What Does Scripture Really Say About Tebow’s Public Prayers?

Sometimes, it is hard to be a bystander. When the subject of God comes up, it can be maddening to watch so much spite and self-righteousness. When the primary message of love and compassion is lost in bitter words, I feel the need to speak up. It doesn't make me any better. God, forgive me when this angry side shows.

 My voice inside my head tells me God does not need anyone to defend Him, and I should not let these things get to me. But I'm human. This subject touches my heart, which only adds to the fervency. God, forgive my lack of constraint.
 
Today I want to share my latest collapse of spiritual composure. Before I tell you about this, I will tee it up and tell you that the topic is no stranger to the news, especially in sports and religious circles. Wait for it….
 
The public prayer of Tim Tebow. I know, not him again!
 
Even with all the bad behaviors that exist in a sport filled with egomaniacs, THIS bothers people. Even for those who are not Christians, is this something to loathe? The guy's got heart far beyond the 27 seconds of prayer he displays in the end zone. 
 
There are probably a long list of reasons that people get so bothered by this.  I can only guess. 
 
Maybe God does not need to be defended, but I feel the urge to defend such a God-fearing man. He probably doesn't need it either. It is just annoying, so I guess this is MY issue. 
 
However, what has tipped my feelings of annoyance to anger is when a Facebook conversation cited scripture to criticize this man. The basis of this stems from a passage in Matthew 6:5-6, which talks about public prayer.
 
I know anger is no solution and at some point I had to just step out of the conversation. In the end, it broke my heart. I was overwhelmed with sadness that the entire message of Jesus was missed. 
 
This message is sandwiched between other passages that tell us to “be the light” (Matt 5:14-16) and “not to judge” (Matt 7:1-5). Why was this ignored? Even I ignored it by participating in the debate.
 
When prayer does not come from the heart, but in vain to shine a light on you, that is hypocrisy. That is the meaning of this message in Matthew 6:5-6. That is not what Tim does.
 
Yes, I have never met the man and really have no idea was his intentions are. But I have been paying close attention to him and believe his heart is faithful. Without a doubt.
 
I love football, and I think Tebow is a man of great character, and brings positive energy to the sport. He has heart, ethics, unwavering faith, and a positive attitude.
 
Tim has been consistant in his faith long before he was drafted by the Broncos. His upbringing attests to that – his parents were missionaries and taught Tim about the bible since he was a young boy. 
 
He wore scripture under his eyes in college. He created a foundation that takes care of children all over the world. Yes, Tim prays silently to thank God. On the field. With cameras watching. But I am sure he prays in private as well. For the glory of God.
 
The media has made him into something beyond anything I have ever seen. I have never seen a man more loved and hated. No one is neutral about Tebow. He inspires passion and compassion from people all over the world. He also ignites hate and anger from others.
 
Truthfully, I don't believe that Tim prays because people are watching, I believe people are watching because he prays. 
 
In the end, my question to those who cite Matt 6:5-6 to judge or tattle-tail is: why? 
 
With all the hate and suffering in this world, why does heartfelt prayer bother you?  Doesn't God deserve the glory? 
 
I wonder what the real motive is when I see people grabbing on to scripture and using it or even twisting it to support their judgment or hate.
 
Maybe prayer makes them uncomfortable. 
 
Maybe they are simply bitter because the church, or someone has hurt them. Are their hearts flooded with anger or insecurity? Is it just the need to be heard? I can only wonder.
 
Are the critics pointing out that Tim is a sinner? Well they are right. He is. And so am I and you and everyone here on Planet Earth. But the good news is God sent Jesus to die for us. He took on the sin himself so we could be free (John 3:16).
 
Above all else, it states in the bible that we are to love God and love one another (Matt 22:37-40). Why do we ignore THAT message in favor of judgment and self-righteousness?
 
I don't know the answer to this, but I will certainly pray to God about it.

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  1. Weemaryanne said:

    Shorter Julie: Jesus meant what he said in Matt 5:14-16 and Matt 7:1-5, but he didn’t necessarily mean what he said in Matt 6:5-6. Whatever.

    January 28, 2012
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