A Specific Prayer for a Broader Purpose

By Chris Baxter

A very long time ago...about three and a half decades to be exact, I was a competitive swimmer for the University of Texas. Even though I had disappointments scattered throughout my career while there, I can also say that being part of three national championship teams was a privilege that I'll always cherish.

Back then, the rules were clear. The playing field was even.

However, not so today.

The women's NCAA swimming competition is currently being held in Atlanta Georgia. The pool is 25 yards for everyone, the starting blocks are all the same size, and the lane ropes are all equidistant from each other. Every swimmer there has trained more hours than anyone would want to count. All competitors have set both personal and team goals. It is an honor to be present on the pool deck.

There is one difference that has changed everything, however, and it is this: transgender swimmers will be diving into the water, racing next to women. I'm thankful for the people who are making a stand on this topic, using their immense knowledge and unique platforms to implore fairness in women's swimming, as well as in all of women's sports.

My skill set concerning this current agenda is prayer. (After all, I learned to pray as a swimmer. There's nothing quite like swimming back and forth, back and forth, moving with the rhythm of the water, pouring one's heart out to the One who listens...and cares...and answers.)

So, as these highly trained athletes are competing in Atlanta, I'm here in my den in Nashville, sitting quietly, tapping on my key board, lifting these swimmers up to the Lord.

Read this prayer, and if you believe it, pray it with me. You may not have any interest in swimming, but I would ask you to use this specific prayer for a broader purpose. It's about each one of us: God's desire is for our hearts to change, to follow him fully, and to be blessed in his truth.

Dear Lord,

You are Maker of heaven and earth.

You give life and breath. Our hearts beat and our minds think because of your permissive love. Thank you.

You don’t force us to follow you, rather you invite us to. Forgive us when we refuse.

We are living in a time that calls “wrong right” and “right wrong.”

You ask us to live by your wisdom because you know it is best for us, individually and collectively. The wisdom of the world only brings disorder and confusion, again, individually and then collectively.

Help us to realize that you alone are the soul answer to what we really desire; nothing else will suffice. Forgive us for seeking outer measures to gain inner peace.

You ask us to pray about everything and also to be fervent and specific when we talk to you. Thank you that you are not a God who is far away; rather, you are as near to us as our breath. You care deeply about our circumstances, individually and collectively. You want to work in ways that only you can so that people are drawn to you.

So today, we lift up every swimmer, coach, and official at the women’s NCAAs in Atlanta GA. You are there too. You know each individual by name, and there is not one person on the pool deck that you don’t love. Understanding your personal love draws our hearts to want your protective ways. You know how to make this situation right. We ask for your good and right way to prevail. Pour your divine peace into this human confusion. Use this swimming meet to launch what is right and just for all, specifically women's athletics. Make people courageous to fully follow your paths and speak about it. Bless those who are committed to you.

Your way is pure, not skewed.

Your truth is freeing, not binding.

You desire heart change for all of us.

Turn us back to you.

We ask this in the powerful name of Jesus. Amen.

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Daily Prayer

Disarming powers and authorities

And having disarmed powers and authorities, he (Christ) made a public spectacle of them triumphing over them by the cross. Colossians 2:15

Dear Lord Jesus,

There is no greater power than your own. All other authority and every stronghold has been overcome by your personal sacrifice on the cross. You took these to the grave and came out victorious. In the messiness of this life, as we live between the "now and not yet", help us to hold fast to this truth. Amen.