Relationship prayers that work

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.

Other Related Articles

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Prayer for you boss, supervisor or those in authority over you at work

Prayer for you coworkers

How to do a morning conference call prayer group

Copyright Sondra Green 2014.  All rights reserved.

By Jill Briscoe

Ever since I was a little girl in war-torn England, sitting on a three-legged stool in front of my house waiting for the bombs to fall, I have wanted my prayers to work. I remember pray­ing, “Oh, God, please stop the war.” He didn’t, and I remember feeling very disappointed with Him. Maybe you have prayed that God would stop the conflict raging around you or in your own life, and he hasn’t, and you feel disappointed with Him too. Maybe you feel like your prayers didn’t work.

You may wonder what the words prayer and work are doing in the same sentence. Surely that sounds like an oxymoron! Do you know what an oxymoron is? It’s when you put two seemingly contradictory words together, like jumbo shrimp, civil war or child safe! Prayer and work seem to be opposite concepts. Yet I have discovered that prayer that doesn’t work, doesn’t work! It takes work to step out of time into eternity, and work to learn the art of leaving things undone so that the greater thing can be done.

Prayer that works isn’t merely a matter of personality or gift, although some people have a propensity for praying or have the gift of prayer (and this gift is something that worries the devil very much). Prayer itself is a gracious gift of God in the sense that He made it possible for us to walk right into His presence and talk to Him as our Father. Every child of God has that right and privilege.

But if Satan has his way, the first thing to go in our devotional life will be our devotional life! As the little couplet says, “The devil trembles when he sees the weakest saint upon his knees.” He will do anything to stop us praying Sometimes he doesn’t have to do anything at all, however, because we assist him by doing away with our prayer life all on our own.

When God Doesn’t Seem to Answer

Often, one of the reasons we stop praying is that we’re disappointed with the whole concept of prayer. When we urgently request something from God and He doesn’t come through for us, we feel hurt and even betrayed that our prayers have not been answered. That’s what happened to me when I was small.

I remember that first urgent attempt to call on the Almighty. The need arose when I became aware that someone was trying to kill me! The Second World War was in full swing and I had the misfortune to live in Liverpool, a dangerous place. Ships supplying us with food from our allies brought their precious cargo to this seaport, making it a target for the enemy. I was very young, but I was aware that there was a God in heaven, and somewhere deep down in my heart I knew He was perfectly capable of stopping wars and conflicts. I decided one day that I would ask Him to stop these terrible airplanes from dropping bombs all over my life.

That night the air raids were particularly vicious. While we were huddled in our underground shelter like little moles, I confidently asked God to intervene. The answer came immediately: The bomb dropped far too near for comfort, damaging the back of our house and sending us running for shelter. What went wrong? I asked myself furiously, trying in my six-year-old mind to make sense out this nonsense. Had God not heard? Had I said my prayer with the wrong words or in the wrong way? Then came the unwelcome thought: Perhaps God didn’t hear me because He was too busy doing other things like keeping the stars in place. And last came the worst thought: Maybe He couldn’t help me because he couldn’t help me. He wasn’t big enough or strong enough. 

Well, one way or another my fervent request had been ignored, and a huge sense of betrayal gripped me. Somewhere deep down in my six-year-old heart I determined not to try again. Not a few adults have faced similar dilemmas. At the first disappointment they quit without finding out what is happening and what makes prayer work.

If this is the case, the first thing we should do is pray about this. In fact, we should pray about anything that hinders our prayer life. You might want to stop this moment and ask the Lord to identify whatever has caused you to stop talking to Him. Then, when you have an inkling of what the blockage has been, talk to Him about it.

Master the Art of Leaving Things Undone

The first thing you need to learn as you begin to pray prayers that work is to master the art of leaving things undone. Many of us suffer from “Martha syndrome.” Martha was a woman who loved Jesus very much, but her “much serving” distracted her from focusing on Him (Luke 10:40, NKJV). It’s hard to leave the urgent thing to attend to one’s soul, but the Lord calls us to just such a duty. You have to learn to do it in the middle of the muddle! Martha had good reasons not to sit at Jesus’ feet, but those reasons were not enough for the Lord. He said to her, “Martha, Martha,… you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:4142, NJ V). Many of us can get so excited about the work of the Lord that we forget the Lord of the work as someone has so aptly said.

