May 5, 2022, is preserved as the National Day of Prayer in the United States. I have selected two items on prayer by two of the leaders of the BAM movement. The first is a reprint of a survey of kingdom business owners by Jo Plummer and published on the businessasmission.com site on Sept 1, 2017. Both Jo’s and the second item by Mats Tunehag, address prayer in our business life as kingdom people. Mats adapts the well-known prayer by St. Patrick and published it on the same website March 17, 2017.
Larry W. Sharp, BAM Support Specialist, IBEC Ventures
We asked 15 business people leading Kingdom-building companies around the world what prayer habits, practices or experiences they have found helpful in their business life. We identified 7 reoccurring themes: Prayer habits for effective business people!
1. Weave prayer throughout company life
Prayer is something to be ‘threaded’ through the fabric of the business, not compartmentalised or sidelined.
We try and avoid only “book end prayer” – at the beginning and end of an activity – or “pear shape prayers” – praying only when things have gone wrong or “pear shaped”. We seek to integrate prayer as a natural part of our activity, whenever we are interacting with staff, clients, stockholders, supporters etc. – Liam, Australia
2. Commit to pray regularly with others
Having a regular time for prayer with a particular group of people has been helpful for many, keeping them on track with prayer over long seasons of business life.
Every week for the past 11 years, an employee and I have prayed together for our company, our leadership and our individual needs. We have seen conversions, kingdom outcomes. healings, etc. and a very large company ($3.2 billion turnover) moving into alignment with God’s purposes. – Mike, USA
3. Pray with and for your employees and clients
The business people we talked to do not limit themselves to pray only with Christian managers and staff, but regularly pray with and for other employees and even customers. For many this is a tangible way to share the gospel and demonstrate God’s Kingdom is at hand.
I have noticed something. When I share problems as prayer points with my staff they take it seriously and ask for follow up on the subject. What happened? How is that going? We started sharing personal prayer needs a little too as I realized we need this to build our faith when the answer comes. I loved it last week when I worried out loud about something and one of my workers piped up, “Well aren’t we going to pray about that?” – Julia, Mongolia
4. Write it down
Some practitioners have found value and encouragement in writing down what to pray for and keeping track of answers to prayer.
Part of the culture in my organization is to write down the seven most important prayer points in a journal and pray for one item daily. For instance every Monday our prayer focus is on integrity, that God will help us pursue our goals ethically and grow in character. This way, we track answers to prayer as they happen and it’s a great joy to look back from time to time and see how God has answered prayer in very remarkable ways. – Henry, South Africa
5. Use Bible scriptures in prayer
Regularly reading and praying out God’s word is a powerful way to be strengthened in the truth. The business people we asked shared that they use Bible verses in various ways to keep them focused on the right things.
Business is hard. It is easy to get overwhelmed. For most of my business career I’ve had a small card posted on the wall right in front of my computer. It had Philippians 4:6-7 written on it: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests before God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Garry, USA
6. Pray for guidance in difficult circumstances
Many of the business people reported that prayer has consistently been the decisive factor when serious business problems have arisen and when guidance is needed for major decisions.
The biggest drama was always to get the shipments from Brazil that supplied the bookstore chain out of customs. Our team of four – my wife and I and the two local business partners – used to fast, one day each of us, as long as it took to get the books out. It was with more joy than weariness that we unloaded the container when it finally came out of the harbour. – Hans, Angola
7. Ask for prayer support from outside the company
A habit that was often mentioned was engaging prayer partners from outside the business to provide vital prayer support to the company.
We decided to engage a couple of praying friends to intercede for our business and for those who work in it on a weekly basis. While I did not seek advice on business matters from them, I shared prayer requests and praise reports with the intercessors so that they could join me in praying for these. I recommend any Christian businessperson to seek intercessors for the business. It can have a significant impact on the business and on the lives of those who work in it. – Joseph, India
While the title of this blog is obviously a play on words from a famous business book by Stephen Covey, it is worth noting that many of the business people who shared with us often did not feel very effective in prayer. Some related that they just don’t consider their prayer life particularly victorious, but are grateful for God’s grace. Others said they felt guilty about prayer, or not particularly good at it, or just found it awkward if they had to pray in another language, say. Some have experienced years where prayer has been wonderful, but at other times struggled to be consistent. Just as in any other walk of life, prayer in the business context takes perseverance and commitment and we don’t always get it right. However, we hope that sharing these different habits has helped you see how to integrate prayer more effectively into your business life.
On March 17 many people around the globe celebrate St. Patrick. He was a human trafficking victim in the 5th century, who became a missionary to the people and land (Ireland) where he was a slave.
Let me share a well-known prayer by St. Patrick, and customize it to a BAM related prayer: (the original is in bold and italics)
Christ with me, as I do business for Him and people
Christ before me, as I plan my business
Christ behind me, as I review my business
Christ in me; my guiding light in business
Christ beneath me; He is the foundation
Christ above me, He is the owner of my business
Christ on my right, Christ on my left, He is the Lord of the marketplace
Christ when I lie down, and rest from my work
Christ when I sit down, in my office chair
Christ when I arise, enthusiastic or weary
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me, and my business
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me, and my business
Christ in every eye that sees me, my staff, customers, suppliers, and competitors
Christ in every ear that hears me speak about my products and services