just going to pray for him.”
As I’ve reflected on the whole exchange, a few things stand out:
1. Boldness is not inherently combative. I suspect many Christians have come to equate being bold for Christ as being loud and boisterous. Perhaps that makes sense in a time when we see numerous examples of folks popping off on social media or other venues. Yet, Orlovsky demonstrates that boldness is very effective when we stay calm, concise, and simply act in the way we should.
2. Boldness is respected. A neat shot during the video is when the camera pans out to show the trio of panelists and both of Orlovsky’s cohosts have their heads bowed and are joining him in prayer. I know nothing about either of their beliefs, but the fact that they joined him says they respected the way he shared this faith moment with the world.
3. We need more boldness from Christians. Imagine what kind of impact we could have in our workplaces and communities if we all displayed a similar calm, reassuring confidence where we live every day. How might others be affected if we simply prayed in open spaces when tragedy struck? Whose hearts could we reach if we let the name of God issue from our lips instead of keeping it only for the private moments or Sundays? It doesn’t mean we pick a fight, act “highand-mighty,” or be a “holy-jerk” about our belief in God. It means we simply do what needs to be done, without being afraid of what anyone else will say.
Paul implored the Ephesians to pray that he would share Jesus boldly wherever he went. Maybe we need to lift the same prayer for each other today. Pray that in 2023 we don’t shrink in fear of the evergrowing animosity towards faith. Pray that God’s Spirit fills us with confidence to speak truth, pray openly, and love others fully. Pray that we can have boldness.