Two Prayer Mistakes Business Owners Make
There are two prayer mistakes I tend to make when dealing with the challenges I face as a business owner. The first mistake involves timing. Prayer should be my first response. I’m working on that, but still I mess up and end up worrying first. The second mistake involves direction. I pray in the wrong direction.
One, Prayer is Not The First Response.
I confess that when a panic worthy problem crops up in my life, to pray is not my natural impulse. Instead, I want to think about it, analyze it…figure it out. When my worry is really juicy, I’m COMPELLED to TELL someone about what’s going on or what I’m afraid is about to happen.
I have also learned that this first thing I’m compelled to do is not the thing I first should do. When I think about it or talk about it, as my first response, it doesn’t help. It only reinforces my natural tendency to fret, feeding my worry habit. Am I saying there’s never a time to air out a problem? No, I’m just saying the first air I best give my problems is the air of heaven. Pray first. Most of the time, when I pray first, that is all the airing out my problem needs.
Two, They pray in the wrong direction.
That was true for Sarah who ran her business in downtown Tucson. She was facing several challenges. So, she had come to see Tammie, an older woman whose office was down the street from hers. Tammie was known for her effective way of praying.
“Sarah,” Tammie said, “I know you have been praying about these issues, but I think you have been praying in the wrong direction.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, for the last few minutes you have painted a colorful, hectic picture of what’s worrying you about your business. I’ll bet a dozen cookies and a cup of hot chocolate that you talk the same way when you talk to God about it. Am I wrong?”
“You are not wrong. How did you know?”
“Well, that’s how most people pray, at least the ones I’ve heard.” And, Sarah, that’s how I used to pray. I started here and prayed to there.
“Let me put it this way. I started on earth and I prayed to heaven about my cares, explaining my problems to God, as though He didn’t already know about them. Does God hear that kind of prayer? You better believe He does. If he didn’t, there wouldn’t be much prayer answering going on, because most people pray that way. But child, THAT’S not the most powerful way to pray.” Think about it.
World’s Foremost Expert on Prayer
The world’s foremost expert on prayer explained that we should pray from there to here, heaven to earth. He told his students to make their prayer to God about “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” It’s a small shift in perspective from our natural tendency to this Jesus teaching.
I like to think of it this way. Begin your prayer in a perfect place. Look around heaven and see what’s done there, then, ask your Heavenly Father to make it done here.
The conversation went on for quite a while. Tammie explained to Sarah about the Lord’s prayer and How Jesus had taught his disciples to pray God’s Kingdom come and God’s will be done in the earth as it is in heaven.
She explained that prayer is seeing what God has done in heaven for her and asking Him to make it hers on the earth. She also told her that this kind of praying is the kind of praying she needs to do when she prays for others. Seeing what God has done for someone one in heaven and asking Him to make it theirs in the earth. She explained, “The reason God has done things in heaven is so they can be done on the earth.”
Sarah had a question for Tammie.
“The reason God has done things in heaven is so they can be done on the earth.”
“How do you know what’s done in heaven?”
“Precious, see this book right here, holding her well worn, marked-with-red-underlines-from-cover-to-cover Bible. It’s chock full of clues about what’s done in heaven just waiting to be done on the earth.
Study the stories
When you read about the amazing things that happened to Bible people who trusted in God, don’t miss the clues in their stories about what was first done in heaven. Their stories leave clues about the things God has in heaven for you. Everything God has for you starts in Heaven. He’s just waiting for you to partner up with him to see it become a reality on the earth. He wants you praying, willing and working with him.
Study the promises
Another way to discover what’s done in heaven is to study the promises. There are promises galore between the covers of this book. In every promise there are hidden secrets just waiting to be revealed about what’s already done in heaven just waiting to be done on the earth. And sometimes, you know what is done in Heaven because in the secret place of prayer, God shows you what He has done.
Sarah, people tend to look around in terror and think about what they see with their physical eyes. They fiercely pray their fears. They wing their worries to God. When we do that, I think God gently smiles and says, ‘Hey, I’ll do what I can do with that prayer, but you’re using earth eyes.
Use your spiritual eyes. With them you can see things that are already done for you, carefully kept in a safe place for you. Things done in heaven meant for earth. Seek those things first. See those things with your spiritual eyes. Think about those things, talk about those things, pray about those things, ask for those things. They will be added to the things on the Earth that you can see with earth eyes.’
It’s the most Relational Kind of Prayer
“Sarah dear, THAT is the way prayer is designed to work. THAT is the most powerful way to pray. It’s the most peaceful way to pray, the most relational way to pray.”
“Yes, prayer works best for people who take the time to build an intimate relationship with Jesus. He reveals the secrets to His promises. Many people know the promises, but only His intimates know the secrets to his promises. He uncovers clues hidden in the stories of people He wrote about in his great book. Over time, you get to know HIM. You begin to see God’s will as it is already done for you in heaven. That changes how you pray.
Positive, joyful, tranquil, and alive, healthy and prosperous are words that describe people who pray and live that way.”
Put up a Pray-First, Pray-From-There Sticky Note Prayer Reminder
If you, like me, have the tendency to worry first and pray as a last resort. Put a sticky note on your mirror that reminds you to pray first and to pray from there. Plan to put off worry until some later time.
Then when you pray, start with what you believe about what is done for you in heaven. Pray that God blesses you by making that done for you… Not just in your business, also in your family, for your health, about your relationships, and in the lives of people you pray for.
If you start your prayer and draw a blank about what is done for you in heaven, make a Bible study project around the issue at hand. Find the stories about people who went through what you are going through. Look for promises that deal with what you are dealing with. Wait and watch as you spend time in his presence to see the specifics He may show you. When what you need matches what you find in his Word, take it. Ask for it. Thank Him that it is on the way from Heaven to your corner of the Earth.
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