NORMAN — When OU athletes are wrapping up their annual mission trip to Haiti, they always challenge themselves to find ways to bring what they’ve learned back to Norman.
Gymnast Becca Clark suggested a regular prayer circle on the South Oval. Quarterback Trevor Knight excitedly jumped on board, and the spiritual group of athletes have since made it happen.
“In typical fashion for me, I sorta stalled a little bit and procrastinated through the month of June like I do with everything in my life,” junior football player and FCA president Ty Darlington joked after Monday’s prayer circle.
“In the month of July, we sorta got it going. We’ve got a good number of athletes out here. Now more students are starting to come. The vision is not for just Christian athletes, but for Christians all over campus to have a place to come to be united.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re in a sorority or a fraternity or an athlete or anything. If you worship Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, it’s all encompassing and it unites us all.”
The past several Mondays, Clark, Darlington and Knight have been joined by an increasing number of OU athletes and students near the Seed Sower sculpture on the South Oval in prayer.
“It’s not a showy thing,” Knight said Monday. “We want to bring people to Christ. To see people praying on the South Oval and to have an inviting atmosphere where people can come and pray with people is a huge deal. … The campus is our heart. We want to change our locker rooms, change our peers, but we want to change our whole campus.”
Knight said the group prays for “our team, for our clubs, for our family members that are going through illness, anything you want.”
In light of some recent bad news involving one of his newest teammates — freshman running back Joe Mixon, who is under investigation for an alleged assault last week — the prayer circles can be especially beneficial.
“Things are going to happen,” Knight said. “Everyone is going to mess up. … We don’t always make the best decisions and things don’t always go perfectly. It’s how you respond to it and how you react to it.”
Darlington said, “We’ve been praying for our teammates for weeks, for months. Since the last season ended we’ve been praying for this team, and we’re going to continue praying for this team. We believe God has a plan and God wants us to use even negative things for good.”