Running a business can feel like an ongoing baptism of fire – you are never quite sure when you will get out of the turbulence and disruption. Not only are there internal challenges to contend with, external ruptures like changes in Government and downturns in the world economy can have a significant impact on local business operating in a globalised economy.
While the world relies on business finance and economic principles to get by, for a Christian business owner, our security and protection comes from abiding in Christ, which comes from a deep prayer life. Here are 5 reasons why business owners should foster a life of prayer.
1. Recognise Who Is Really In Charge
Prayer requires humility. One way we demonstrate our dependence on God is through cultivating a daily habit of prayer. When we bring our hopes, struggles and fears to God through prayer, we are making a statement to the principalities and powers of this age that we recognise who really is in charge.
Often when problems arise in our business or personal life, our natural response is to approach God with a shopping list of requests. But Jesus rebuked this approach to prayer, likening it to the “pagans, because they think they will be heard for their many words”. (Matthew 6:7 NIV)
Jesus Himself, when asked how to pray provided directions in the Lord’s Prayer which included recognising who you are speaking to. First and foremost, we are approaching God the Father, who has no beginning or end.
As Father, God is the giver of all good things, the provider for our daily needs. When we react from our immediate circumstances – where surprise, shock and frustration overwhelm us, we can forget that we are approaching a loving Father, who already knows our needs even before we speak them (see Matthew 6:8). As Father, we are not left alone as orphans, but have the Holy Spirit who often ministers to us when we pray.
Something wonderful happens when we pray the words Christ gave us in the Lord’s Prayer. We suddenly recognise that our dependence is on God alone, not on a client, a big contract or the state of the economy.
2. Getting Our Heart Right with Him
In business, we can often try to find our security in positive cash flow, building up our brand’s reputation or launching a successful new product. However, as Christians we need to pay much greater attention to our inner life. There have been many successful people in business who have had significant influence at one stage of their career but have lost it all because of unscrupulous business practices, a sea change of events against them or believing the lie that they were ‘too big to fail’. The security we should be finding is in our right relationship with God, not our balance sheet or any other external validation of our business.
The Apostle James provides some practical advice before we approach God.
Before we expect to be heard from the God of Heaven, we must first confess our sins to each other. The original Greek word for ‘healed’ in this passage is iaomai which means to make whole, and involves both physical and spiritual healing. What James is saying is that confessing our sins to others is an essential condition to being freed of physical or spiritual affliction. Not only that, but when we get our hearts right with God our Creator, we are in a position to pray bold and effective prayers.
3. Practicing Waiting on God
The Scriptures speak much about waiting on God. When we come to God to pray, we are putting our own personal anxieties aside and are agreeing with God’s timing and purposes for our lives, including our businesses.
Prayer requires waiting on God in quiet meditation, listening to Him through His Word and placing our trust and hope in Him, even when we don’t see an immediate response to our prayers. When we have a confident expectation that we will see the goodness of the Lord, we gain strength in the midst of trials. Worry depletes our energy and can bring a dread, causing us to see our circumstances in a worse light than they really are. However, as the prophet Isaiah noted:
“…but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)
In our fast and instant results culture, it can be tempting to do our own thing, instead of coming to God and listening to Him for His counsel. This passage speaks to the deep human need to lean on God and rely on His strength and not our own. God wants us to soar like eagles in our business and life, but are we willing to wait on Him?
4. Gain Wisdom to Make the Right Decisions
Life is not always lived in our comfort zone. Your progress as a business owner or entrepreneur can be impeded or disrupted by variables that are beyond your control. When we pray, we give space to wait on God and listen for His guidance. It requires placing our ego aside and listening to what God has to say into our circumstances.
When we soak in the scriptures, we are positioning our hearts to hear God speaking to us through His Word, giving Him room to redirect our path as we apply the wisdom found in the Scriptures to our lives. Much greater fruit can be born when we decide to linger longer in God’s Word so we give Him full attention as to what He is trying to reveal to us.
5. Become Salt and Light
Every believer is called to be salt and light in this world. As a business owner, you come across so many people who live without meaning and joy in this broken and fractured world. Whether it’s your employees, your clients or suppliers – the people in your working environment need to see the hope that is in you. If we try to run our businesses in our own strength, as capable as we may be, it will not be able to bring life to those around us. As Anba Angaelos, UK’s Coptic Archbishop notes:
Christians are asked to be superhuman. While obstacles present themselves in our lives and business that can seem to be unsurmountable, we are called to be overcomers in all things.
We are transformed into Christ’s image when we wait upon God and spend time in His presence. We instantly recognise His power and authority and learn that all things are subject to His Son. The only way to navigate through the storms of business and life, is to acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ. The Apostle John puts it this way:
God wants you to be an overcomer in your life and Kingdom business. Are you ready to pray?
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