The underlying question is - how do you pray for things that seem to be disconnected from religious concerns. Can you pray for things that are disconnected from religious concerns? To make it more personal, can you pray for your sports teams? Since Pittsburgh is in the midst of a Stanley Cup run and since the Koerber family is hanging on the drama of every face off, I think we should ask:
Is there a proper blessing for the Penguins?
I have the conviction that we should be able to talk to God about the things that are important in our lives. And yet, at the same time, it can seem very trivial to pray about a sports game. At a deeper level we recognize that sports have no real lasting significance and that although it often feels like the most important thing, bring the Stanley Cup to Pittsburgh really has no lasting value. (This morning we read Psalm 90. If you doubt what I am saying read that Psalm.)
Before the last Stanley Cup run (when the Pens won the cup on 2009), there was a saying that was repeated among the players. "Win today and you will walk together forever." The meaning was that if they won their names would be etched into the cup and remembered forever. Of course that is not true. If history has anything to teach us, it is that interest in hockey will fade and players will eventually be forgotten.
So, is there a proper blessing for the Penguins? I still think so. There is a sort of prayer that I say in some family setting at least a couple of times a week during a playoff run. In addition, I sometime feel obligated prayer for the spiritual good of the players (I should do that more). I also thank God for the joy of a fun and entertaining season. But the blessing for the Penguins generally goes like this:
"Lord, help our team to play with honor and courage and help them not to embarrass themselves or our city. And help us not to love them too much."