The horse is prepared for the day of battle, but deliverance is of the lord. – Proverb 21:31
Loving heavenly father,You know all my worries and fears regarding this interview! You are a most loving heavenly father and You understand my innermost feelings!Yes Lord! I am so nervous thinking about the outcome of this interview. You know my limitations Lord, but Your word says that Your strength is enough in our times of weakness. I admit that I have no wisdom or knowledge of my own. But I have confidence that I can do every thing thorough Christ who strengths me. I do not know what is in store for me but I know that my future is in the hands of Lord of Lords, Who has made me. So Lord be with me and help me to find grace in the sight in the eyes of the concerned authorities. I need not be afraid of men because I have the Lord Almighty beside me. Please go before me and let me answer the questions boldly and intelligently. Please remove all the unwanted fears and worries and fill me with courage. Let me never be put to the shame. I thank You Lord for listening to my supplications and filling me with Your peace. In Jesus’ name I pray.Amen.
The World Day of Prayer was March 2, 2018.
Browse resources in the Prayer section in the Bible Gateway Store.
Why does it seem as if some prayers work and others don’t? Are we doing something wrong? How do we keep from losing heart and giving up on the very tool God has given us to not lose heart?
Bible Gateway interviewed John Eldredge (@johneldredge) about his book, Moving Mountains: Praying with Passion, Confidence, and Authority (Thomas Nelson, 2016).
What distinguishes your book from the many others that are available on the subject of prayer?
John Eldredge: The disciples watched the prayer life of Jesus and responded by saying, “Teach us to pray.” I think that’s a new idea for most Christians—that prayer is something we learn and grow into and mature at. Prayer isn’t like sneezing; it’s far more like getting married, where love is a good start, but there’s a whole lot more to be learned isn’t there? Moving Mountains is different because it is an how-to book on prayer. How do you consecrate your home? How do you pray for the sick? It’s a step-by-step guide to powerful and effective prayer.
What is the “zap” view of prayer?
John Eldredge: I think most of look at prayer this way: We ask, then wait for God to move. If he is going to move, he’s going to move fast—zap—and it’s done. But that’s not what you see in the stories of prayer in the Bible. It took Elijah eight rounds of prayer to call in the rain that ended the drought for Israel. It took the church in Acts an all-night prayer vigil to spring Peter from jail. In the famous parable of the persistent widow, Jesus urges us to stick with it. If all we do is pray once, and give up—no wonder we don’t see more results to our prayers.
What is a more spiritually mature way to think about, and to practice, prayer?
John Eldredge: The wonderful view of prayer given to us in Scripture is that prayer is partnership with God. Not just asking and then waiting to see whether or not God moves. God in fact promised the rain, but he told Elijah to pray; Elijah was God’s partner in that project. When Saul is blinded on the Damascus road, Jesus goes to a disciple in Damascus and says to him, “Ananias—I want you to go pray for Saul.” Now certainly the Lord of heaven and earth could just give Saul back his sight—zap—but he chose to use Ananias’ prayers. I think this is so encouraging. It gives us such a remarkable role in what God is doing in the world.
What are two basic assumptions that are the starting point for a mature understanding of prayer?
John Eldredge: The first is this: God is growing us up. He is deeply committed to our maturity—including maturity in prayer. As Christians we want to stay in simple, “Jesus be with us” prayers. And God honors those…for a while. But then he calls us up into a much more mature approach to prayer. The second big idea is that we live in a world at war. This is a core assumption of the Scriptures—the church is battling evil on the earth. You have an enemy. If we really believed that, we would take prayer much more seriously than we do. We would want to get really good at it.
Explain the concept of praying Scripture and give examples from the Bible.
John Eldredge: Let’s start with a promise the Bible gives us: That if we ask anything according to the will of God, those prayers will be answered (1 John 5:14-15). This is so encouraging! How then do we know what the will of God is? Well—we have the Scriptures. Praying the word of God and the promises of God is a very powerful way to pray. There is a beautiful prayer in Ephesians 3 where Paul demonstrates for us, asking that God would fill us with his Spirit in our inmost being, that we would be rooted deep in love, that we would have his help in knowing the magnificent love of Jesus. The end of that prayer is the promise that we will be filled to all the fullness of God. I want to be filled to all the fullness of God! I think everyone does. Well then—pray that prayer! (Eph. 3:16-19)
Why are so many prayers met with silence from God?
