No doubt you’ve heard it said (or even said it yourself): “I’m praying for you.”
In the wake of Damar Hamlin’s terrifying collapse midway through the first quarter of Monday night’s NFL game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals, it seems the entire nation has been praying for his recovery.
We saw both teams kneel to pray as the ambulance carrying Hamlin left the field. There have been moments of silence offered across stadiums in Hamlin’s honor. Hamlin’s family issued a statement thanking the public for the outpouring of support and prayer: “We are deeply moved by the prayers, kind words, and donations from fans around the country,” a statement released Tuesday said. “Please keep Damar in your prayers.”
It’s not often we witness those prayers live on a national sports broadcast—but that’s just what ESPN football analyst Dan Orlovsky did during NFL Live this week.
“I’ve heard it all day. ‘Thoughts and prayers,'” he said on Tuesday afternoon’s broadcast. “Maybe this is not the right thing to do, but it’s just on my heart that I want to pray for Damar Hamlin right now. I’m going to do it out loud. I’m going to close my eyes. I’m going to bow my head and I’m just going to pray for him.”
The simple, earnest prayer that followed captured what’s been on all of our hearts since Monday night:
“God, we come to you in these moments that we don’t understand, that are hard, because we believe that you’re God and coming to you and praying to you has impact. We’re sad, we’re angry, we want answers . . . but some things are unanswerable. We just want to pray, truly come to you and pray for strength for Damar, for healing for Damar, for comfort for Damar, to be with his family, to give him peace,” Orlovsky, a husband and father to four young children, prayed.
“If we didn’t believe that prayer didn’t work we wouldn’t ask this of you, God. I believe in prayer. We believe in prayer. We lift up Damar Hamlin’s name in your name. Amen.”
Orlovsky’s co-anchors bowed their heads as he offered the moving, minute-long prayer, chiming in with their amens after he finished.
Video of the prayer went viral on social media, with many praising Orlovsky for his boldness in praying on-air.
Dan Orlovsky didn’t just send off a ‘praying for Damar Hamlin’ tweet.
He paused during NFL Live, bowed his head, and prayed.
Powerful, brave, and genuine. 🙏
— Mark Harris (@itismarkharris) January 3, 2023
Wow. Chills. This is powerful.@danorlovsky7 bowed his head and prayed out loud during live TV on ESPN.
I’ve never seen anything like this before. Kudos to you Dan, for being an example of the believers.
1 Timothy 4:12
— The Athletes' Corner (@AthletesCorner_) January 4, 2023
Orlovsky, a former NFL quarterback, shared the clip on his Twitter profile, accompanied by the words “Mathew 18:20.” That verse reads: “For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”
Matthew 18:20 https://t.co/xCQUOmnEs1
— Dan Orlovsky (@danorlovsky7) January 3, 2023
Kudos to you, Dan Orlovsky—we are praying along with you for Damar Hamlin’s healing.