Praying Over A Business

Sunday 17 September 2006 @ 7:45 pm

One of the biggest motivations for me to become an entrepreneur and own a company was simply to allow me the ability to control the methods in which I conducted business. One of these methods includes the power of prayer.

A number of years ago, I reached a point in my career where a financial victory was simply hollow if it was not administered in a moral, building way.

I remember working as the general manager for one of the divisions of one of the largest internet companies in the world and found myself feeling completely slimy and disgusted as I learned the methods in which we stretched payments to our small businesses partners. Realizing that in many cases we were literally jeopardizing the very existence of these partners.

I guess the conclusion that I have come to is simply. I would rather not win, than to win and do so by stomping on everyone else to get there. In my heart of hearts I believe in the philosophy of Steven Covey of Win-Win or No Deal.

This week I was able to experience a moment of true satisfaction in relationship to prayer in relationship to business.

The past three months have been an exceptionally challenging time for me from both a personal and a business standpoint. I have been in the middle of a business situation that has invoked many negative emotions. Simultaneously we have been putting every ounce of energy we could muster to build a new social networking application transitioning out of our present business model. With my team, I have attempted to remain positive, building, optimistic, creative, and not turn to bitterness or self doubt. I have tried everything that I could think of to both resolve this situation as well as to propel the businesses forward, but all of my attempts fell flat.

This past week my partner Curtis Blair and myself began the week at 6:40 am by offering sincere prayer. This is not an uncommon event for us, but for some reason, this week the prayer was offered with a resigned level of acceptance and willingness to accept whatever path God had in store for us, despite the consequences. We prayed for our team and their success both in and out of the office, we prayed that our minds would be nimble. We prayed for something greater than our own abilities to impact the direction of our efforts. We also committed to work with every ounce of zeal and energy we could muster this week. We specifically asked for the correct paths to be magnified and the futile paths to naturally fade into the background.

What a week it has been! Friday night we were both red eyed and burnt to a frazzle. We did several 2 am in the morning work sessions, and in one form or another gave every spare ounce of emotional, physical, and mental energy we could muster on each day of this week. Friday night as we converged over my desk at the close of the business week, we were simply amazed at what had occurred.

Connecting pieces of the puzzle jumped out of no where this week. Several of the major paths we were pursuing simply faded into the background this week. A key new team member was added to our band of warriors that held a critical skill and background that we simply had never considered. In summary, there is simply no way that we could have figured this out on our own accord. Maybe some individuals can claim that they are naturally talented enough and gifted enough to arrange such a series of events, but we simply realized that this was beyond either of our capacities. I personally believe that the prayers we offered at the beginning of the week were heard and answered.

You will often hear the great leaders and individuals who accomplish amazing things talk about how the greatest breakthroughs and events happen through serendipity. I totally agree with this, but would also add, that is simply does not hurt to pray.

Therefore may God grant unto you, my brethren, that ye may begin to exercise your faith unto repentance, that ye begin to call upon his holy name, that he would have mercy upon you;
Yea, cry unto him for mercy; for he is mighty to save.
Yea, humble yourselves, and continue in prayer unto him.
Cry unto him when ye are in your fields, yea, over all your flocks.
Cry unto him in your houses, yea, over all your household, both morning, mid-day, and evening.
Yea, cry unto him against the power of your enemies.
Yea, cry unto him against the devil, who is an enemy to all righteousness.
Cry unto him over the crops of your fields, that ye may prosper in them.
Cry over the flocks of your fields, that they may increase.
But this is not all; ye must pour out your souls in your closets, and your secret places, and in your wilderness.
Yea, and when you do not cry unto the Lord, let your hearts be full, drawn out in prayer unto him continually for your welfare, and also for the welfare of those who are around you.
And now behold, my beloved brethren, I say unto you, do not suppose that this is all; for after ye have done all these things, if ye turn away the needy, and the naked, and visit not the sick and afflicted, and impart of your substance, if ye have, to those who stand in need—I say unto you, if ye do not any of these things, behold, your prayer is vain, and vaileth you
nothing, and ye are as hypocrites who do deny the faith.
Alma 34: 17-28

As Curtis and I reached the end of the week, we looked at each other and realized that prayer was also appropriate at the close of the week. So, we prayed! We expressed thanks for the growth we had experienced, the insights gained, the opportunity to grow and learn, the association of this outstanding little rag tag team of individuals with whom we considered friends, and for the love and support of our wives. It felt right.

I am not naive enough to think all problems this week or last are immediately solved with prayer. I acknowledge that next week we have tiger to fight and lions. You are lucky at best if you manage to hold a new boot-strap business together for a month let alone a year. However, I can say this with confidence. I sure would not want to even try with out the belief that their is a God above who will hear my pleads and answer my prayers in fun and unexpected serendipitous ways.

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Rich Christiansen