The topic of prayer has gotten a lot of attention from mass media the last few years, and most of it is not good. Look up “prayer shaming” on Google, and you will see many references to how worthless prayer supposedly is.
This post isn’t going to dive into any of that. #TheoThursday posts are not intended to be “apologetic.” What follows is just an example of how I pray for our business--and hopefully some encouragement for you to pray for yours.
As I begin, remember prayer is more about changing me, than changing my circumstances. It is the ultimate realization that, to quote the Priest in the movie “Rudy,” there is a God, and I am not him. In a business sense, this means remembering that our business is not the center of the universe.
Practically, I use a helpful acronym in all my prayers: CHAT.
C – Confess. Yes, in praying for Hoffer Plastics I begin with confessing that we are sinful. This is a loaded term, and may be offensive to some. But “sin” just means choosing a path not aligned to God’s ways. For example, daily we can contribute to relational strife; we can put our hope in more sales rather than in God; we can put ourselves – and our company – before others; and we can even ignore the limits God has placed on our work life. The list could go on for miles. Realizing this, confessing this, and asking God for help in turning back to him, is the starting point of this prayer.
H – Honor. Next, I honor God by praising Him for his character. To a non-believer, this may sound trite. “Does God really need to hear how great he is?” Perhaps not, but I need to remember who God is: Every sale, every human being working here, are all provided by the PROVIDER. He is SOVEREIGN, and watches out for our business. He also TEACHES, REBUKES, and CORRECTS. These can be hard lessons, but even then, he is GOOD. These reminders quickly put everything else into perspective.
A – Ask. Now I ask God for specific things. This is what most people think prayer is. It is so much more, but we do need to ask. The most common thing I pray for is WISDOM. 99% of leadership is dealing with things a human being cannot possibly “know” with certainty. Thus, I rely on God’s WISDOM. And to be sure, he provides (this after all, is why some of my direct reports think I am good at hiring others. NO WAY. God just provides wisdom. He is faithful).
T – Thanksgiving. Finally, I end by thanking God for everything. The good things and the bad, the hard things, and even the things I do not understand. I even thank God for being big enough to hear my frustration that I don’t get what he is up to in certain regards. But giving thanks for His faithful provision and his answered prayers gives me the fuel I need to trust nonetheless.
I challenge you to grab a cup of coffee this week and pray through these steps. Then watch for changes in yourself and your circumstances. Look for God's answers. And you can decide for yourself if this is a worthwhile exercise.
I know what I would say.