How to Pray about Work

Solomon has always been an intriguing character for me, if for no other reason than his famous prayer that was so pleasing to God.

You know the story. Solomon goes to Gibeon to sacrifice to the Lord. There, the Lord appears to Solomon in a dream and says, “Ask what you wish me to give you.” I Kings 3:4-5. Solomon had just become king, and instead of asking for the things all men hope and pray for–long life, wealth, fame–Solomon asks for the one thing that will help him most in performing his job well: wisdom in ruling. I Kings 3:7-9.

The Lord was so pleased with Solomon’s prayer for wisdom at work, He immediately answered it, and then he threw in riches and fame to go along with it. I KIngs 3:10-13. God was pleased because Solomon asked for that which was most important to being successful at his job. The Lord’s response highlights both the importance of our work and His willingness to help in completing it.

But it wasn’t just that Solomon asked for wisdom to do his job; It was pleasing to God that Solomon did not ask for a long life, riches, and fame. These are things everyone wants, but our want for them often interferes with what the Lord wants for us.

Continue reading “How to Pray about Work”

Hearing His Voice

HearingI was changing out of my suit and into a t-shirt tonight and saw myself in the mirror.

What caught my eye was the size of my right bicep.

You see, I’ve been lifting weights consistently for a year now and there is some real definition there, not enough to impress anybody else, but enough for me to notice.

So before I put my shirt on I went in to the kitchen, shirt in hand, flexed my right bicep and asked my wife if she noticed anything.

She said sarcastically, “Is there a hole in the shirt?” Continue reading “Hearing His Voice”

A Thought On Prayer

Detour SignThree years ago our good friend Ji Yun of Tirosh Expeditions asked me and my wife to consider taking a trip to Israel with a group he was organizing.

I told Ji we would pray about it, but everything in me said, “No.” My wife and I had never had a desire to go to Israel, and at the time I was extremely busy preaching every week, running our pastorless church as well as my full time law practice.

However, I told Ji we would pray about it, so, as a matter of integrity we did. After praying for a few days, I said to my wife, “I know this makes no sense, but I think the Lord is saying we should go.” She said, “I feel the same way.”

Well, we went to Israel, and it was a life-changning trip. We’ve been back a second time and are talking about going again next year.

Continue reading “A Thought On Prayer”

Day 3: How To Pray In A Group

My church just completed day 3 of a 6 day fast. In addition to fasting, we are praying corporately each evening.

I never liked praying in groups until I got around people who really knew how to do group prayer. When I saw it done well, my attitude toward it changed.

Good group prayer is not just serial praying by a group of individuals. In good group prayer one person prays, and what they pray is what others in the group were getting ready to pray.

When one person finishes, the next person picks up where the previous person left off, as if they were reading from the same paragraph.

Good group prayer is like one person praying through different voices. And when it’s finished you know it. It gets quiet; everything that needed to be prayed has been prayed. Continue reading “Day 3: How To Pray In A Group”

A Point On Prayer

I was watching the end of the LSU v. Florida football game Saturday evening as the camera focused in on a Florida fan with her eyes closed, apparently praying for a favorable ending to the game.

It reminded me of my college basketball days, when I would pray fervently that we would win games.  I continued the practice into the beginning of my law career, praying before each trial that we would win.  I don’t pray that way anymore.

It’s not because I don’t think God is interested in the outcome of college basketball games or trials.  He undoubtedly is. I don’t pray that way anymore because I now understand about common ground.

C.S. Lewis explained it like this:  If you are walking downhill in one direction, a person walking in the opposite direction must, by necessity, walk uphill. This seems simple enough, but I found myself praying like I didn’t understand it.

Football games, basketball games and trials all occur on common ground, in other words, on a common objective reality.  The outcome of the LSU v. Florida football game probably affected more than a million people. For those watching at home who were watching for entertainment value, the effect was probably minor. For the coaches, and to a lesser degree the players, the effect could be major or career-altering.  How could I possibly know how to pray for the outcome of the game to account for all the people it would affect?

Sure, I could pray completely self-interested, “Lord, I don’t care how the outcome of this game affects a million people, what I want is most important”? How spiritual is that?

The only person who could know how to pray in such a situation, who has the breadth of knowledge to take into account all the variables and persons involved, is God, and I ain’t He.

So I generally don’t pray for outcomes in such situations; I pray for outworkings. For example, going into a trial, instead of praying to win (an outcome) I pray the Lord would work in and through me to enable me to perform excellently (an outworking).

Two things happen. First, it takes the pressure off me because trying to control an outcome creates anxiety. Second, I can pray with more faith because I can be more confident the Lord wants me to do well than I can be about a particular outcome.

Give it a try.  I think you will find it liberating. GS