Simply Get Started

But where do we start when we meet with God? One of the reasons some people avoid personal devotions is a fear of incompetence. Whatever shall we say when we enter His throne room? They wonder. Maybe we’ve always had a problem talking to important people. How do you address the King of kings and Lord of lords? The first thing to do is find a place and time for such an important conversation. Prayer must be planned. There is a sense in which prayer can be engaged in all day long. But time must also be put aside in order to visit with the King, and so plans should be made.

May I suggest that you take your calendar at the start of the week and pencil in time with the Lord every day. To see that appointment there in black and white sometimes helps you to keep it.

Finding a place can be more of a challenge. When I had young children, it was almost impossible to find a quiet spot. In desperation one day, I took the kids out of their playpen and climbed inside! This became a lifesaver for me, and in the busy days after I’d discovered this safe haven, the children learned to leave me alone. They decided that Mommy was a whole lot nicer when she got out than when she got in!

Learn to Be Still 

But I still haven’t addressed the problem of what to do when you actually get everything in order and are ready to pray. For instance, what do you do about wandering thoughts?

Let me give you an illustration. We have a cute grandchild, Stephen, who learned at an early age to avoid his mother’s eyes when she wanted to talk to him. This necessitated his mom catching up with him and capturing him in her arms. She then turned him around and, taking his little face in a firm grip, got down on his level. Then she said gently, “Look at me, Stephen!”  Stephen’s eyes rolled to the left, then to the right, then right up to the top of his head until only the whites could be seen! Judy kept at it, holding his little face until, slightly dizzy with all that eye rolling, Stephen finally focused his eyes on his mother’s face, and then she could tell him what she wanted him to hear. The first thing she said was, “I love you, Stephen.” Then she told him what she needed to tell him.”

When you begin to pray, imagine that you are Stephen! Think about God, your heavenly Father, taking your face lovingly in his hands and holding you firmly right there in front of Him saying to you, “Look at me, Stephen.” Stay still until you focus. In other words, be still and know that He is God (Ps. 46:10). When your thoughts are settled it’s a good idea to start every time in God’s presence with a period of silent prayer.

Try to form a habit of meeting with God without an agenda. So many of us have to teach or care for others that it is hard to come to God without thinking about them. Oh, we think, this Scripture would be excellent for Mrs. Smith. But God has things to say to us as well as to Mrs. Smith. We need to listen to God’s voice without thinking of others and what would be good for them. First, God wants to tell us what is good for us. Listening to God is an important part of prayer. Try settling down to spend time quietly. Before you even begin to get down to the work of prayer, see if you can hear a thought, enjoy the stillness, or receive a new idea God wants you to think about.

In prayer, you have passive parts and active parts. Yet even the passive parts take work for some of us! It takes a huge effort to stop and be still, especially if we are active by nature. In the book of  Hebrews, for example, the Lord says, “Make every effort to enter that rest” (Heb. 4:11, NIV). Here Paul puts two words together that do not appear to belong together at all, effort and rest. That sounds like another oxymoron. I am a very active person. It takes a big effort on my part to be quiet and still, but I must work at resting if I am to have any power in my prayer life. It is only after quieting our spirit that we will know what to pray and how to pray.

Look at Those Who Pray Well

There are many ways of learning about prayer. One way is to look at the lives of people who seem to have gotten a handle on it. Who prays prayers that work?

It is said that James, the brother of our Lord Jesus Christ, had a nickname that was given to Him by the early church. He was called “camel knees”! The obvious inference is that James’s knees resembled those of a camel because he was always kneeling! Hearing this caused me to wonder what my nickname might be!

We’re going to take a close look at a prophet named Elijah. James pointed out that “Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops” (Jas. 5: 17-18, NIV). Now there is a prayer that worked!

What sort of person do you need to be in order to be effective in your prayer life?

You Have to Learn to Be Passionate in Your Praying.

Elijah “prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain” (Jas. 5:17, NIV). Elijah’s heart was in his work. Many times we kneel to pray and we really don’t care if God hears and answers us or not. Fervency is a condition of the heart that is developed through our growing relationship with God. As we grow to love Him, we find ourselves caring about the things He cares about. Prayer turns our thoughts away from our selfish concerns because we are putting ourselves into the presence of a selfless Being, and a little of that rubs off.

You Need to Be a Persistent Pray-er if I You Are to See Your Prayers Work.