John Eldredge: Mmmmm. We need to be careful by what we mean by “silence.” Unanswered prayer has so many booby traps to it—we jump to conclusions like, God isn’t listening. I can’t pray. I am abandoned. None of that is true, according to Scripture. What’s interesting is that in Daniel chapter 10 we are given a dramatic story of seemingly “unanswered” prayer, and it turns out that God in fact was moving, just not at the pace Daniel was expecting. Be very careful how you interpret “unanswered” prayer.
Is it enough to simply recite people’s names to God in prayers of intervention?
John Eldredge: These are good questions—they illustrate what I was saying earlier about our need to develop a mature prayer life. For example, here—Christians have been taught that repetition is somehow bad in prayer. And indeed, Jesus warns against vain repetition. But the Bible is filled with prayers that keep at it, circle back, repeat the ideas, keep praying—like in the Psalms. In fact, Jesus himself prays the exact same thing three times over in Gethsemane. So repetition is actually modeled for us in Scripture. Let me try and illustrate why—prayer is like chopping down a great tree. If you only give it a whack or two, you’re not going to see results. The persistent widow stayed with it, and saw results.
If answers to prayers of intervention cannot be guaranteed, what’s the purpose of praying for others?
John Eldredge: Because we care; because we cannot sit idly by and do nothing for the heartache of the world. Because Jesus assumes that we will pray. Notice in the teaching before the famous “Lord’s prayer,” he says “when you pray…” (Matt. 6:5-7). James says the fervent prayer of a righteous man or woman is powerful and effective (James 5:16). So the biblical worldview assumes a vital role for prayer. We are not passive observers; we are God’s sons and daughters, here on the earth to bring his kingdom. Pray!
Do you think Christians are more concerned with praying for physical healing than they are for strengthening their souls?
John Eldredge: Well, when you or someone you love are in pain, it does move you to pray. I understand completely. But too often we wait till then to pray, or we only pray about “crises.” That’s actually very unkind to your prayer life. Don’t wait for huge needs to pray; pray over small things to begin with, so that your faith grows and you get into a habit of prayer. And yes—my goodness—your soul needs care and strengthening, so please pray for that too!
How do you respond to people who say its presumptuous to claim conversational intimacy with God?
John Eldredge: I reply, “That is what Jesus taught. That is what the entire Bible is about.” Seriously—the Bible is filled with stories of God speaking to his people. Jesus taught four times in John 10 alone that his sheep hear his voice. This idea is all throughout the Old and New Testaments. In fact, in Revelation—after Christ has ascended—he says he stands at the door and knocks, and “if anyone hears my voice, I will come in…” (3:20). Prayer is not a one-way communication; it is not making speeches at God. He wants to speak back. Can you imagine any earthly father never ever speaking to his children? What would we think of him as a father? Learning to hear the voice of God is a critical step in maturity in the Christian life.
How does prayer help achieve the goal of union with God?
John Eldredge: Life is so distracting. The number one soul-killer is simply how busy we all are. We are a very busy and distracted people. Prayer causes us to stop, and turn our attention to God. The more we linger there, the more intimate the relationship becomes. (Frankly, I think this is one of the reasons for “unanswered” prayers—God wants us to stay with him, linger, and if we simply said quick prayers and walked away, the relationship would never deepen.) Look at the life of Jesus—it’s marked by long periods of getting away just to be with his father. If the Son of God could not live without it, do we really think we can?
What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App?
John Eldredge: I’m glad you asked! I use it all the time for Bible study and research. It’s enormously helpful!
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
John Eldredge: Thank you for allowing me to share a few thoughts on prayer. It really is the secret weapon God has given his people and far too many good folk have given up on it.
Bio: John Eldredge is an author of many books—including Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul and You Have What It Takes: What Every Father Needs to Know—a counselor, and a teacher. He is also president of Ransomed Heart, a ministry devoted to helping people discover the heart of God, recovering their own hearts in God’s love, and learning to live in God’s Kingdom. He lives near Colorado Springs, Colorado.
