Is stress holding you hostage and keeping you from rest? Do you feel burdens pressing in that seem too heavy to bear? When anxious thoughts pull you in the wrong direction, and you’re struggling to find balance, the following prayer might express your thoughts and help you find relief and freedom.
Before praying, consider these 4 steps for praying over anxiety, as suggested by well-known author and speaker Max Lucado:
- Pray immediately.
“Don’t stew over the problems that are besetting you or your neighbor. Ask God for help as soon as you identify a need.”
- Pray specifically.
“When we boil our concerns down to a specific request, they become right-sized. Vague threats loom larger than concrete challenges.”
- Pray for and with others.
“When we consider the problems of others and enlist their help with ours, our concerns become more manageable.”
- Pray with thanksgiving.
“Anxiety and gratitude cannot occupy the same space. When we catalog what are thankful for, our list of challenges grows less powerful.”
Table of contents
- 1 A Prayer for Relief of Stress and Anxiety
- 2 A Short Prayer for An Anxious Heart
- 3 Using Faith to Reduce Stress
- 4 The Importance of Prayer
- 5 Scientific Evidence That Faith Improves Mental Health
- 6 What Does The Bible Teach Us About Stress?
- 7 Some Prayers To Help With Stress
- 8 Resources & Further Reading
- 9 1. Ask God to help you see your work as an important part of your whole life ministry.
- 10 2. Ask God to help you remember that the one you serve is Christ!
- 11 3. Pray for the wisdom to remember” it’s not about me”
- 12 4. Ask God to remind you that you’re not responsible for how others decide to treat you; you’re only responsible for how you treat them.
- 13 5. Ask God to use your work to develop your character and your conduct
- 14 6. When you fall short, ask for forgiveness and try again.
- 15 7. Ask God to help you believe that you are where you are supposed to be
- 16 8. Find God’s hand, plan and favor in temporary holding places during your career.
- 17 9. Continue to pray until God provides His peace that surpasses all understanding
- 18 10. Remember to pray daily for your interactions with everyone in the workplace
- 19 11. Trust God’s promise that that everyone will give an account directly to Him for how they have handled their work.
- 20 12. If you’re in an unhealthy work environment, pray for wisdom and discernment as to what actions God would have you take.
- 21 Other Related Articles
A Prayer for Relief of Stress and Anxiety
Lord Jesus, the stresses in my life often reach a dangerous proportion—or so it seems. My body, mind, and spirit struggle to keep up physically, mentally, and yes, spiritually. Some days anxiety stalks me like a deceitful predator, and the temptation to worry draws me in. I know better, but some days the challenges outweigh the truths buried inside. My trust in You fades into the background, giving fear and concerns permission to discourage me.
In those moments of apprehension, help me remember that I belong to You, and that You are not the author of fear or anxiety, but the giver of love and a sound mind. Teach me Your ways to respond to problems by giving thanks in them. Your Word assures me that You are always there with me. You are the Blessed Controller of all things, and nothing escapes Your attention in my life. You have given me every tool and spiritual blessing to fight against those things that try to steal my peace. You’ve promised that when I’m stressed and burdens are trying to weigh me down, I can come to You. You will give me sweet rest!
Whether the anxiety stems from work, parenting, finances, physical issues, or even world conditions, You are there, Lord, to shoulder the weight. Teach me to recognize the stressful trials as tools for you to shape me and rearrange me. Through those difficult times, You will teach me patience, enlarge my faith, and help me see things I couldn’t see earlier—if I will only let You. When I’m clueless as to what to do, Lord, I want to turn to you first, not last.
Forgive me for trying to handle things on my own, Lord. The need to be in control sometimes gets a stronghold on my life. That only makes things worse. I want to trust You more and see things from Your perspective, not my own. No one makes me feel uptight, angry, or stressed, and no one forces me to react negatively. I choose to respond according to my beliefs. Do I believe You are in control? Do I believe You created all things and hold all things in Your Hand? Do I believe You are truly good? When an anxious thought creeps in, help me to stop and relax, to take that thought captive, and to turn apprehension into a calm prayer for deliverance. Revamp my belief system, Lord. Show me a new way to handle life according to Your Way.
No matter what issues I am dealing with; no matter how big the problems or situations, I’m laying them all at Your feet today. Turn these potentials for stress into lessons for growth and trust. When I can’t see any possible solutions, I choose to believe that You are working things out for my good—in Your own time, as you have in the past. Show me what to do, or what not to do. As I focus on You, remembering Your promises and Your words, I believe You will fill me with a peace that is beyond all understanding.
In Your precious name,
A Short Prayer for An Anxious Heart
Dear Lord, I thank you that I can come to You always for any reason. I’m grateful that when I pray to You, You answer me. Help me to come to You at the beginning of my fears and anxieties instead of waiting until I can’t stand them anymore. The quicker I come to You the better. You want to free me from ALL my fears. Help me look to You for help more often so that I can be radiant with Your joy. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.
– Jennifer Heeren
Rebecca Barlow Jordan is an inspirational author, speaker, and passionate follower of Jesus who loves to encourage others heart to heart. She has written 11 books and over 1700 other articles, greeting cards, and other inspirational pieces. Her daily devotional Daily in Your Presence is available for delivery through Crosswalk.com. You can find out more about Rebecca at www.rebeccabarlowjordan.com.
Publication date: October 27, 2017
This article is part of our larger Prayers resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Visit our most popular prayers if you are wondering how to pray or what to pray. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can’t find the words to pray.
Prayer for Healing
Prayer for StrengthPrayer for ProtectionMorning PrayersGood Night PrayersSerenity PrayerA Birthday PrayerSinner’s PrayerPrayer for ForgivenessPrayer for GuidanceIntercessory PrayerPrayer for PeacePrayer for FaithPrayer for Love
The pharmaceutical industry makes millions from the marketing and sale of antidepressants and other mood enhancers. While these medications have their place, it is concerning that they are being prescribed at a higher rate than ever before.
There is one age-old method that can reduce stress levels. It’s free, doesn’t require a prescription, and has zero side effects or drug interactions. You will know it as faith, and millions of people around the world rely on it to see them through hard times. The results are not just anecdotal, there is evidence that it works. Faith and spirituality are abstract concepts, but they can lead to concrete results in mental health improvement and stress reduction.
Here are the sections in this article:
Using Faith to Reduce StressThe Importance of PrayerScientific Evidence That Faith Improves Mental HealthWhat Does The Bible Teach Us About Stress?Some Prayers To Help With Stress
Faith and spirituality are much more than just comforting rituals to religious individuals. They have the ability to have a positive impact on mood and mental health. Aspects of faith enable tangible reductions in, and protection from stress. Faith generates optimism, enriches interpersonal relationships, creates support systems and enhances quality of life. Scientific research is also emerging which demonstrates modest, yet promising connections between religiousness and improved mental health.
Using Faith to Reduce Stress
Faith can give you a sense of purpose and improve your mental wellbeing
Faith is a belief or trust in God, while spirituality is an attachment to religious values. Whichever term you prefer, the concept can be used to successfully reduce stress and improve quality of life. Faith and spirituality provide a sense of purpose, allow people to connect to something greater than themselves, and enable us to release control. These abstract gains then translate into concrete ones: an expansion of social networks and improved health. All of these points are essential to stress reduction.
Numerous self-help sources tell people “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”, but few actually detail what the small stuff is. That’s because the small stuff is highly individual. Something that holds great importance to one person may not even register with another. Faith and spirituality encourage people to look within and take inventory. Through faith, an individual can discover what is most important to them. Being able to recognize what matters most allows people to focus their energy and attention on those issues, and not waste time on less important concerns. By establishing what matters most, people often discover their sense of purpose: a goal to work towards or their reason for existing.
Once people have discovered their sense of purpose, they often learn that there are others who share these same goals or reasons for existing. They learn that what matters to them also matters to others, and this establishes a sense of connection. For some this sense of connection can lead to greater interaction with others, for example through prayer groups or charity drives. For others, just knowing they are not alone provides a great sense of comfort, inner peace and ultimately, relief from stress.
A feeling of interconnectedness also allows people to release control. Often, a feeling of responsibility for everything that happens in life is a great burden. Being connected to others and to something greater lets people share the responsibility, and the burden. We realize that we don’t control or bear responsibility for everything, and this can be a great relief. For those of us in high pressure jobs, like pilots, caregivers or police officers, this enables us to share the burden.
Feeling interconnected leads people to expand their social networks. A shared faith is a building block for relationships. It has been proven that the more close and supportive relationships a person has, the happier they will be. Relationships built on faith are often close and supportive. Faith often brings people together with a common purpose and goal: loyalty to God and a desire to adhere to the tenets of a religion. Interestingly, a cycle is created. Not only does faith enable relationships, but those relationships then serve to reinforce and deepen faith.
Another result of faith is improved health. This includes tangible physical and mental results. With an expanded social network comes more opportunities to take part in activities that can improve one’s physical health. Getting out and being active is easier to do with a partner or group. Having a support system also enables people to better deal with stress and hardship, as the support system can provide an outlet to vent or provide positive distractions. Being stronger both physically and mentally allows for greater resistance to illness and faster healing.
The Importance of Prayer
Prayer is a way of sharing the burden that stress has placed upon you
All relationships require good communication to maintain and enhance them. It should be frequent, honest and personal. A relationship with God is no different. Prayer is the spiritual exercise that allows people to communicate directly with God. It is an intensely personal endeavor that can be performed alone or with a group and can provide a great source of stress relief. The requirements are simple: all we need is belief in a power greater than ourselves, and faith that this power is looking out for us.
Prayer provides stress relief in a variety of ways. A prayer for help is a great source of comfort and relief because a person does not feel they have to bear their burden alone. Often when people are hurting or confused, they can feel as if there is no one to talk to or depend on. A prayer during these tense times relieves that feeling of loneliness. The belief that God is listening to their prayers and will help them is a source of hope to many individuals. With hope comes the strength to carry on.
Trusting in God is also a way of practicing optimism. Researchers have long credited optimism with numerous benefits, including reduced stress and better overall emotional health. By trusting in God, people feel like other outcomes are possible and this boosts a positive outlook.
A prayer of thanks acknowledges and reinforces one’s belief in God and belief in the benevolence of God. When these beliefs are strengthened, an individual is more likely to turn to God during time of strife. Again, a positive cycle is created. Expressing gratitude and giving thanks through prayer reminds people of the positive aspects of their existence and can help ward off feelings of sadness.
Prayer should be a regular part of a spiritual person’s life. Often prayer is incorporated at the beginning and end of each day. Prayer at the beginning of the day sets the tone for a spiritual day, and fills a reservoir of strength to face the coming challenges. Prayer at the end of the day acknowledges God’s help throughout the day, allows people to give thanks for the aid God provided during the day, and provides an opportunity for people to ask for help with any ongoing situations. To reap the greatest benefits of prayer, it is suggested that people pray often. Most people will pray by and for themselves at one point or another, but there are three additional ways to pray that contribute to a well-rounded communication with God. They are: to pray with others, and to pray for others.
- Solo prayer
Prayer by, and for, oneself has straightforward benefits. Solo prayer is an opportunity to ask for help or guidance. Importantly, it is a chance to address any fears or stresses and release their burden to God. People should also remember that communication goes both ways, and take the time to listen to God as well. With the faith that God will listen and help, people find that their stress is alleviated.
- Prayer with others
Prayer with others capitalizes on the communal benefits of faith. People can pray with others in a structured setting, like a church or scheduled prayer group, or it can be spontaneous. An example of spontaneous group prayer is when tragedy strikes. During these dark times, people are often compelled to join with other victims or sympathizers and pray. Group prayer is not limited to hard times though, as many people appreciate being able to rejoice and give thanks with others. In both cases engaging in prayer with similar minded people strengthens the feeling of belonging, reinforces feelings of support and understanding, and alleviates stress.
- Praying for others
To pray for others is an important concept. Some people may be surprised that remembering others in their prayers or dedicating prayers entirely to others can have a positive effect on their own mood and feelings of well-being. Praying for others is an exercise in empathy. It also allows people to focus on something other than their own concerns for a while. Praying for others, and considering what someone else is dealing with, can also allow people to gain a better perspective on their own issues.
Prayer enables people to find the lessons inherent in everyday life and occurrences. A sincere, frequent and frank dialogue with God provides numerous opportunities for introspection. When praying for help, believers are forced to examine what it is they truly need help with, and what they are requesting from God. Praying to give thanks requires the same introspection. Believers can start out being thankful for a superficial occurrence, and then come to see the deeper significance. Recognizing the lessons in everyday life can help people avoid repeating past mistakes and gain confidence in their ability to make sound future decisions.
Scientific Evidence That Faith Improves Mental Health
Many different research studies have found a link between faith and lower stress levels
There have been numerous attempts to establish a scientific link between faith and mental health. Several of them have returned results that seem to confirm this connection. In general, studies and scientific reviews have shown promise in demonstrating that the greater the amount of religiousness (faith) that people have, the greater the positive effects on their mental health.
In one meta-analytic review from 2002, researchers looked at over 147 independent investigations that questioned over 98,000 subjects. They were seeking to determine if a person’s amount of religiousness had any effect on depression or depressive symptoms. Their ultimate conclusion showed a small but promising association between the two. The more religious a person was, the fewer depressive symptoms they experienced. Furthermore, they found that this inverse relationship between religiousness and depressive symptoms might be stronger during high-stress times. This phenomenon is known as the buffer effect.
In another review of scientific literature from 2008, researchers reviewed 115 articles to determine the relationship between religiousness or spirituality and adolescent substance use, anxiety, depression, delinquency, and suicidality. They were able to determine that 92% of the articles demonstrated a significant relationship between religiousness and improved mental health.
More recently, the Journal of Aging and Health published a study in 2009 that examined church attendance and marital status in relation to mood among older adults. In this study, 791 older adults were followed for 8 years. Researchers concluded that church attendance exhibited a protective effect with respect to the health of the older adults. It was further theorized that having a sense of purpose could explain this protective effect.
Finally in 2012, the American Journal of Psychiatry published the results of a longitudinal study that also sought to establish the relationship between religiousness and the onset and course of major depression. This study was significant for a couple of reasons. First, the study was not conducted on depressed or no-depressed individuals themselves, but rather on their offspring (a person who has a parent with depression is considered at high-risk for also developing the disease). Second, the average age of the subjects in this study was 29 years. This is in contrast to most studies exploring depression and religion, which have tended to focus on older adults. The study found that in the 10 years of follow-up, subjects who both described religion as highly important and also affiliated themselves with either Catholic or Protestant denominations had a 76% less chance of experiencing an episode of major depression. Although further and more in-depth study is warranted, the researchers concluded that religion and spirituality should be considered by clinicians during psychiatric evaluations.
What Does The Bible Teach Us About Stress?
The bible contains many helpful quotations regarding stress and faith
Many individuals turn to the Bible in times of stress. Here are some helpful verses to get you started.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Jesus in Matthew 11:28-30)
“As pressure and stress bear down on me, I find joy in your commands.” (Psalm 119:143)
“I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (Jesus in John 14:27)
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (Jesus in John 16:33)
“I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 16:8)
“It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:28-31)
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord you God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.” (Isaiah 43:1b-3a)
“Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest.” (Luke 12:25-26)
“Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” (Philippians 4:6-8)
“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name will trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.” (Psalm 9:9-10)
“No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Some Prayers To Help With Stress
Here are two sample prayers for you to try during stressful times.
God help me to work through the stress that is in my life today,So that I need not be anxious for tomorrow. I know that you have given me life that is to be developed and enjoyed.
I know in my heart that you provide all that I need for health for happiness, and for eternal life. Please help me to remove those elements in my life that stand in the way of my enjoying your bounty to the fullest extent. Teach me to manage what seems to be unmanageable and to use the stress in my life for renewal and growth. Lord I pray that you will be with people who have been victimized and traumatized by the acts of foolish, uncaring people, who think that terrorism and killing and domination are the only way to resolve their problems. May those who perpetrate such actions come to see that the way to peace is through loving acts of kindness and not through violence and pain. Amen
When I feel crushed by my own worries, Lift my mind and help me to see the truth. When fear grips me tight and I feel I cannot move, Free my heart and help me to take things one step at a time. When I can’t express the turmoil inside, Calm me with Your quiet words of love. I choose to trust in You, each day, each hour, each moment of my life. I know deep down that I can cast these cares on You, that you have taken these anxious thoughts and by dying on the cross, You have set me free. I choose to trust in You, each day, each hour, each moment of my life. I know deep down that I live in Your grace, forgiven, restored by Your sacrifice, You have set me free. Amen
Resources & Further Reading
- Smith et al, 2003. “Religiousness and depression: Evidence for a main effect and the moderating influence of stressful life events”. et al, 2008. “Religion/Spirituality and adolescent psychiatric symptoms: a review”. et al, 2009. “The Effects of Church Attendance and Marital Status on the Longitudinal Trajectories of Depressed Mood Among Older Adults”. 2011. “Religion/Spirituality and Depression: What Can We Learn From Empirical Studies?”.
Stressful relationships in the workplace are extremely common and the secret to overcoming them is to use prayer to create and execute a successful action plan. Many people struggle with stress in the workplace and that stress is most often due to the stress of relationships with sometimes, managers, supervisors, co-workers, and extreme workloads. When relationships are strained in the workplace, whether its people who can’t see eye-to-eye, or tension over workloads, or competition, or unfair treatment or lack of recognition, people begin to dread work life and a great amount of stress sets in.
Dealing with stressful relationships in the workplace can make our lives miserable and uncomfortable because there is always that inner conflict and we don’t know what we will have to face from day to day. Prayer will help you overcome stressful work relationships and help you gain a new prospective of how God uses our work to form and shape us for his purpose to be fulfilled in our lives.
This is very important so I am going to say this now and I will say it again toward the end as a final reminder but please remember that as you begin to pray the devil, our enemy, will also try to get in the midst to try to cause confusion and discouragement but we know that the devil is a liar and the father of lies. Stay focused and if you get off track with your prayers, get right back on. Remember it is a process. God will continue to guide you through the process because he has given us all we need to be victorious in every situation.
Here is a prayer action plan to overcome stressful work relationships.
1. Ask God to help you see your work as an important part of your whole life ministry.
Many Christians seem to think that serving God is only when we are serving in ministry in our churches or doing charity work or have been called to full time ministry. Take note that God views the way we live our lives as a full time ministry. Ask God to help you view your work with a new perspective that you also serve God in your job! Especially if people know that you are a Christian believe me they are watching to see how you handle things and how you respond in situations. As Christians we all have an opportunity to win souls for Jesus Christ by the way we conduct ourselves. All soul winning does not always have to be verbal! People are watching what we do more than what we say.
As you continue to pray you will find that we really don’t have to struggle but we can make a decision starting right now to be transformed by putting things in the proper perspective according to God’s Word and what He says about how we should conduct ourselves in the Marketplace so that his will may be done in us and through us.
In my current line of work I work with mostly people who are younger than me. Some are fresh out of high school and others fresh out of college. I can sometimes feel a little left out like I don’t fit in. It used to make me feel that way when I allowed myself to focus on the uncomfortableness of it but the Lord helped me realize that I have an opportunity to be an example and a witness to my co-workers and manager. Through prayer for each of my co-workers and changing my mindset through prayer and reading the word daily I have found peace and enjoyment and am determined each day to have a positive attitude that will allow the light of Christ to shine. God has made me to be a person who loves to show hospitality to others and kindness through smiles and simply saying hello. A person who is concerned with the overall well-being of individuals regardless how they may treat me. My prayer is that my witness with allow them to see the love of Christ.
When I changed my focus from how I felt and put it on the opportunity to witness for Christ in spite of my surroundings, then my whole perspective and attitude changed. I also realized that God has given me a gift to communicate with young people and that I have a way of drawing out of them what others may not be able to draw out of them and making them feel comfortable with talking to me. Sometimes we sit around moping and complaining that others need to change but God says “No, you change” and once you change your perspective your situation and circumstance changes. We have the power to change atmospheres when we step into a place because the spirit of God lives in us! Use that power and your will see things begin to turn around!
2. Ask God to help you remember that the one you serve is Christ!
I just completed a Christian Education Course called “Crown Biblical Financial Study.” Although it is a guide to earning, spending, saving, investing, giving, and getting out of debt, right in the center of the book there is a chapter that specifically speaks about work. This particular chapter is titled “Work; who is your real boss?” This was a most interesting session as the group came together to discuss. Just about everyone in the class had something to share about the situation they were facing in their current work and though we wandered off topic of finances it was productive because it was evident that we had hit on a major issue relating to stress in the workplace and dealing with our peers. If we are going to be good stewards over all the resources God provides and our work is a major part of the provision God gives then we have got to get this right.
This chapter not only addressed the biblical perspective of our work but it also addressed the employee’s and the employer’s responsibility to one another. When we put things in proper perspective according to the will of God for our lives we can embrace life with a better understanding that God is in the midst, making and molding us for his use. Colossians 3:22-4:1 was the main scripture focus of this particular chapter in this biblical study.
“Servants, do what you’re told by your earthly masters. And don’t just do the minimum that will get you by. Do your best. Work from the heart for your real Master, for God, confident that you’ll get paid in full when you come into your inheritance. Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. The sullen servant who does shoddy work will be held responsible. Being a follower of Jesus doesn’t cover up bad work.
And masters, treat your servants considerately. Be fair with them. Don’t forget for a minute that you, too, serve a Master—God in heaven.” (Colossians 3:22-41 Msg.)
Keep in mind always that the ultimate Master you’re serving is Christ. Wow! When we have the mindset that the ultimate Master we’re serving is Christ, our whole outlook should begin to change. We have to begin to ask ourselves daily when we are away at work doing the task we have been hired to do, “would God be pleased with my work?” and not only that but as we have interactions with those over us and with our peers and co-workers, we have to also ask ourselves the same question.
God will use our work to humble us as well. In most of my positions since I started working at the age of 18, I have always been in a management role. Though I started at an entry level position, I was always recognized for the passion that I put into my work because I enjoyed it. I wasn’t trying to climb the corporate ladder by any means. It honestly was not even a thought for me. Now I also know that it was God’s favor and that he was using my work to shape me as a leader for something much greater. But after so many years of working it came a time that I was out of work and this was new for me. In 2007, I was laid off from a job that I had been on for 10 years. I had held two management positions and was now working in another role that I was pretty comfortable in both salary and location.
I was unemployed for 3 years and when I did find jobs they were temporary jobs in which I was under employed and in some cases had long commutes with no option but to work late night shifts and weekends. As hard as that was to accept, I continued to trust in God that he knew what he was doing in my life. It’s hard to go from positions where you were overseeing people to being overseen but in the midst of it I have learned that it’s not all about position because no matter where I work or what position I hold I am positioned through Christ Jesus for greatness and I can display that through my attitude, character and my conduct no matter where God puts me to serve him because if he placed me there, there is a need for Kingdom work!
Even in all that has been shared or what you may already know, this may not be easy to do depending on where you are currently in your struggles with work relationships but it is attainable. Just like most things that require us to change our mindsets, it takes practice. “The Lord is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works’” (Psalm 145:9) This may be a good time to evaluate where you are with your relationships at work as well as your contentment with your current work and begin to ask God to help you make a plan to decide where you can start to turn things around. If we take the mindset that in everything we do and everything we say that God is watching and holding us accountable then it shouldn’t be that hard to see a quick change in these areas.
Keep in mind that you are serving the Lord Jesus Christ in all that you do. The world’s way is not God’s way. People of the world focus on themselves and how they can get to the top even at the expense of trying to outshine others but remember that God is the one who promotes his people and if you are following his Word he will honor every promise of his Word in your life. The thing to remember is to not grow weary while you’re waiting and do not stop obeying the Word. “No one who hopes in you will ever be put to shame, but shame will come on those who are treacherous without cause.” (Psalm 25:3) God’s timing is not our timing but he is faithful and he will exalt you in due season. When we get busy serving him, submitting and surrendering our will to his will, then he is quick to release blessing and rewards for being obedient to his word.
3. Pray for the wisdom to remember” it’s not about me”
“It’s not about me!” I’m sure many of you have heard it coming from many pulpits and from the mouths of many who preach and teach the word of God. What does it mean when we actually live out this phrase that “It’s not about me”? A few scripture verses come to mind for me when I think about the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and how he lived an example of a life that was truly not about him. Matthew 20:28 says: “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom to many.” Jesus understood that his life was devoted to the purpose of doing the Father’s will and that was giving up his life so that all would have an opportunity for salvation. Luke 9:23 says “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”
Many times we are too focused on other people’s ways and faults and how much they get on our nerves that it is almost impossible for us to deny our flesh making it hard to see things from God’s perspective and hard to embrace others in the workplace. We have to be willing to change our outlook based on the Word of God and believe that as we walk according to the Word of God, we will be victorious and our lives will shine forth so that others see and glorify our Father who is in heaven.
Colossians 3:22-4:1 tells us that there is an obligation we have in our roles at work to our managers, supervisors, and co-workers. There is an obligation that managers and supervisors also have to uphold as well. It’s easy to forget what the Word says or to rationalize what the Word says when we are deep in the trenches of those hard pressing situations in the workplace.
The Apostle Paul who wrote:
“Even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it!” (1 Corinthians 9:9-23 Msg.)
4. Ask God to remind you that you’re not responsible for how others decide to treat you; you’re only responsible for how you treat them.