Elijah prayed continually about the work of God. He climbed a mountain and got to work. He set himself to watch and pray until the rain came (I Kings 18:42-46). Most of us give up far too soon when we are praying. We hit an obstacle such as unanswered prayer and stop dead in our tracks. When Elijah set himself to pray on the top of Mount Carmel, you get the impression that he settled down until the answer came. God likes us to be persistent. Jesus told a story about a woman who persistently asked a judge to grant her request (Luke 18:1-8). And Jesus commended the persistent, blind beggar (Luke 18:35-43). He wants us to go on asking until it’s the right time to get an answer. Persistence takes your prayer life into a whole new orbit. “Are any among you suffering? They should keep on praying about it,” James tells us (Jas. 5:13).

Pray When Trouble Troubles You

There should be no excuse for any of us. It’s not as if we have nothing to pray about! God has allowed enough trouble in all of our lives to keep us on our knees. And yet for some this could be the sticking point. It’s hard to pray when trouble troubles us. Yet James sets his remarks about prayer in the context of trouble. “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray,” he says (Jas. 5:13, NIV). We should, but do we? It has been my experience that my prayer life seizes up as soon as trouble pokes its ugly head into my life. But in the end I look back and recognize that without the trouble there would have been very little praying at all. If we are desperate enough, trouble forces us to spend time with God.

When we first came to live in America, our children were thrilled with the music programs in the public schools. All of them wanted to play an instrument. “I want to play the drums,” seven-year-old Pete announced! I was aghast and hastily signed him up for clarinet! This was a serious mistake. The net result of all this was that he never practiced because he didn’t want to play the clarinet; he wanted to play the drums. One day he came whistling into the room carrying his clarinet. “Pray for me, Mom,” he said. “It’s tryouts at school for band, and I want first chair clarinet!”

“I can’t pray that for you, Pete. You haven’t practiced in months.”

“If I’d practiced, I wouldn’t need you to pray,” he retorted! Many of us are like Pete.We never practice prayer, but, when urgent business arises, we expect to know exactly what to say and how to say it. Trouble gives us the grand opportunity to practice for the concert.

What sort of trouble was James talking about? All sorts. Little troubles and big ones. He mentions relational troubles: “Confess your sins to each other” (Jas. 5:16); and he deals with sin troubles “Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins” (v. 20, NIV). Is any among you hurting? Has your spouse left you? Has someone mistreated you at work? Have you been passed over or gotten the bad part of a deal? Is there someone out there friendless, loveless, childless, cashless, jobless, powerless, clueless? “Is anyone in trouble? He should pray!”

Trouble is a great growth hormone. It takes us from being spiritual dwarfs to spiritual giants – if we respond rightly to it, that is. A few years ago, our family moved into crisis mode. I listened to myself praying. I was shocked. I heard myself like an unbeliever. I was praying panic prayers, indulging in angry tirades, and using bargaining language. “Where is my prayer life just when I need it the most?” I asked God. Hard on the heels of that thought came the realization that this trouble was going to do wonders for my prayer life! And it has. Trouble can, in fact, jump-start our prayer life. If we respond to divinely permitted trouble instead of reacting against it, we will find that the situation does two things for us. It will show us that our devotional life isn’t working, and it will show us how to work on making it work!

God is such a God of grace. Sometimes He must feel very like the father whose son was in college and who only got in touch when he wanted money! Does the Lord hear From you and me only when we want something? The amazing thing about the Lord is His patient love. He will hear us out whenever we get around to approaching Him.

So when trouble comes, don’t resist it as if it is an enemy; rather, welcome it as a friend. Let it drive you to your knees. Think about it. If trials persist, it just may be that you will persist in prayer. Looking back, I can see how constant pressure kept me in the Lord’s presence, and for that I am grateful.

Never be afraid to ask God for the stars, but when God says no or wait, be willing to say, “thy will be done,” and ask the Lord for strength to live well in difficult circumstances. As we try to discover the secrets of prayer that works, it is my prayer that we will find our prayer life revolutionized.

relationship prayers that work

Does prayer for a relationship work? Should Christian singles expect their prayers to be answered when they pray for a future spouse? Dr. Jim explains what singles should expect from their prayers and God’s answer (or not) to those prayers for relationship. Are our prayers being answered but we don’t see or can tell? Below is a great read for those looking for an answer to their prayers.

Why is my prayer for relationship not being answered?

