The Power of Prayer, for Everyone

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

James 5:13-16

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that the people we see on TV are real people just like us, with real problems and real pain. Athletes and those involved in professional sports seem especially prone to this perception; their private lives, unlike those of celebrities, only occasionally play out in the public eye for all to see. We experience the high highs and the low lows they endure on the field and sometimes forget that they have lives off the field, too.

But this week, Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia. It was a sobering reminder that life is hard sometimes – for everyone. No matter who you are or what you do.

Since I’m both a fan of the NFL and a follower of Christ, I feel like it’s time to do more than just cheer for my team on Sundays. I’d like to go a bit deeper than that and start praying for the people who make up the league that I love. They play such a significant role in my day-to-day life even though we are complete strangers, so why not actively value them by lifting them up in prayer?

I’m not sure if this will become a regular blog feature or not, but for today, if you are a praying person, maybe you’d like to join me in praying for these people. (And if you or someone you know of would like to be added to the list, by all means let us know in the comment section! We’d love to pray for you, too.)

Chuck Pagano

From SB Nation:

News came yesterday regarding Pagano’s condition after he had reportedly complained of fatigue and bruising dating back to the preseason. Both of these symptoms are potential signs of leukemia, a type of cancer of the blood or bone marrow, and tests conducted last week, while the Colts were on a bye, confirmed the specific diagnosis of APL [acute promyelocytic leukemia].

Greg and Kara Olsen

From ESPN:

Olsen’s wife is pregnant with twins, but one of the children has been diagnosed in utero with a heart defect known as HLHS. (Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.) The child, who will be named T.J., already has been scheduled for three surgeries, including one shortly after birth. His chances for survival are up to 70 percent. 

Tony Corrente

From Peter King:

Corrente checked into the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston the day after his final game of the 2011 season — the Detroit-New Orleans Wild Card game — for treatment of a thumb-sized malignant tumor at the base of his tongue, where it connects with the back of his throat. He had 13 chemotherapy treatments and 33 zaps of radiation in a short period, to attack the tumor aggressively. Doctors told him if the tumor had been discovered as little as three weeks later the news would have been very dark for him. But they began treatment in time, and in the spring, they found that the tumor was under control. He’s had two thorough checkups since, and both have given him a clean bill of health.

Eric LeGrand

From ESPN: