Pray Like a Cheerleader

The story begins in fairly typical fashion. But it ends differently that most.

A high school in Tennessee was told they were no longer allowed to have a prayer said over the loudspeaker at football games. You know that part of the story well. It looked like the usual cast of ACLU lawyers, scared administrators, and people too busy to care too much. But something different happened at Oneida High School in Tennessee, according to WBIR. Some people cared.

Kevin Acres, the voice behind the loudspeaker for many years, was told that instead of leading the crowd in a pre-game prayer as had been done for close to eighty years he was instructed to initiate a moment of silence.

When Oneida's football coach Tony Lambert heard the moment of silence initiated over the loudspeaker for the first time he said it gave him a "sick feeling in my stomach."

Now, that's typically the end of the story. It has been at dozens, probably hundreds, of schools around the country.

But at Oneida, Acres surprisingly added, "if you want to say a prayer, that would be perfectly fine."

Asia Canada, a cheerleader for Oneida, heard the call and spoke out strong "Our Father who art in heaven..." And then something happened. Something that the ACLU probably wouldn't like much. Everyone joined in.

Everyone. Including the visiting team's cheerleaders.

"By the time the prayer was over with, the entire stadium was saying it," said Acres. And now the pre-game prayer is once again a tradition. At every game, the cheerleaders become prayer leaders. And it sounds like everyone joins in. Hey, maybe even the ACLU lawyers might even join in. That'd be nice, wouldn't it? Canada says she's a bit nervous leading the prayer for so many people but she knows it's not about her. "It just touches my heart that so many people are getting involved with it," she reportedly said.

The world could use more stories like this. More schools like Oneida. And more people like Kevin Acres and Asia Canada. And more prayers. A lot more prayers. And next time you're in a moment of silence, consider praying like a cheerleader. It might just catch on.

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