Every game is a rerun. Tim Tebow is arguably the worst quarterback in the NFL for three quarters. And then he sneaks off to a phone booth before the fourth quarter and emerges as arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the league for the rest of the game. The Denver Broncos have won seven of their last eight games with Tebow at quarterback.
After every score Tim kneels to pray – an act now known as Tebowing. On the sidelines he can be seen “talking to himself” too, murmuring prayers throughout each game.
What is he praying?
Troy Polamalu, safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers, was asked once why he prays on the sidelines. He said he asks God to protect his body from injury, because football is a dangerous game, and to protect him from pride…because football is a dangerous game.
“Every Christian is to get to that point where they are in constant prayer with God,” Polamalu has said. “So that everything they do in thought and speech, in work is praising God.”
These are the two prayers of Tebow: “Thank you” and “protect me.”
Kneeling in the end zone after a touchdown, looking upward after a completed pass. This is gratitude. An acknowledgment that manna has fallen…again…underserved and miraculous.
What if Denver loses? Will Tebow thank God then?
Well, he has to lose before we can find out. And being such a consistent winner threatens humility so Tebow prays for protection: “Win or lose, give me the strength to honor you.” To not honor Tim Tebow. To not be thankful only in first place but also in last. Soul protection.
Many critics have scoffed at Tebow’s publicly practiced faith. But where else is a public figure to practice “constant prayer with God?” When one works in public how else is one to practice prayer at work?
And then there are those who laugh at the idea that God is involved in the outcome of a football game at all. But these are men who aren’t listening to what Tebow is praying. Tim Tebow isn’t asking God to beat the Patriots for him this weekend. According to his book, Tebow’s not so sure God cares about the score of a football game either. But he’s certain God cares about him. God cares about whether Tim’s noticing every gift he’s been given and concerned about representing God well.
And when Tim cares about what God cares about? Win or lose, that’s victory.
UPDATE: Will Tebow thank God when he loses? Now that the Broncos have lost to the Patriots we can answer the question. NFL.com has the answer.