God is complete and His Word is complete as well. There are some who suggest that if one prays hard enough and long enough, all of their troubles and challenges will be positively changed. Paul’s words in 1Thessalonians 5:17 states that we are to pray continually. (It also continues in verse 18 to give thanks in all circumstances.)

Our minds and hearts should always be in an attitude of prayer. What this means to me is that our Spirit should continually be seeking the Spirit of God in everything we think and do.

The Bible instructs in Matthew 7 that we are to ask and it shall be given to us. However in John 16 Jesus states that what we ask for must be in Christ’s name before the Father will give it to us. The Bible does not instruct us to go around spinning off to Heaven everything we desire and then sit back and expect God to deliver it to us.

Jesus came so that He might glorify the Father. Everything we ask for – in Jesus name – must also glorify the Father (according to John 14:13).

Why all these verses from the Bible? There are some teachings by pastors that I believe cause a great deal of confusion and unnecessary burdens on a lot of people – especially single adults. Some teach that all one has to do is just get their spiritual life strong enough and pray enough and God will answer and take care of everything.

While I strongly advocate discipline, prayer and accountability, there are some things that hinder our release to freedom and joy that we are not able to accomplish by ourselves. This does not mean that God is inadequate. It means that God often chooses a different path than the one that we are currently focusing upon.

Should we be upset with God for not answering our prayers?

Several years ago I was a lay counsellor in a church in California. A young professional man in his 30’s came to me because he was wrestling with severe anxiety attacks. In our sessions, he shared how angry he was with God for not delivering him from this burden. As we spent time together I learned that he was currently seeing a doctor at Stanford Medical University.

The doctor wanted this man to go on a medication that would address some of the ‘chemical’ reasons for his anxiety attacks. The man did not want to take the medicine because he was of the opinion that if he asked God to deliver him, God was supposed to do so. Why hadn’t God delivered him?

“God often chooses a different path than the one that we are currently focusing upon.”

This is the type of false impression of God’s ways that leads too many to their own imprisonment. I shared with this man that God uses a variety of means and people to accomplish His will. God has been in the business for many years of calling people into the medical field, counselling, and other areas to be a healing vehicle of His love and power.

When the man realized that he was very blessed to have already been accepted into the Stanford program, and that he had a doctor who cared for him, he began to consider the fact that perhaps God had been answering his prayers for some time. He took the treatment, and the difference that it made within a few weeks was amazing to observe.

Please read our previous blog on a similar topic: Struggle for an answer from God.

God is Real

God is real and His power is indeed supernatural. My observation is that we tend to place God into a box that is named ‘spiritual,’ and neglect to remember that He is the creator of ALL of us. He not only made our spirits, but our bodies, our minds, and our emotions.

When something happens to damage one of these areas, it takes prayer for relationship and putting faith into action by seeking to find the best person trained to work with us in that area of damage.

Should you seek help only from Christian professionals?

Here is another thought that I would like for you to consider. The best person to work with us is not always a Christian. Just because one is a Christian does not mean that they are automatically the best one trained in the area of our need. As an example: If you had a heart ailment and wanted to seek out the best doctor to work with you, would his/her being a Christian be at the top of your list of requirements? I don’t think so!

“We tend to place God into a box.”

I would want a doctor who had the training AND experience with the ailment that I was confronting. It would be an added bonus if he or she were also a Christian.

While you will often find me recommending that you consider finding a Christian counsellor to help guide you to process some issues in your life, I think, however, that it is even more important that you find a counsellor who is the best trained and experienced to work in the area where you need guidance.

If at all possible, it would be great if this person was a Christian but their training and experience is of more importance in non-spiritual matters.

Let me conclude by stating that you and I should always be praying and seeking God’s guidance in everything we do. God also gave us feet and often He desires to guide our ‘steps’ to the best person to work with us.

This person could be a pastor or a trained counsellor. If it is an issue other than spiritual, I strongly encourage you to only see a counsellor OR a pastor trained and experienced in counselling.

“God is complete.”

Are you aware that God might have answered some of your prayers?

Has God been answering some of your prayer for relationship and you were not aware? Take a moment and ask God to reveal to you ways that you may have not seen where He is trying to lead you down a new and better path. God is complete and I encourage you not to limit how and when He decides to move in your life.

Dr. Jim
Author of “Guide to Successful Online Christian Dating”

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