Damar Hamlin has made a remarkable comeback. The 24-year-old Buffalo Bills’ safety collapsed on the field after he tackled Bengals wide receiver, Tee Higgins, during the Monday Night Football game on January 2. Damar stood up then fell to the ground after he suffered a cardiac arrest. What transpired after his collapse drew our nation’s attention to an exhilarating display of the importance and power of prayer.
As medical people moved quickly to Damar’s aid, NFL players from the Bills and Bengals spontaneously joined together, knelt and prayed for Damar. Surely every player was not driven by personal faith, but some were and they led others to pray. And the praying caught fire. A prayer vigil followed outside the hospital for him.
Dan Orlovsky, former NFL quarterback and current ESPN Football Analyst, saying he didn’t know if it was the right thing to do or not, bowed his head during a live ESPN broadcast and spontaneously led his colleagues in prayer for Damar Hamlin.
ESPN’s Monday Night Football audience was suddenly focused in an unexpected direction in the middle of the first quarter. Instead of passes and plays the focus changed to prayer. A nation was reminded that prayer can tear down barriers and unite people, and hope can be kept alive when we talk to God.
God answered those prayers. The prompt responses of medical personnel on the field and the immediate and ongoing care at the hospital advanced his healing. And God kept the breath of life alive in Damar Hamlin.
Is there something you need to talk with God about?
At no time in recent memory has turmoil, fear, anxiety and worry been so prevalent. Peace is so needed today and longed for. Do you remember that peace was anticipated in the angelic proclamation on the first Christmas Eve?
The familiar announcement was given by the angels to shepherds, while they watched their sheep. They were speechless when an angel appeared to them and proclaimed good news to them, and said this news would bring great joy to everyone: a Savior had been born, the Messiah, the Lord. Then a whole company of heavenly hosts joined the angel and said, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:14)
Not only is there good news that a Savior has been born for us. The angel also said God would give peace to those on whom his favor rests. Here’s even more good news: God favors all people. John’s gospel records that because God so loved the world (and everyone in it) he sent his son, Jesus, to earth (John 3:16). God favors us. God favors you and me. So why do we not experience peace? Because we need to receive that peace that is a gift given by the Savior born in Bethlehem. To open your life to Jesus is to open your life to the peace that Jesus offers.
The International Standard Version (ISV) of this Scripture passage captures the importance of our response: “Glory to God in the highest, and peace on earth to people who enjoy his favor!” (Luke 2:14, ISV)
Do you enjoy his favor? It is only in a relationship with Jesus that we can comprehend and enjoy God’s favor. What better time than Christmas to open your life to Jesus, to invite him into your life, to receive him as your Savior and Lord, and to experience his favor and his gift of peace?