Written by Ian on 30/07/10
When it comes to rugby, New Zealand stands tall - the All Blacks are one of the most accomplished and feared Rugby teams in the world, truly awesome to watch at their best.
• But NZ football is a different story!
Although many New Zealanders play for fun, there is no professional football league or football competition in NZ.
• The national team (the All Whites) consequently haven't really made much impact over the years.
• They did make it to the world cup once before (1982), and also this year (2010).
It's the 2010 competition
• I want to write about.
It just happened I was in Christchurch at the time, attending Christchurch Chinese Church
• and talking with Pastor Jack Stuart.
• Now although I already knew that All Whites striker Rory Fallon was a Christian (it was actually reported in the newspaper here in Singapore), I found out a few other team members were too.
Ps Jack read out a newspaper article in church saying that the Christians
• encouraged the team to pray before their matches.
• They joined hundreds, if not thousands, of Christians paying for them across NZ.
• Specifically we were praying that the team would do well, and that we trusted the Lord to do something miraculous here.
• The idea was to glorify God - to show to the world that prayer works.
Now I have to admit a little scepticism here. I sat there thinking, "OK, that's good, but what's going to happen when NZ don't win the world cup.
• I mean, that is totally, completely not going to happen". What will God look like then?
Still, Ps Jack continued speaking.
• He showed a later newspaper report that said how one of the NZ goal scorers in the World Cup had - becuase of the persistent encouragement of some of his teammates - actually prayed the night before the match.
• In fact it was his first prayer to God since childhood. God listened: in the next match, this person scored, and kept NZ in the competition!
So one match.
• Big deal, I thought.
Now we all know who won the World Cup: Spain.
• So where does that leave God?
Well I would have said a little embarrassed, maybe?
• However I just caught a glance at a small newspaper story as I was leaving NZ that made me think again.
Not quite believing it, I checked, and it's true:-
The New Zealand All Whites were the ONLY unbeaten team in the 2010 World Cup.
• The final champions, Spain, actually lost their first match to Swizerland.
God delivered. He did do something miraculous, but not in the way I had expected.
• I assumed NZ would have to win the World Cup to remain unbeaten, but not so: God's praying team were never beaten and their prayers plus their hard work did that. But they weren't allowed to win the competiton - keeping them humble, and acknowledging the great skills, and prayers, of the Spanish team.
This is just one example of the millions of prayers that God is answering every day.
• God listens.
• When he sent his son to us, Jesus prayed to His father, and told us to do the same.
• God always listens, and always responds.
• It is almost never immediate, and in my experience is never ansered in exactly the way we expect, but He does always answer your need (rather than your specific words).
Don't believe in prayer?
• Then try it.
• If you do sincerely try it, you will be rewarded with an answer. How to try it?
• Just find a quiet place, think about the awesome God who created the universe, and now he is lsitening to you right now.
• Close your eyes and whisper, address him something like this:
• Lord, I am not sure if you really exist, but I'm willing to humble myself because if you are real, there are no other Gods but you.
• I want to know the truth: I ask you to please show me if you are real. I am open to hear you, and if I hear I promise that I will listen and respond.
But beware the consequence:
• once you know that He is real, and that He is the God who created the universe, sent his son to earth to die for our sins (and even if you are the only person alive, God would send Jesus to die just for you), life will never be the same for you.