I’ll always remember when the national title game lost its importance.


It was the night before the biggest game of the year, and we had not gone over the game plan yet.  I walked in to the meeting room anxious to know what we were going to do differently after going 0-3 against our opponent during the season.


The coaches got in front of the room and didn't talk basketball. They started sharing from Acts 4.  As the coaches laid out this passage, the team would pause and pray in groups.  This was not out of the ordinary, as our team had prayed the words of Scripture with each other often over the course of the season.   But this time, something happened that I will never forget. 


Coach Clark explained something that I’ve heard a hundred times--how we are supposed to pray for our enemies.  But seriously, how many times have I actually done that?  How many times have I even considered praying for an opponent, especially before a game as big as the national title?


The prayer for our opponent was powerful. Trust me, we weren’t praying that our opponents would be free from injury, or that they would play a great game but lose by a point.  It was 25 men passionately praying that our opponents would receive favor, insight and knowledge from the Lord.  We prayed that they would grow in faith and spread the word of God through basketball.  I prayed these prayers with tears because there was a depth and authenticity to them that was much more important than the outcome of a game.


I clearly remember my thoughts as we prayed.  ‘Who even cares about the game tomorrow?  This is why I left IU to join this program, and regardless of the outcome this has been the greatest ride of my life.’


It’s a night I will never forget because it is rare to be surrounded by guys passionately praying with each other, let alone going to battle FOR their enemy and not against them.  It was a night that reminded me why I came here.

-Jonny marlin