The confetti has dropped, the trophies have been presented, the celebrations have quieted and the M.O.P award has been given. March Madness, the Big Dance, the NCAA men’s basketball tournament is concluded. Louisville defeated Michigan in one of the best finals seen in several years. Luke Hancock, a reserve player for the Louisville Cardinals, was awarded the Most Outstanding Player in the finals. In the final game he scored 22 points, was 5 of 6 from the field and 5 for 5 beyond the arc. He is the first non-starter in tournament history to win this award. There is one more award that Luke should have received, The Most Outstanding Prayer.
On March 31, Kevin Ware, an outstanding player for Louisville, came down awkwardly after attempting a jump shot during in the Midwest Regional’s game. He experienced a compound fracture of his leg that placed everyone who saw it in instant shock. Luke Hancock’s response was to go to his friend’s side and pray with him. When asked later what he told Kevin, he said simply that “I told him I loved him.” Kevin’s response to his friend’s actions was to become calm and at peace. He then instructed his coach and other teammates to go out and win the game. Kevin Ware’s surgery was completed in time for him to be on the sidelines with his teammates to root them on through the Final 4 in Atlanta. When the nets were cut down, the goal was lowered, and Kevin cut the final strand.
Philippians 4:5-7 5 Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand.6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; 7 and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. (NKJV)
Paul instructed the Philippians to respond to anxiety with the usage of prayer and supplication. He wanted their requests to be made with thanksgiving to God. Then, here comes the kicker, he promised that the peace that makes no sense will guard their hearts and minds. The incident on March 31 created extreme anxiety in everyone that was close to Kevin. Luke Hancock did not have to think about what to do because he had trained for just this moment. He already knew where to take not only his anxieties but also those of his injured friend and teammates. He did not produce some Jedi mind trick or give Kevin some power of positive thinking speech; he prayed with him and he loved him. The supernatural peace that Kevin experienced spread to his other teammates and family members. Yes, there is one more award for Luke Hancock and that is the Most Outstanding Prayer. I mentioned that Luke had trained for this occasion. His father is struggling with a serious life threatening illness. His family has learned to live by faith in God and through an active prayer life.
We can all learn from Luke Hancock. How do you respond to anxiety or crisis? Do you look to self reliance or casting your cares upon Him? Have you been practicing walking in faith and constant prayer? Have you practiced loving those around you that have fallen? I counsel individuals on a daily basis that have loved ones trapped in sexual sin. They feel powerless in affecting change regarding their rebellious loved one. I think Luke Hancock just gave a great model for how to help our sexually fallen loved ones. Love and pray for them and when they experience hurt from their sexual sin then pray with them. Some athletes experience broken bones and continue to play through their pain. At some point the pain increases and they have to see a doctor, who through the assistance of an x-ray tells them their bone is broken. Such is the case with people in rebellion through sexual sin. They don’t know they are broken and need the Great Physician. If you are the loved one of this person, then pray that God will show them the need for His healing. You can be that Most Outstanding Prayer person but it takes practice.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-17 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, (NKJV)
By David Jones, Executive Director