Prayer is massive in my life. Especially on game days, I pray at home before I leave, and I pray for protection for my family while I’m away. I pray in the changing rooms once I get to the stadium and then I pray on the pitch again. I pray for protection over every player that runs onto the field, that there will be no serious injuries, that God will be with us in every circumstance, and that He’ll give us the wisdom and the vision to make good decisions. It’s just brilliant to be able to do that and know that in every game you have God on the pitch with you.
As a young sportsman, you get thrown into a lot of temptations. There are a lot of circumstances you may find yourself under pressure to see if you’re going to do something you know is wrong. You have to choose to follow the crowd or follow the way of Jesus. Sometimes you might get it right and sometimes you might make mistakes, but it’s important to have God in the center of your life.
When you have Him at the center, you are able to make that right decision; you are able to make the sacrifices when it counts. It’s very important to be able to trust and know that God is in control and that He’ll guide you through all the decisions you need to make.
Obviously, I want to be known as a guy who made a difference in the team he’s played with, someone who has had a great career. But ultimately that will not last. Everything you have when you play a sport just fades away, and soon it is all a distant memory.
For me, I want to be remembered as a guy with integrity, a guy with a strong faith, and someone who always trusts in Jesus to protect him and guide him through his career. God has given me these talents. He’s given me the blessing of playing sport and sharing my passion with people off the pitch. And to me, the man off the pitch is more important than the man on the pitch.
Following Jesus is the best decision you can make in life. It might sound cliché, but for those of us who have experienced God’s hand of protection, of guidance, of love, of mercy, of healing, and of forgiveness, we can tell you first hand that this is the best decision you’ll ever make.
It’s a fantastic journey and we are all still learning as we’re going along, but it’s an unbelievable journey. This is a decision you will never regret.
—Ruan Pienaar, South African rugby player