It had been a weekly tradition for years. A circle of friends, lifting up our burdens together. One asked for prayer for her toddler’s health, another for an ailing grandmother, and yet another, for resolution to the argument she was having with her husband. The closer it got to me, the quicker my heart pounded.
We went around the circle, one after another, until it was my turn. I paused and looked down, fidgeting with the pen I had taken precarious Bible notes with just minutes before. “Well, I had a meeting with my boss this week,” I said timidly, “and they are asking me to consider taking on more responsibility. It would mean more travel, but I really think it would enable me to make a difference for many people in our organization. Would you pray for me to do well as I move forward with these changes?”
I glanced up just enough to see how they were responding. Immediately I wished I could rewind. Many of these women were stay-at-home moms. Very few of them understood the magnitude of my professional life. Asking them to pray for my success seemed like a selfish request. What was I thinking? Accusations of pride quickly welled inside me. Who asks the women of their church to pray for their success?
Most of us have been a part of a prayer chain in response to a crisis, but how many of our churches actively participate in steadfast prayer for individual success or for the success of the businesses in their communities? And why is it considered pride to want to do a good job in our work?
Several participants in an online Bible study I’m in are asking for prayers for finances and employment. Layoffs and mortgage payments stir anxiety. Fear and frustration mount and these women cry out for prayer. Stories like this are all too common.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like I am conditioned to “respond in prayer.” Praying for the women in my online study seems natural. I dream of a day when I am naturally proactive in my prayers; a day when the concept of the church praying for business success isn’t beyond our paradigm.
The body of believers consistently praying for the business community could make a big impact. Imagine the changes we would see if prayers for profitability, leadership, ethics, performance, etc. flowed freely.
Jabez was a man of prayer. He unashamedly cried out in 1 Chronicles 4:10, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory!” And rather than rebuke him, God “granted his request.” Some may have called his prayer a proud one. But it’s not about prosperity. It’s about God’s continued hand on all areas of your life so that you can be used by him.
Let’s not view our success as prideful, but rather as an offering to the Lord. It’s my prayer that instead of gulping back prayer requests that are heavy on my heart, that I may find a new boldness to speak them out.
So yes, please pray for my success.
Jen Sandbulte has been a human resources professional and leadership consultant for two decades. She is president and founder of Simply Grace Ministries. She blogs at www.JenSandbulte.com.
This article is part of a series at The High Calling on "The Local Church Equipping Us in Our Vocations." It seems that in many church contexts, what we do Monday through Friday is the least important thing. But shouldn't Christ be the Lord of our work as much as the Lord of our church's ministry programs, our marriages, and our families? Here at The High Calling we not only want to equip and empower the laity to live out their faith in their vocations, but we want to inspire church leaders toequip their people to do so as well. How can church leaders help their congregants to steward their vocations? How can church communities embrace a discipleship paradigm that includes the workplace? If you want to inspire people in your church community to embrace how the vocations of lay people glorify God, why not encourage them by sharing links to these articles in emails, Facebook posts, or through some other social media?