What Does It Mean?
Prayer is not where you end your ministry in the workplace. It‘s where your ministry begins. If anything of a spiritual nature is going to happen, God has to do it. Ministry in the workplace is God-sized. Christ’s words in John 15:5 dare not be forgotten: “Without Me you can do nothing.” Two things are essential.
Pray, and keep on praying.
Notice how Paul began his exhortation in Colossians 4:2: “Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving.” The idea behind words like “continue earnestly” and “being vigilant” is that prayer ought to come from our lips like water comes from a dripping faucet. Pray when you get up and pray an hour after you‘re up. Pray before breakfast and pray after breakfast. Pray on your way to work and pray on your way home. Pray before your sales appointment and pray afterward. Pray as you leave the warehouse and pray as you return. Pray as you open up your e-mails and pray as you press “send.” Bottom line: make it a habit to engage in consistent prayer.
Paul‘s emphasis on prayer is like the boy who always wanted a baby brother. His dad told him, “The only way you can get anything is to ask God for it—so if you want a baby brother, you‘ll have to ask God for one.” So morning, noon, and night the boy prayed. He prayed before breakfast and after breakfast; on his way to school and on his way home; before soccer practice and after soccer practice. There was never an hour he didn‘t pray. After several weeks of praying, he still did not have a baby brother. So he thought, This isn’t doing any good, and he stopped praying. Nine months later his father said, “Son, your mother is going to the hospital and I think when she comes home, she‘ll have God’s answer to your prayers in her arms.” Sure enough, when the mother came home, she not only had one new little brother in her arms, but two, beautiful twin boys. The father, wanting to drive his lesson home, said, “Son, aren‘t you glad you prayed the way you did?”
To which the son answered, “I sure am, Dad. But aren‘t you glad I stopped when I did?”
Like that little boy, we should pray daily and hourly. But unlike him, our commitment to prayer shouldn‘t end after a few weeks of effort. Every day and every situation of that day presents us with opportunities to stay in communication with our Lord.
How does one pray as he sends an invoice, drives to his next sales job, or greets his her next client? The answer is to live in an atmosphere of prayer. God hears the whispers of the heart, and a person can pray just as earnestly while changing the sparkplugs of a car as one does when participating in a prayer group at church. This doesn‘t mean that having a time and place each day when we regularly meet with the Lord isn’t important. The point is that God is never more than a prayer breath away. We can bring everything to Him in prayer as it comes to us in life.
I‘ve often been asked how a busy person keeps from being distracted as he prays. It‘s hard to pause and pray when you‘re facing a deadline on a project, or there‘s an appointment you have yet to prepare for. You may feel overwhelmed by concerns on the home front that you carry with you to work, or your work schedule seems to master you instead of you mastering it. What do we do to work effectively without losing focus?
The answer is twofold. First, speak to God about the distractions. God has no limits on what we can bring before Him. That means we can come to Him and say, “Help me when I talk to you to not get distracted.” This is another one of those areas in our lives where He can do “exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think” (Eph. 3:20). Second, putting Him where He needs to be has a way of putting everything else where it needs to be. A businessman friend of mine said to me, “I‘ve found something very interesting. When I take the time I need to spend with the Lord, everything I was concerned about getting done somehow gets done.”
That‘s right—it‘s a God thing! Putting Him in His rightful place in our priorities has a way of helping us get everything else in order. We can get done whatever needs to be done as He shows what is necessary and what can wait until another day. Perhaps that is what made Martin Luther say, “I have so much to do today that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”1
Accompany prayer with thanks.
Prayer is not merely talking to God about doing something, but also thanking Him for what He‘s already done. It should not surprise anyone that Paul also said, “. . . with thanksgiving.”
“Thanksgiving” is not a P.S. attached to the end of a prayer. It’s a spirit in which our requests are made. We pray to a God of grace, One from whose hand we deserve nothing but the just punishment for our sins. Instead, He holds back from us what we rightly deserve so He might give us what we don‘t deserve.
We‘re thankful for who He is. The psalmist said, “Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” (Ps. 106:1). We’re thankful for who we are in Him. Paul exhorted the Colossians, “Giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:12–14).
We’re thankful for everything good that comes from His hand—the physical as well as the spiritual. Paul made that clear by rebuking those who set up rigid rules about the physical as if spiritual things were all that mattered. He wrote to his young protégé Timothy, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer” (1 Tim. 4:1–5).
Prayer is all-inclusive. As Paul told the Thessalonians, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18).
Two essentials that dare not be neglected are:
• Pray, and keep on praying.
• Accompany prayer with thanks.
These two alone can make a phenomenal difference as you begin ministry each day in the workplace. You‘ll soon realize that what has happened through your nine-to-five day can only be attributed to the supernatural.
© 2012 by R. Larry Moyers. Show Me How to Share Christ in the Workplace. Used by permission from Kregel Publications.