There are people in the workplace we just don’t get along with. Let’s just be for real. In life we have to understand that we will not get along with everyone and everyone may not like us even though we hope that people will. I always say that “I am not responsible for how other people decide to treat me but I am responsible for how I treat others and I am not responsible for what other people say about me but I am responsible for what I allow to come out of my mouth about others.” God will use difficult relationships in the workplace and difficult relationship in our personal lives as well to build our character and our conduct.
If God who led his own son into the wilderness for 40 days and 40 nights to be tested of the devil and to prepare him for ministry don’t we dare think that the dreams and desires that God has planted in us can be attained without some great testing. After all, God prepares us not just to receive the blessing but so that after we have been tested and tried we will come out as pure gold (“But he knows where I am going. And when he tests me, I will come out as pure gold.” (Job 23:10) and the blessing will not be loss because we have also been equipped to have a character that will be able to uphold and withstand the blessing! No tests, no character development and no great blessings.
5. Ask God to use your work to develop your character and your conduct
In the Crown Ministries study mentioned earlier here is an exert of what it says about the primary reason for our work. “A primary purpose of work is to develop character. While the carpenter is building a house, the house is also building the carpenter. Skill, diligence, manual dexterity and judgment are refined. A job is not merely a task designed to earn money; it is also intended to produce godly character in the life of the worker”. (Dayton, H. (1996). Your money counts: the biblical guide to earning, spending, saving, investing, giving, and getting out of debt. Longwood, Fla.: Crown Ministries.)
Our work is designed to build our character. Here are some scriptures that come to mind as it relates to our lives and how God builds our character that we need to remember and practice.
“Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires”. (Romans 13:14)
“More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us’. (Romans 5:3-5)
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect”. (Romans 12:2)
God has his own process for building character and conduct in each of us. I’m not sure that many of us understand that it is a process designed by God and that his pattern for doing so is unique to each person. Our workplaces play a part in this process. We spend most of our waking hours at work. We spend more time with people at work in most cases than we do at home with our families or doing the things we like to do. It is extremely stressful when we have conflict in relationships with people we have to spend time with.
The scriptures tell us that we must put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the flesh. “But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision, to fulfill its lusts.” (Romans 13:14: ) This means that we can’t do or say or respond to situations as the world does. We can’t do to others what they do to us whether we think it’s intentional or not. We can’t say the same things that other people say or try to move up the corporate ladder through trickery or by any false pretenses. Every day I have to remind myself that the Lord is my Master and that everything that I do I must do it as if I am doing unto him. When I mess up, I quickly turn to him for forgiveness and move on to get it right.
In the character building process, God uses the very things that get under our skin the most. The enemy wants us to be blinded by our sins and faults because he knows that they will be a hindrance to our work, our ministry, our relationships and our promotion to the next level in Christ. Also, another very important thing to pray and ask God to show you is if you have any blind spots. A blind spot is something that we do and that may be pointed out by others we are in relationship with (family, friends, co-workers, managers, supervisors) but we cannot see it at all so when someone confronts us or tries to grow a relationship by addressing us, we think they are crazy. These are “blind spots”! Blind spots are hindrances to spiritual growth. These are faults and sins in our lives that the enemy has blinded us from seeing so that we continue to walk in a yoke of bondage with numerous failed attempts at relationships. I once made a decision to confront someone who had hurt me greatly in the church and when I went to them they had no idea what I was talking about. I was so confused and started to almost question myself and wonder why I even bothered but it was not but days later that the Lord led me to a devotional reading and explained that when you confront someone and they seem to have no recollection of what you are saying they are dealing with a “blind spot”. I knew God was giving me some clarity about what I had just experienced. Pray and ask God daily to shine the light on all darkness and blindness to your ways that the enemy has hidden from you so that you may be healed, delivered and set free! Whom the Son sets free is truly free indeed! (John 8:36)
How we interact with others says a lot about our character and who we are but it also shines the light on our own flaws and insecurities. Think about it, in most relationships that we find difficult it is always pointed out what the other person does that is wrong or that gets under our skin. We say and think “If they were not around to make my life miserable then how much better things would be.” “If they had not of done this then I would not have done that.” “I just don’t like her/his ways.” You get the picture.
I know that it may not be easy to respond to a manager who talks to you with no respect or who uses profanity when they speak to you. It’s not easy when you know that your boss favors others over you even though you are performing above what is expected. It doesn’t feel good when you feel you have been overlooked for a promotion or when your co-worker says demeaning things to you or about you. It’s not popular to be the needle in the haystack and it hurts when you feel left out but know that God is in the midst and he has a purpose for you being right where you are.
6. When you fall short, ask for forgiveness and try again.
As I mentioned earlier, we will not always get it right but the mere fact that we are open and aware of our attitudes and actions leaves room for God to be our daily help. We have to recognize and admit a fault in order for God to be able to move. As a matter of fact we open up the door for him to work. “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”(Romans 3:23)
Every day I ask God to help me with my emotions because my emotions can get me in trouble. I have not always been one to ask God to help me with my emotions or anyone else for that matter. I would just say what I felt to someone and get them straight. Oh how sad that was for me and I thank God that he has done a transforming work in me! I’m not sure what your thing is but one of my things that can get me in trouble in my responses or my approach to conflict. I have to make a decision everyday not to allow my emotions to get the best of me and to pray about my responses, whether a response is warranted or if so what I should say so that my response is not an offense to anyone.
