I grew up in an actual hockey town. In its glory days, Port Huron churned future stars out of the athletic millworks of the McMorran Arenas. In that atmosphere I learned that there are two kinds of hockey players: there are those that play the game in all its intensity and greatness, and then there are goalies.

From my personal experience, I came to believe that every good goalie had to be half crazy. To be a goalie means that, when the team wins, you are easily dismissed in the shadows of those who scored and those who assisted. However, when the team loses, you always own a part of it. Goalies are different, from their blades to their souls, partly, I think, because they spend their entire time in the worst moments of the game.

When I finish this article I’ll head out to minister to a man with advanced cancer. As far as I know, he was never a goalie or ever played hockey. That doesn’t matter. He did, however, spend the bulk of his adult life serving as a police officer. So let me explain why that matters.

I tend to place cops in the same mental list as goalies. You have to be half crazy to sign up for a service where when things go well you are easily dismissed, and when things go wrong you inexorably own a part of it. And there is no doubt in my mind that many of them spend the bulk of their time “in the worst moments of the game.”

Now I know that there is room for criticism. I can just about hear the warnings, “Pastor, be careful. Not all cops are pure as the wind-driven snow.” Yeah, and neither is every pastor, which is sad! (Don’t get me started!) But part of my point is that we better thank God for the “good goalies,” because without them we’d all lose!

You see, I have a special affinity for these civil servants, and not because it may be popularly expedient (at times!), but it has been my personal experience that the vast majority of the ones I know are good people, with good hearts, and a willingness to professionally absorb a lot of what our eyes and lives are protected from.

I have yet to meet a cop that wouldn’t like to unsee a lot of what they have had to engage, which is an unavoidable reality that can quickly burden and embitter and harden a soul. And, yet, for the ones I know, I would have no hesitation entrusting them with the lives and welfare of my wife and daughters.

So, why am I sharing all this? To influence your prayers! And not just for their protection and general well-being. I would like to see more of them become “servants of the Lord.” I’m not sure what exactly it is, maybe the things they wish they could unsee, but cops are not the easiest mission field. That’s just me being honest, and I’ll bet that the Christian cops you know might agree.

I think we should pray for the souls of our police officers, daily. That Christ would enter their hearts and their lives, and that more and more of them would be led by the Holy Spirit. That those who are of the faith would be bolder to live it and share it, even and especially “in the worst moments of the game.” I think they’re worth it, and not because they may be part of the “good ol’ boys/girls club.” No, I think they’re worth it because Christ died for them! The Resurrection of Jesus is for them! God loves the “goalies!”