This time we’re (not) praying to win!

Sunday, June 26, 2016 8:30 am
Reading Time: 2 minutes

From Eternity News

Since Easter Monday, there’s been an explosion of public prayer after matches across the NRL. Players grab other players and pray together in the middle of the field. Tim Mannah, who captains the Parramatta Eels, says he’s a huge fan of the post-game prayers.

“It sends a pretty strong message that we’re not shy about our faith and also that, in the end, regardless of what team we’re playing for and what result we get, we’re all brothers in Christ, with the same passion in life. We’re driven by the same thing.”

That “thing” is Jesus. And there’s a growing cohort of players across the NRL praying and reading the Bible together to glorify him on and off the field.


A weekly prayer meeting on Thursday nights is attended regularly by about 20 players from around Sydney’s NRL clubs, including players from the Sydney Roosters, Cronulla Sharks, West Tigers and Parramatta Eels. Jarryd Hayne too, who left the NRL at the peak of his career, drops in when he’s in town.

Mannah says he believes Christian players in the NRL have been “breaking stereotypes” over the last few years which, in turn, has made younger players more comfortable to be open about their beliefs.

“We’re really trying to encourage guys in the league to talk about their faith and not be quiet about it.”

The Wests Tigers also brought in a chaplain for the first time this season. Brenden Brown, a Hillsong pastor from Sydney’s inner west, took up the inaugural position and is learning on the job what it means to walk with the players in the ups and downs of the footy season.

“Athletes are normal, everyday people. But they are in the spotlight and everybody wants something from them: the sponsors, the fans, the club,” Brown tells Eternity. “But as the chaplain, I don’t want anything from them. I’m not there to ask them a favour or take anything. I’m only there to support them.”

Tim Mannah also said, “But the thing that I’ve loved is that they don’t pray to win. They play to win, but they pray to trust that God will protect them and that Jesus would somehow be seen in their lives.”

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