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It’s mini answer Monday — seven short answers to seven short questions. Here we go…
1. Praying at interviews … and a law firm with a resident chaplain
I walked into an interview for a paralegal position at a law firm, and on the receptionist’s desk was the Ten Commandments. No big deal, right? I thought maybe the receptionist put it there for herself. But then a man comes out and introduces himself as the law firm’s chaplain and proceeds to ask myself and the other two paralegals if we would like to be lead in prayer. The other two ladies chime in with a zealous “YES!” and we proceed to pray about having a successful day. At this point, I’m freaking out. Now I have nothing against religion — I believe it’s a lot like sexual orientation. It’s a personal decision and I would never dream of questioning anyone on their chosen religious beliefs or sexual preferences. But I do believe NEITHER belong in the workplace. So after I met the chaplain, I seriously considered walking out and just stating that this job isn’t the right fit for me. But pretty quickly, the woman interviewing me called me back. She proceeded to lead my interview with another prayer, and then the attorney came in halfway through the interview to listen in. He also asks if we’ve prayed. At this point, I was trying to make the process as short as possible because there is no way I would be comfortable in that working environment. The interview also ended with a prayer. It should be noted that in their job advertisement they did not mention that they were a faith-based law firm and they did not advertise a starting salary range, but their offered salary at the interview was insultingly low and not negotiable.
What happened here? What’s the appropriate response? Isn’t this borderline illegal? And am I wrong in thinking that even if I was very religious, 3 prayers within one hour would severely affect my work performance and turn potential clients off? If they call me back for a second interview, should I find a way to politely tell them why I would decline?
This is so bizarre that I questioned whether it was real, but the letter came from someone who I’ve corresponded with in the past, so …
Yes, this is crazy town. It’s certaintly their prerogative if they want to run their business that way (and they might be small enough that they’re not covered by federal laws against religious discrimination), but not to state it up front in the ad so candidates can self-select out and to act like of course you’d be comfortable with this without even asking is pure insanity. And rude, frankly.
Personally, I would have left after the chaplain attempted to lead me in prayer. If they call you back, you can certainly say that you appreciate their interest but they seem to have a culture that mixes religion with work and it’s not for you.
2. How can I stay motivated at my boring retail job?
Currently, I am a college student, scheduled to graduate in six months. I have my hands full between school, a part-time (unpaid) internship, and my part- time retail job. My internship and school are going very well. What I am struggling with is my part-time retail job. I have worked there for nearly seven years, and I make barely above minimum wage. I am very burned out from being there for so long, partially because I have never managed to move up from a sales associate position to assistant manager — those opportunities rarely come around and are usually offered to people with more open availability — but also, the repetitiveness of the it all, and the low wages. The work isn’t challenging or rewarding, and I am doing the exact same tasks every day. I no longer have the motivation to keep myself busy during my entire shift, as my managers would like me to do. They have told me my failure to keep myself constantly busy at work is a problem. I feel badly about this. I am rather unhappy there, but I would still like to be able to make this last until I graduate and get a higher- paying job. I feel as though getting a different part-time job would be more stressful than anything, as I require a certain amount of flexibility with my hours that my current job offers. Also, I do not know if that would cause an odd gap in my work history on a resume.
I really want to find new ways to keep myself energized and motivated at work so I can become a better worker and less miserable at work. Any advice you can give me would be appreciated.
The best reason I can give you to continue to do a good job at work is integrity. You are being paid to do a job. You’re accepting money for that job. As long as you continue to accept your employer’s money, you owe it to them (and to yourself, because again, integrity) to do the job the way they’re asking you to do it. Do you want to be the type of person who slacks off (and who potentially becomes known for slacking off), or do you want to be someone who’s awesome at what she does, even when it’s not especially exciting?
Plus, a job that you’ve been at seven years should be a great reference for you. Future prospective managers are going to be interested to talk with the employer who worked with you for so long. It would be a shame to squander a good reference just because the work is repetitive — and given your managers’ talk with you, it sounds like that’s already happening and you need to correct it while you still have a window to.
3. Is there a target on my back because I asked for a raise?
I have been at my current job for 15 months and have recently asked for a raise. I backed up my request with a list for the new products I designed for the company (that have sold) and during my lunch/review the boss and manager gave me only 4’s and 5’s on a 1-5 scale (5=best).
Since being denied a raise for the usual reasons of corporate poverty, I am afraid now I have a target on my back. Had I even got a measly 1%, the issue would have gone away. Not to get paranoid, but I am afraid the boss may be thinking that because I didn’t get the raise, I will be disappointed and look for a new job. So now he will have to replace me before he thinks I would leave.
