26 March 2012


It was a terrible moment when Bolton Wanderers star Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch from a freak heart attack. The compassionate response from all fans of football, and many besides, has been extraordinary. When Tim Cahill scored for Chelsea the following day, he lifted his shirt to reveal the words ‘PRAY 4 MUAMBA’.

It was a moment that might have made Richard Dawkins choke on his lunch! Because Cahill’s appeal seemed to echo the sentiment of the vast majority of people in interviews, on blogs, & on Twitter: ‘Fabrice, you are in our prayers’. Spurs defender Kyle Walker put it like this, ‘Doesn’t matter who you support. Doesn’t matter if you’re not a football fan. Doesn’t matter if you’re not religious. Pray for Fabrice Muamba.’ What this tells us is that God generally and Christianity in particular is not going to fade away from people’s lives. It’s convenient enough for people to live as though God does not exist, but when your back’s to the wall the instinctive reflex is to call on God for help.

This is not surprising. Human beings were created by God and wired up to live in a personal relationship with him. Prayer should be as automatic to us as breathing air. And the Bible says that however many layers of unbelief we may have darkened our thoughts with, actually -deep down- ‘God has set eternity in the hearts of men..’ Ecclesiastes 3v11. And this is what surfaces in times of crisis. We know there is more to life than this world.

But here’s the real tragedy. As well-meant as many of those prayers are, they go unheard by God, unless the lines of communication have been opened for that person by Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that every human being starts ‘dead in our wrongdoing and sins.’ The helpline to God is dead because we have cut ourselves off from him. And now the only way to gain access to God, and be heard by him, is via Jesus Christ. We are told, ‘There is only one God, and one mediator between God and humans, the man Jesus Christ.’ 1 Timothy 2 v 5. And for Jesus to open up the lines again with God, it was very costly. It cost him his life. It required him to sacrifice his own life on the cross, to pay for the forgiveness of our sins, for us to be reconciled to God, and for a way to be opened to enter God’s presence.

If we approach God and speak to him without Christ Jesus our words fall on deaf ears. But if we approach God via Christ Jesus we are welcomed as eagerly as a Father welcomes the children he loves.

So, pray 4 Muamba! But if you want your prayers to be heard, first put things right between you and God through Jesus Christ.

If you don’t know what that means, get in touch with us and we’d be glad to introduce you to Jesus.

Simon Smallwood
Pastor of St Georges