If you missed part 1 click here.
In January 2009, the Panthers were in the playoffs again. They’d won a first round bye and had home field advantage. Their game against the Arizona Cardinals started well, with a score on their first drive. Then the Cardinals scored 33 unanswered points, while the Panther’s offense sputtered with fumbles and interceptions. The final score was 33-13. “Lord,” I thought, “You know I’ve learned my lesson about honesty in prayer. Why are they getting drubbed again?”
There was no hesitation this time about practicing what I’d learned. And the Lord brought to mind another aspect. He led me to pray for Jake Delhomme, the Panthers’ quarterback. While it is true that I’ve been watching football since before he was born, he didn’t need to hear from me to know he’d had a bad game. While I was disappointed in the game, he must feel devastated. What was it like to have a really really bad day on nationwide TV? Then to have reporters wanting to know how bad you felt and fans clamoring for your resignation? I didn’t know, and I hope I never have to find out. But I could attempt in my prayers to echo the compassion of Christ towards him, and I did.
That next morning before going to church, I posted a Facebook note about my 2006 prayer lesson, the previous nights disappointment, and a prayer for Jake Delhomme that the Lord would comfort him and that we fans would be merciful in our disappointment. At church that morning, I felt joy that my note had pleased God.
This year, the Panthers have an 0-5 start. Jake is with the Cleveland Browns this year, and they’re at 1-4 (and Jake's been injured and hasn't played much). Before the season started, I had a daydream that the Panthers would meet the Browns for the NFC championship. It doesn’t look like that will happen–the Lord continues to work in mysterious ways. But I have a warm spot in my heart for the Panthers and for Jake Delhomme, they have been God’s agents in teaching me a good lesson: Honesty to God in prayer about what we are feeling is a good thing.