Jabez asked the Lord to bless him and to enlarge his border but he also asked that God would keep his hand on him and that God would keep him from harm so that he it may not bring pain. (1 Chronicles 4:10) I often pray this prayer and ask God to help me to keep from bringing pain to myself and other by expressing wrong behaviors that come from un-checked emotions. Every emotion that rises up in us does not have to be revealed or expressed. More so than not, we have to wrestle with those emotions and so as to subject our flesh under the submission of God who can keep us from doing harm with them. (1 Corinthians 9:27) Begin to ask to help you today to help you master your emotions.
Though I have to come home and pray for forgiveness most often for ways I have failed to bring this scripture to life on some days, I still get up and do my best to practice this principle the next day. Eventually I will get it right as I continue to live it out. I want my life to be pleasing to the Lord and I want him to be pleased with my character, my conduct and my attitude! I know that you do as well.
7. Ask God to help you believe that you are where you are supposed to be
You may be in a position at work that you feel trapped in and for many, especially after the recession that struck the economy in 2008; some may even be in a job that does not fulfill and feel that you are not using the many gifts and talents that the Lord has given to you. You may not feel valued or feel that you are being utilized to your fullest potential; nevertheless, you may not be earning what you know that you are worth. All of this adds stress on top of relationships issues. All of these things can make us focus on the wrong things and when this happens we have a tendency to grumble and complain every chance we get about our dissatisfaction with our jobs. You may be trying to find a way out of your current employment and yet no doors are opening despite your diligent search for a new job.
In the Bible, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery after he shared a dream he had that his brother’s would be bowing down to him. Joseph served several years in prison due to the lie that Potiphar’s wife told on him but his attitude was that he would prosper even behind prison walls. At some point he realized that he was where he was supposed to be because he told his brothers when they finally did meet up, “What you meant was for evil but God turned it around for my good.” (Genesis 50:20) Joseph had a revelation that all he had been through over in Egypt was God’s plan for his life to develop his character and his conduct and all that he did he prospered and the Lord exalted him but he had to be sold into slavery and he had to go to prison as a part of his character development.
David started off his career as a shepherd boy on the backside of a mountain herding sheep. God used his days as a shepherd boy to build his character and conduct and he became the King of all Israel. Even though he was anointed as king, it was a long time before he even took his position as the king of Israel, he was chased and tormented by Saul, running and hiding in caves for a long time. He had the opportunity to slay Saul but recognized that it was not for him to take advantage of that opportunity. (1 Samuel 24) David’s character was tested in that very act of not taking advantage and acting upon something that he may have thought real good and hard about doing. Even after all that Saul had put him through; David still saw Saul as God’s anointed. And we know that David was a man after God’s own heart.
Moses grew up in the house of Pharaoh and lived in a place of luxury but when he grew up and decided that he would rather be a slave in the fields than to live a life of luxury in the wickedness of Pharaoh’s Courts. Moses had some anger issues to say the least (and many of God’s people also have anger issues) but moving on, after he had been tested and tried in the fields of his father-in-law Jethro, God spoke to him at the edge of a mountain in a burning bush and Moses was called to lead the people of Israel out of bondage in Egypt. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:5) Moses was being prepared for ministry!
You may be feeling like you have been sold into slavery in your current workplace situation because everything may not be going the way you think it should at work. God knows where you are and what you are experiencing and he has a purpose in that. “Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act”. (Psalm 37: 4-5)
8. Find God’s hand, plan and favor in temporary holding places during your career.
Don’t despise humble beginnings or any place you may be in right now that you feel is beneath you. God is preparing you for something greater! There is a royal purpose to be fulfilled in you! Pray that God will give you discernment to know your seasons because everything has a season and purpose in our lives.
I remember taking a temporary job that I was supposed to be on for only 6 weeks. It turned out to be a two year temporary assignment and the Lord placed in my spirit that is was just that, a temporary holding place for me while he was preparing yet another place for me. I was still in school finishing up my Bachelor’s Degree and the Lord knew exactly what I needed at that time and what I could handle as a college student. People often asked and sometimes I made attempts to ask about becoming permanent but I would tell others that it is a holding place and it was a reminder for me when no doors opened for me there that it was a holding place. The Lord will let us in on the seasons of our lives but we have to ask him to open us up to discern what he is telling us. Know your seasons and you can go through with a better attitude!
9. Continue to pray until God provides His peace that surpasses all understanding
No matter what we face in life God is certainly able to give us peace in the midst of it. In fact his Word says that he will give us a peace that is beyond understanding. (Philippians 4:7) I have found that when I am having issues in the workplace that I first need to check my attitude as I talked about in a little more detail earlier and then align myself through the Word and prayer and my situation turns to joy and peace. Often times we are waiting for the other person to change (our boss, our co-worker, our business partner, etc) but God is waiting for us to change. That has always been the case for me! Once we move our flesh and our emotions out of the way and walk according to the word, everything else falls into proper alignment. Relationships change and we have more peace than ever before!
