What kind of prayer is appropriate after a game of golf ? I had to say grace at the meal following a women’s golf tournament. Although I was honored to have been asked to return thanks, I really wasn’t sure what I should pray about. I decided to explore some literature about golf and the spiritual side of life. I checked out titles like Fairway to Heaven, In His Grip, and of course Chicken Soup for the Golfer’s Soul. The material in these books was certainly of an inspirational nature but didn’t help me figure out what I should say in my prayer.
An Internet search unearthed the fact that Christians have come up with an amazing number of humorous golf anecdotes. Have you heard the one about Jesus, God and Tiger Woods playing eighteen holes together? It’s pretty funny, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to preface my prayer with a joke. People might not be able to stop laughing during grace.
I considered relating a religious story about a famous golfer. I found out when Vijay Singh won the Masters, his sister claimed it was because their entire family prayed for victory for a whole day and a whole night. Had none of the other golfer’s relatives prayed for a win? Why did God choose to listen to the Singh’s petitions? I was confused. If I told Vijay’s story at the luncheon the other women might be puzzled too.
I thought maybe I could share ideas about how the game of golf can positively impact a person’s life.
Golf gives us an opportunity to be in the great outdoors. The scenic setting inspires a real appreciation for the beauty of God’s creation.
Golf is a way to get exercise and nurture relationships with family and friends. The game of golf can be very therapeutic. A widow once told me that after her husband’s death going out on the golf course had provided her with a healthy diversion at times when she was feeling sad and lonely.
Golf is an avenue for meeting new people. I’ve talked with many interesting strangers I’ve been partnered with on the links. Sometimes our conversations have even led to discussions on matters of faith. My husband and I were golfing with two navy lieutenants on the Olympic View Course in Victoria, British Columbia one summer afternoon. One of the officers missed a crucial putt and said, “I knew I’d have to pay sometime for skipping out of church last Sunday.” It seemed perfectly natural for me to ask, “what church would that be?”
Golf provides an opportunity to affirm and encourage others. I play in a weekly ladies league and my companions are always so positive. The other women make me believe my golf game isn’t hopeless. They look for something good in every shot I make and applaud the slightest improvement in my score. I’ve learned some valuable lessons about the power of affirmation from my female golfing companions.
Golf can be a way to support a worthy endeavor. Many organizations sponsor golf events to raise funds. My husband and I have frequently entered tournaments where the profits are earmarked for charitable causes.
You’re probably wondering by now what I finally ended up praying at the golf luncheon. I decided not to preface my table grace with any comments. I simply asked the women to bow their heads and then I said…..
We are grateful for the chance we had today to play the game of golf. We are thankful for the exercise it provided for our bodies, for the sense of companionship we experienced with other golfers, and for the opportunity we had to enjoy the beauty of creation. Open our minds and hearts to the lessons this game can teach us about life….. that we shouldn’t give up after a few bad holes, because things will probably get better if we just keep trying…. that we need to be flexible, if the nine iron won’t do the trick, maybe the pitching wedge will….. that the lowest handicaps aren’t necessarily earned by the women with the latest fashions in golfing attire or the most expensive set of clubs, but by those who work hard at their game with patience and persistence.
Bless each person here whether she ended up a winner or loser when the scorecards were handed in today, for if we enjoyed the game we played together we really were all winners. We ask now for your blessing on this food.