In Times of Crisis Americans Pray

In Times of Crisis Americans Pray by Dr Michael Brown for Ask Dr Brown

Around the nation, in response to the life-threatening injury to Buffalo Bills football player Damar Hamlin, people prayed.

Hamlin’s teammates and coaches prayed.

Millions of fans joined in prayer, tweeting their support.

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Even on live TV, sports commentators stopped in the middle of their broadcast to pray.

But this is only natural. During times of crisis, especially life and death crisis, people turn to God.

We know the situation is grave, we know we cannot change things ourselves, and we know that only God – an all-powerful being who cares – can turn the tide.

That’s why, at such times, people do not turn to atheism.

They turn to God.

Even non-religious people pray. In fact, many agnostics and soft atheists even turn to prayer.

Interestingly, rather than people being up in arms over all these public displays of prayer and religious faith, many have expressed appreciation for these prayerful sentiments.

That’s why NFL vet and now TV host Dan Orlovsky was praised for praying on TV rather than lambasted for his act of faith.

To quote him directly (before he bowed his head and closed his eyes and prayed out loud,

“Football gave me everything,” he said, “And I think in the midst of absolute tragedy last night, we saw some of the beauty of football as well — that it’s brought us all here together. This is a little bit different — I’ve heard it all day, like ‘Thoughts and prayers.’ And you just heard Brandon Scherff and Jonathan Allen say that ‘all we can do is pray for him,’ and I heard the Buffalo Bills organization say that ‘we believe in prayer.’ And maybe this is not the right to do, but it’s on my heart that I want to pray for Damar Hamlin right now. I’m going to do it out loud, I’m going to close my eyes, I’m going to bow my head, and I’m going to pray for him.”

And that’s exactly what he did, praying with honesty, praying without shame, and praying with explicit trust in God.

What did his co-hosts Laura Rutledge and Marcus Spears do? Did they express their surprise or even displeasure? Did they show their discomfort with his bold act?

Not at all.

They also bowed their heads and closed their eyes, adding their respectful amens.

What about his other colleagues in sports and in the media? How did they respond?

It would be expected that faith leaders would commend Orlovsky for praying.

And that’s exactly what happened.

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