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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

A Prayer for Business Competitors

posted by Mark and Jill

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” Matthew 5:43-48.

Let’s contextualize Jesus’s words for businesses. He might say today, “Love your competitors and pray for those who steal your market share.” Really? 

As an engineer knows his machine, God knows how we humans function best. He says “pray for your competitor” because bitterness is poison. When we judge, our criticisms boomerang, and the troubles I wish on the competitors return to my head (Matt. 7:1). I’m better off blessing!

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Of course, not all competitors have “persecuted” us. But nonetheless, it can be hard to wish them success. The answer: Don’t listen to your feelings; listen to Jesus!

You may be saying, “So when do I begin to pray for my success?” Not yet. Not today. Today, let’s do something only Jesus would think up. Let’s pray for our competitors! Perhaps you don’t have direct competitors in your job. Okay, but you do recognize the tendency to compete for advantage. Audit your relationships and pray for the person you tend to compare your life against… That’s often a good indicator. 

Dare you…

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Take a drive by their office, or look up their website, or go buy their product; take their product, or find some other tangible way to represent who they are and what they do. From there, ask God to bless this person and their labors. Perhaps read a favorite promise from the Bible as a prayer for them.

Remember

Blessing is not a zero-sum game with God. He can bless you and someone else in a win-win way. There’s plenty of goodness to go around! Give it away! 

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A Prayer for God’s Thoughts

posted by Mark and Jill

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” (Isaiah 55:8).

For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these things, for we have the mind of Christ. (II Corinthians 2:16)

I am not smart enough. Don’t smirk; neither are you.

Researchers say we possess “bounded rationality” which means we all make decisions with only limited information and very limited brains. And yet, God trusts us with massive responsibilities: a wife or husband, children, a business and employees, homes, cars, retirement portfolios, and visions and dreams for a preferred future. Knowing what you know about yourself, do you think this was a good idea? But God loads us down with blessing, so much in fact we can’t possibly manage it completely.

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We are not smart enough and life is a set up for failure. “My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts.” Which is why God teaches us to pray. We are on the planet to learn conversational dependence. I love the simple prayer of Pastor Morris Vaagenes: “I can’t. You can. Please do. Thank you.”

When we admit our “bounded rationality” he shares his “boundless rationality” with us. Paul’s claim is actually audacious: “…For we have the mind of Christ.” No, my thoughts cannot be God’s, but His can be mine! I have the mind of Christ. I can pray for his way of thinking, his perspective, his attitude, his insight, his creativity, his logic, his memory, his forgetfulness, his common sense, his strategic foresight – ALL OF HIS MIND – to pervade me.

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Wow!

Jesus, you are brilliant and wise. When I give you access to my life you give me access to yours. Today I need your way of thinking. I have a challenge or two before me that are beyond my pay grade. I can’t think fast enough or clearly enough. But you can and do. Do so now, in me. Amen!

Now you are thinking!

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A Prayer for Excellence in Business

posted by Mark and Jill

“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:9-10)

Years ago Tom Peters published a popular business leadership book titled In Search of Excellence. Perhaps you read it. Peters set out to define excellence in the marketplace and then to identify enterprises that met that standard. It was not an easy search. More recently Jim Collins has picked up the quest. In his books Built to Last and Good to Great, he has not only set the benchmark metric for excellence, he outlines a roadmap to match that quality ourselves. 

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How to get to excellence? The Bible has another route: Prayer. 

Our human efforts always end in failure. Eventually we find we are not strong enough, smart enough, nimble enough, or persuasive enough to neither create nor sustain excellence. God has made the world this way. As Jesus puts it, “Apart from me you can do nothing.” (John 15)

Paul’s brilliant prayer is packed with power. We can borrow his words and make it our prayer for our work and business. Let’s do that today. 

Pray for love. Love is not a concept, a feeling or a choice. Ultimately, Love is a Person… Love Himself… Pray for more Love, to be passionately engaged with your calling and with the people in your spheres.

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Pray for knowledge – the “smarts” to grasp the nuances required to master your responsibilities: good memory, clear logic, quick assessments. Under-standing means, literally that matters “stand under” my mastery.

Pray for discernment – a miraculous capacity to distinguish truth from illusion. God can install his “truth detector” beyond knowledge. Ask for it!

Pray for excellence and the capacity to build, recognize and reward it! God loves what is “good.” When he created, he stepped back and said, “Very good!” Pray for the same, to be able to generate works of excellence and to step back and call it “good!”

Love… Knowledge… Discernment… Excellence. Let God bless the “work of your hands” by borrowing these words in prayer over the specifics of your spheres of responsibility. As you do, monitor your own heart and circumstances. What happens? 

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Prayer for a Good Work Ethic

posted by Mark and Jill

Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.  (2 Timothy 2:15)

Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty. (Proverbs 21:5)

Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  (Colossians 3:23 NLT)

Even while we were with you, we gave you this command: “Those unwilling to work will not get to eat.” (2 Thessalonians 3:10)

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Father,

I will listen and obey your Word today, working diligently at the job you have given me to do in this season of my life. I will give myself to these responsibilities as though you were my manager, for You are! At the end of the day, may I look back with joy and pleasure and pride, receiving as my reward Your smile of approval for a job well done. Please let me hear the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!”

Amen

Previous Posts

A Prayer for Business Competitors
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun ...

posted 9:42:21am Sep. 04, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer for God's Thoughts
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine” (Isaiah 55:8). For, “Who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to teach him?” But we understand these ...

posted 12:18:27pm Sep. 03, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer for Excellence in Business
“And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ.” (Philippians 1:9-10) Years ago Tom Peters ...

posted 10:46:38am Sep. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Prayer for a Good Work Ethic
Work hard so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker, one who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly explains the word of truth.  (2 Timothy 2:15) Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but ...

posted 10:39:27am Sep. 01, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer for Perspective
Then Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!’ The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire” 2 Kings 6:17.  Things looked ...

posted 10:24:35am Aug. 27, 2015 | read full post »

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