Reflections on 3:16
A guest post by Jim Minton
Recently Pastor Eric introduced us to the awesome concept of Pray 3:16. Each day, we should stop at 3:16 and pray to God – we can pray for some wisdom to help us through the rest of the day, we can pray for others, we can pray God’s Word. How powerful it is to have many people in prayer at one time!
Of all the Bible verses, John 3:16 is one of the best to summarize the Christian faith. We are separated from God by our sinful nature. However, 3:16 tells us that God loved us so much that He sent His Son, not to condemn us in our sin, but to save us and provide us a path to eternal life with Him. Max Lucado wrote a book titled 3:16 – The Numbers of Hope. He describes the verse as “a twenty-six word parade of hope: beginning with God, ending with life and urging us to do the same. Brief enough to write on a napkin or memorize in a moment, yet solid enough to weather 2,000 years of storms and questions. If you know nothing of the Bible, start here. If you know everything in the Bible, return here. The heart of the human problem is the heart of the human. And God’s treatment is prescribed in John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” There are 86,400 seconds in every day. How many of those seconds do you spend with God? We should at least be able to stop at 3:16 and spend a little time with Him.
Have you heard the story of Tim Tebow wearing John 3:16 under his eyes during the BCS College Football Championship game on January 8, 2009? This seemingly small gesture resulted in 90 million people searching Google for that Bible verse.
Three years to the day later, January 8, 2012, Tebow had one of his few successful games as an NFL quarterback, when he led the Denver Broncos to a playoff victory over the Pittsburg Steelers. Denver had lost their last 3 games by an average of 16 points. Pittsburg threw a touchdown pass to send the game into overtime. But on the first play of OT, Tebow was able to hook up with a wide receiver for an 80-yard touchdown to win the game. What added to the amazement was that this completion had Tebow finish the game with 316 yards passing. He did that on just 10 completed passes, so he averaged 31.6 yards per completion. He also averaged 3.16 yards every time he rushed the ball. The Pittsburgh quarterback threw a key interception on 3rd down and 16. Pittsburgh had the ball for 31 minutes and 6 seconds. I’m not sure how many people saw the game, but the Nielsen rating for the game was 31.6. On Monday morning, what was the most Googled phrase? John 3:16.
Maybe your Pray 3:16 won’t result in 90 million Google searches, but I know it will help you keep your day in focus. And you never know who might be watching….
I recently reconnected on Facebook with a guy that I hadn’t spoken to in thirty years. As we began to follow each other on Facebook, he saw some of my Pray 3:16 posts. He shared with me that he was going through a rough patch and was struggling with his faith. I was able to share a few things with him, and he has embraced the Pray 3:16 concept. He recently posted, “only when we kneel before God can we stand before mankind.”
As we go through Be the Message, one way to share hope is by posting Pray 3:16 on your Facebook page (you can also tag your post with #Pray316). Maybe you can come up with a list of 316 things to pray for, or maybe you just want to pray for 31.6 seconds. Whatever you choose to do, this time of connection with God will be a source of strength and focus for your daily life. So, set an alarm, write yourself a note…whatever will help you stop, be still, and take time with God each day. Join me each day as we Pray 3:16 and let’s see what happens.