On the first day of Training Camp, TUFF held its inaugural Prayer Walk for the Taylor Trojans. Tisha Bartu organized the Walk and shares a reflection on the day's experience below. You are encouraged to download the Player Prayer Requests and Scriptures shared during the Walk and continue praying for this amazing group of young men!
On Monday, August 13th, after dropping off our boys at Taylor University for the start of Football Camp, we as parents had the opportunity to meet together and begin to form relationships with each other. We were there to be encouraged, informed, and guided on how these next few months and years will play out as parents of Taylor University Football players. Each of us I am sure, felt a little apprehensive, nervous, excited, hopeful… maybe with a lump in our throat and tears stinging in the back of our eyes. It didn’t matter if this was the first time to drop off our sons or the 4th, dropping off our boys and entrusting them into the care of someone else can fill us with many emotions. Most of us have watched our boys play football since they were little – watching their games since they were kindergarteners playing flag football! We have cheered them on through the highs and low, wins and losses, struggles and victories. We have watched them as they matured into young strong men and successful football players. But on this day we were passing off our boys into the hands of the Taylor coaches, entrusting them to care for, train up, and guide them as they take these next steps into adulthood.
“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:11-13
I believe wholeheartedly in prayer. I know that God can do amazing things when we allow Him to come into our worlds and trust Him with what we are facing. Take the true story of George Mueller, an evangelist on his way to Quebec for an event via steamship. There was heavy dense fog and Mueller was told he wouldn’t make it to Quebec on time for his engagement. Upon hearing the news, George told the captain “If your ship cannot take me, God will find some other way, for I have never missed an engagement in fifty-seven years. Let’s go down to the chartroom and pray.” The captain responded to him saying, “Do you realize how dense the fog is?” “No,” Mueller replied. “My eye is not on the dense fog but on the Living God, who controls every circumstance of my life.” George then knelt down and prayed one of the most simple prayers the captain had ever heard. George then proceeded to tell the Captain that he believed that the Lord had heard his prayer and that He would answer. As the Captain got up and opened the door, indeed the fog was gone! George Mueller did make it to Quebec on time for his meeting.
God has promised us in Jeremiah 29:13 that when we seek after Him that not only will He listen to our prayers, but we will find Him when we seek Him with all our heart! There are many things as parents that we pray for when it comes to our children. Their health and safety, their emotional well-being, how well they do in school and society, but most importantly their relationship with the Lord.
We as TUFF want to bathe our players, coaches, parents, and the season as a whole in prayer. We believe that God can not only answer our prayers for our sons, but that He can raise them up to be mighty men of God. God can answer even our simplest prayers and He will glorify Himself through our trust in Him alone. We can trust that He is watching over them and caring for them while they are away at Taylor. So at the end of our meetings on Monday we as parents had the privilege to go on a Prayer Walk.
At the start of our Prayer Walk, Beth Guckenberger (pictured here with son, Evan, WR, class of 2020) led us in a devotion on the power of prayer. She told a story of an orphanage in Mexico that one day ran out of food. Instead of calling the Guckenbergers (who were in Mexico at the time and likely able to provide some support), the director of the orphanage gathered the children and asked them to pray that God would provide their dinner that night. A small child interrupted the prayer to ask what kind of dinner God could bring. He continued to ponder that because God is so powerful, He would probably not just bring rice and beans… but probably meat. In fact… maybe even steak! Beth shared with us this heart-warming, encouraging story of how God DID answer this prayer and in fact, did provide these hungry children with all kinds of steak that very evening!!
After our devotion we divided into four groups and headed out across the campus to pray over our team. Each group went to different locations where they found envelopes that were filled with anonymous prayer requests from our players. They included prayer requests in the areas of spiritual growth, academics, future plans and the upcoming school year, social life, and prayers for the season as a whole. We had the opportunity to pray over them with scriptures that were provided and come together as small groups to lift up these individual prayer requests.
Honestly, it was so encouraging and uplifting to come together in that way and set the tone for the rest of the season. We ended our Prayer Walk on the field by surrounding our players and coaches in a circle and we prayed with them. Then the players, parents, and coaches headed over to a delicious tailgate on the patio of the LaRita Boren Center.
I hope you will continue to join with me to pray over our team throughout the season and to trust that God is working in the hearts of them!