When do you pray? What do you pray about? Whom do you pray for? Do you pray at all?
When it comes to prayer, Jesus set the pace for us. He prayed before picking His team of co-workers (that would be his 12 disciples.) He prayed when people needed a miracle (remember the five loaves and two fish). He prayed with Peter, James, and John before His transfiguration. He told parables about persisting in prayer and not giving up. He prayed for Simon Peter. He prayed when He ate the last supper with His disciples. He prayed in the face of His biggest test (before His arrest at the mount of Olives). He prayed when He was dying. He kept on praying after His resurrection (at the meal with two disciples from Emmaus).
His disciples were so moved by His transparent and powerful praying they said, “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11) And in response, He taught them to pray to their Father in Heaven (Matt. 6), and one line from what we know as The Lord’s Prayer surely got their attention, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.”
If you think deeply about this sentence, it will soon strike you that we should never fall into the trap of bifurcating our lives into the spiritual and the secular, into church and business. God has told us that He made all, He rules all, He owns all. That would be everything.
The former President of the Netherlands, Abraham Kuyper, succinctly said it like this,
“There is not one square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign overall all, does not cry out, Mine!”
If our Lord Jesus owns all, is sovereign over all, and wants His will to be done and His kingdom to come here on earth, then surely every aspect of our business, family and personal life falls into the realm of His interests.
And that means everything. Every moment is therefore pregnant with possibilities for prayer.
- Need to hire a new employee? God is interested. Pray.
- Need to make some big financial decisions about the disposition of your wealth? Pray.
- Facing a tough decision? God has called us to ask for wisdom. Pray.
- Feeling the tug of an especially nasty temptation? The Bible says, “Watch and pray that you do not fall into temptation.”
And particularly pray when that mountain-sized problem walks through the front door.
I’m always inspired by the account of Nehemiah as he is working his way through a strategy to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He fasts and prays. He knows the success of his strategy is contingent upon the king granting his request for a travel permit. He asks God for favour in the presence of the king. Then, when the moment comes, and the king says, “What is it that you want?” we read these eight simple words that changed the course of Jewish history. Nehemiah tells us,
“Then I prayed to the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4)
I’m sure it was a very short prayer, breathed quickly in his mind to God, and was likely over in just a few seconds. But that prayer altered things forever. Maybe he prayed, “O God, help me now.” Or perhaps, “Give me success, Lord.” Or maybe, “I’m in your hands, God.” History tells us God moved the heart of the king and the Jerusalem project became a resounding success.
I think God wants all of us to be Nehemiahs. Because Christ rules over all and is therefore interested in all, and because God’s Word tells us to “Pray continually” (1 Thess. 5:17), and “on all occasions” (Eph. 6:18), there is never a moment that is not a candidate for prayer.
Our Corpath mantra goes like this: pursuing excellence in business, in life, in spirit. God’s plan all along has been to assist us in this pursuit of excellence. And that means there is no problem, there is no opportunity, there is no possibility for which God does not want us to ask for His wisdom, His provision, His intervention, His favour, His kingdom come.
Can you say with Nehemiah, “Then I prayed to the God of heaven?”
Gordon Dirks, President (Interim)