Isaiah 26:3 says “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in you.” Don’t allow things that are going on around you to cause you to be distracted or to fall prey to the actions and attitudes of others. Instead tell yourself that you are going to stay focused with your mind stayed on Jesus. If you find yourself drifting or anxious to respond to something or someone, ask the Lord to help you keep your emotions in check. It may take a few minutes of wrestling with the flesh but you will feel so much better especially if you do not act on certain things.
Understand that the enemy also knows our triggers and the things that get our feathers ruffled so to speak but declare that you will not fall into the traps that the enemy set up for you! We are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus! (Romans 8:37)
10. Remember to pray daily for your interactions with everyone in the workplace
Don’t’ wait to pray until things are completely out of control in a situation and you feel that you are already defeated. One of the reasons that we fail at many things is that we fail to pray beforehand and to continue to pray throughout situations.
You may not feel that you know how to pray effectively but I guarantee you that if you just open your mouth and begin to tell God what is going on in the only way you know how, that you will see an immediate answer. The situation may not change and the people that you work with every day may not change but he will change you in the midst of it all. Your responses will not be the same as it use to be when negativity is around or that co-worker that always seemed to know how to rub you the wrong way will no longer annoy you even though there has been no change in their behavior God has changed you!
Once you see God move and answer your prayers, you will not be able to wait until the next time you are able to pray. The more you bring your needs to the Lord through prayer and the study of his Word the more you will begin to develop a relationship with him that is unique to any other relationship that he has with others.
Pray for those in the workplace who have authority over you.
Pray for your co-workers and call them out by name and ask God to bless them.
Ask God to help you to love them as he does and to find ways to encourage them.
Ask God to let your light shine so that others will see and glorify your father who is in heaven.
Prayer is the key. Also don’t give up on your prayers even if it may seem like nothing is happening or if you feel they are not happening as quickly as you would like. Know that when you pray to God from a pure heart and ask for forgiveness for your sins that he is moving. It will just not be in your own timing.
Here is that last reminder I promised that I would remind you of the tricks of the enemy. His job is to get you off track, frustrated, discouraged, and ready to give up but don’t give up on the power of prayer to change your situation and give you direction. Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Stay focused and if you get off track, get right back on. Remember it is a process. God will continue to guide you through the process because he has given us all we need to be victorious in every situation!
11. Trust God’s promise that that everyone will give an account directly to Him for how they have handled their work.
Believers and unbelievers alike will face judgment. Colossians 3 tells us that employee’s as well as employer’s have a responsibility and everyone will be held accountable. You may be in a really bad situation on your job feeling that people are out of control and just about anything goes. You may feel that no one is held accountable but you and you want to see justice done. You may not feel like being the one who does what is right and maybe your emotions are high because you have been “longsuffering” at work. Why do they always get away with everything may be the questions running in your mind but know that God sees all and hears all and that everyone will give an account for every idle word and deed.
As Christians we are still called to lead the way and set the example. Sometimes we don’t understand the power that we have to influence others through our actions (good or bad). Even though a person may not ever get an opportunity to tell you how you impacted their life or helped them see the error of their ways, it happens every day as we make a conscious effort daily to walk with Christ and to please him with our life.
We may not get it right every day but recognize the areas that you have fallen short; ask for forgiveness, repent and continue on the journey up hill. “He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). Forgive yourself and move on. It’s the enemy that tries to remind us of what we did and cause us to walk in self-commendation but also remember what God tells us in Romans 12:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. This means that the moment that we ask for forgiveness we are forgiven and there is nothing that Satan can accuse you of before God but know that he will try.
We may never see someone reap what they sow but the Bible is clear that we will all reap what we sow and we can be sure that God’s word does not lie. If bad seed is sown in our lives toward others then we will reap bad seed but when we sow good seed we will reap good seed and we will have a great reward. Don’t allow yourself to get caught up with wrong attitudes but pray for those who don’t know Christ that they will receive salvation and that your life will be lived in such a way in the workplace that others will know that something is different about you. Pray that God will use you to lead someone in the workplace to Christ! “
12. If you’re in an unhealthy work environment, pray for wisdom and discernment as to what actions God would have you take.
Lastly let’s end on another note and that is with all of the above also know when to seek Godly wisdom and guidance in the case that you are in a work environment that is toxic and or unhealthy. As well God will send Godly wisdom and counsel to you. I’m reminded of the advice that Moses father-in-law Jethro gave to him on a visit to Moses with Moses two sons and his wife. While Moses father-in-law was visiting and observing the things that Moses did, he noticed that the people were standing before Moses all day until night. Moses was teaching and instructing and judging disputes among all the people but Jethro saw that it was wearing Moses out. Moses was in an unhealthy and toxic environment. Jethro told Moses how he could divide the responsibilities among Godly men who were responsible and thus relieve Moses from wearing himself out. The story is in Exodus 18.
Just remember that like in any relationship we are in whether in a marriage or friendship or work relationship, God does not call us to allow people to walk on us and make us their door mates. Yes, we need to work to provide for our households and families and to give back to God but if we are being abused know when to make a good mental health move and know that God is Jehovah Jireh and he will provide! I’m a living witness!
Of course pray about this move that God will lead you to someone who can provide Godly wisdom and also if there are others in the household that this decision will affect, make sure you discuss it and pray together about it. God will truly honor your trust in him and he will take your relationship with him to a whole new level.
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Copyright Sondra Green 2014. All rights reserved.