I do enjoy my job and I do not want to leave. I just want to earn what I am worth for my skills (I only asked for $50/week more). Do you think I have reason to worry about this?
Well, a raise request always has a subtext of “or I may leave and find it elsewhere” attached. So yes, it’s probably crossed your boss’s mind that you might be thinking about that. But replacing you based on nothing more than that is very, very unlikely.
4. Is there a protocol for interviewers?
I was wondering if there was an established protocol for conducting interviews. I am currently looking for a job in my field (finance / investment management). So far, I have had a number of interviews — phone, in person, with a recruiter/headhunter — with various organizations. My idea (and may be I am being naïve) of a well-conducted interview includes sitting down with an interviewer who then explains the position I am interviewing for, then we talk about my experience, and so on. Whereas I have come to know well what to expect and what is important in interviews with recruiters, I am very often quite baffled by the order of questions in all other kinds of interviews. Specifically, last week in a phone screen with an HR rep of a very small company, the third question was regarding my salary expectations. Another HR phone screen from another company – and this question was asked at the beginning of the conversation as well. I also just received an email from an HR rep of another (large and very respected) company and she is asking me the same question. I haven’t even talked to this person or anybody else in the company. Is this the reality job seekers should expect in this market or are these red flags?
I have also noticed that interviewers don’t want to take the time to talk about the position but rather start by asking questions right away. Very often I have to steer them towards telling me what the job is all about as the conversation goes on. Is this a good practice on behalf of interviewers?
There’s no universal rule for what interviewers should ask first and in what order. But interviewers often don’t start by talking about the position because they assume you know the basics from the job posting and that the details will come out through conversation as the interview progresses.
And in phone screens, it’s very common to ask some quick deal-breakers right up front; they have a zillion candidates to talk to, and they don’t want to waste time talking about the position if you don’t meet some basic criteria, one of which is often whether you’re in the same salary range that they are.
5. Required to work a full extra day
Can an employer require an exempt salaried professional employee to start working an additional full day (Saturday) on top of their regular ~40 hour M-F work week with no additional compensation?
Yes. You can, of course, try to negotiate a raise or other compensation, or a more flexible schedule. If they won’t budge, then you need to decide if you want the job under these new terms.
6. I’m overhearing talk of layoffs — can I use this as leverage?
I sit next to 2 change managers who are talking about massive layoffs. 25 waves, 100 per wave, to give you an idea of the scale. I’ve been overhearing these conversations for several months now. Recently, I’ve heard my group mentioned as part of the upcoming layoffs. It’s affecting my day to day, just having to listen them talk about my livelihood so nonchalantly.
Do I have any rights in terms of reporting to HR or negotiating a higher severance for having had to hear this? The layoffs are originating from the HR department, so I’m not even sure if it’s worth reporting. I don’t typically use HR as a resource, but I’d love to hear what you think.
Do you have any rights to special treatment because you’ve overheard layoffs being discussed? No. In fact, some might say that you’ve already received the special treatment — the luxury of getting to know ahead of time that you might lose your job and a heads-up that you should be job searching. But as far as reporting it as some sort of wrongdoing or asking for additional severance because of it? No.
7. Why would an employer cancel an interview — after I’d already arrived?
I was recently asked to interview for a position with an organization. The HR department gave me a list of available time slots for the HR manager and the manager of the department where I would be working. I selected a suitable time for both of us, and went to the interview. When I got there, I immediately had my interview with HR and was told that the department manager had set aside an hour to talk to me. After I finished my HR interview, I was told to wait in the reception area and that the department manager would come to get me. 15 minutes later, the HR manager said that they couldn’t find the department manager and that they would go look for her. After another 15 minutes, the HR manager came back to tell me that the department manager was in a meeting and that they would be in touch to reschedule. I was shocked. What are possible reasons that a manager would have another meeting during a mutually agreed upon time and then cancel it after I arrived? Will they even call me back to reschedule?
Reasons: Rudeness and disorganization. But primarily rudeness — since while disorganization may have led her to schedule another meeting for the same time, it was rudeness that led her not to immediately leave it and come meet with you once someone told her you were waiting.
I have no idea whether they’ll call you back to reschedule, but if you have enough other options in your job search, I’d strongly encourage you to turn down a rescheduled interview. You don’t want to work for this person.