by Shannon Caughey
You regularly encounter coaching situations that aren’t usually covered in clinics, books, or instructional videos for coaches. A few examples: how do you respond to a player who is acting out in practice when you know tough things are happening in their home environment? When an influential parent berates officials during games, how do you confront them in a way that brings change rather than just stirs up anger? What does it look like to share the importance of your faith in Christ while respecting the boundaries of the public school setting in which you coach?
In these coaching situations and so many others, you need something that goes beyond knowledge. You need insight regarding how to apply the right knowledge in the right way so that you have the best chance of experiencing the right result. In other words, you need wisdom.Wisdom is understanding practically how to live according to God’s design in everyday situations. How do you obtain wisdom? Prayer is essential for growth in wisdom.
In this series of devotions, we’re looking at “prayers of a coach”: prayer practices we see in the Bible that coaches who are serious about following Jesus must practice as well. In the last devotion, we saw the importance of prayers of praise. Here’s another crucial dimension of a coach’s prayer “practice plan”: prayers for wisdom.
Proverbs, an Old Testament book devoted to helping its readers grow in wisdom, tells us: “Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding… For the Lord grants wisdom!” (Prov. 2:3, 6). The New Testament book of James gives similar instructions: “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you” (James 1:5). Whatever the coaching or life situation, bring it to God in prayer. Ask him to show you how to think, speak, and act according to his design in each situation. It can be a prayer to start the day: “Lord, please give me your wisdom in everything I will face today.” It can be a quick prayer in the moment: “Lord, I need your wisdom and insight to know what to do right now.” Lay hold of God’s promise to generously grant you wisdom when you ask.
Take this dimension of your prayer “practice plan” a step further. Proverbs 9:10 says, “Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.” To “fear the Lord” isn’t to be afraid of him. In 1 John 4, John tells us that “God is love” (v. 16) and “perfect love drives out fear” (v. 18). The “fear of the Lord” that Proverbs and other places in the Bible prescribe is responding to God with reverence and awe because we recognize his overwhelming greatness and glory.
Pray for a deeper understanding of who God is that results in a greater reverence and awe of him. This will lead you to know his character, his ways, and his purposes more fully. And this will then give you clearer insight regarding how to speak and act according to his character, ways, and purposes in each situation. Growth in coaching and living wisely comes as you prayerfully grow in the fear of the Lord.
We need wisdom in order to know how to honor Christ in the complex situations we face day by day. Make prayers for wisdom, including prayers for a deepening reverence for the Lord, part of your prayer “practice plan” as a coach. As you ask God for wisdom, you can trust that he will give it, enabling you to coach and live according to his good design.
For reflection: Take a few minutes to ask God for wisdom for the coaching and life situations you’re currently encountering. Close by expressing prayers of worship and gratitude to him.