It’s happening more and more every day in our country. Civil rights groups, atheists, and others gain ground in their fight to keep faith and its free expression out of the public eye. But their mission to “protect the rights” of all citizens is essentially an effort to silence many who follow Christ. Sometimes believers fearfully yield to the pressure. And sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we take a stand for Jesus.
Recently, one high school cheerleader took a stand, spoke out loud, and stood her ground for her faith.
Oneida High School in Oneida, Tennessee has been opening their Friday night football games with prayer over the PA system since 1930. But that changed this month. The local School District – like many other public institutions in America – had received complaints from the ACLU and the Freedom from Religion Foundation. So they made the decision to replace the official opening prayer with a moment of silence.
That decision created a gap once filled by more than 80 decades of prayer. But the Oneida High cheerleaders, led by Asia Canada, chose to live their faith out loud and step into that gap.
In the first beats of silence, the girls began:
“Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name.”
Immediately, the cheerleaders from the opposing team joined in.
“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.”
Then the players and the coaches also lifted their voices.
“Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.”
The fans in the stands did not want to be left out, so they too joined in.
“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”
Not one lone voice came through the speakers, but instead a whole stadium of people prayed.
“For Thine is the Kingdom and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.”
A teenage girl encouraged a small group, then that group inspired a crowd. Who might you encourage, who could you inspire, by stepping into the gap, by standing your ground in the fight?
In what ways have you felt pressure from our society to keep quiet about Jesus or hide the expression of your faith? How can you take a stand and in the process encourage others?