Nearly every Christian I have ever met says they pray to God about their career. Whether it be to achieve success, get help dealing with a coworker, find support for leading a company, or land that big raise, they all pray. Very few, I have found over the years, actually pray to find favor.
Nehemiah desired to go and rebuild the city of Jerusalem after captivity. He was the cup bearer to King Artaxerxes of Persia. He knew he would need support for his boss in order to pursue his dreams. So he prayed this:
Nehemiah 1:11 "Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man."
He then went before the king to serve him his wine. The king noticed the long look on his servant’s face and asked him what was wrong. Nehemiah went on to ask the king for a good deal of support, and we see him set off to reach his goal:
Nehemiah 2:8 "And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests."
Nehemiah prayed to God to find favor in the presence of the king and God granted his request.
As faithful Christians, we have access to a mighty God who wants us to achieve our dreams. All we have to do is ask.
These are specific examples of Biblical heroes who found favor in the eyes of someone else in authority. They are examples that the same can happen for us.
It can be as simple as remembering to pray about it. Pray to God each day that you will find favor in the eyes of your work colleagues. Are you a CEO? Pray to find favor in the eyes of the Board of Directors. Are you a line manager? Pray to find favor in the eyes of the Director. Are you a Vice President? Pray to find favor in the eyes of the executive leadership team. Are you an individual contributor? Pray to find favor in the eyes of your manager.
This is one of the most powerful and consistently answered prayers I have ever experienced. I believe it is part of the promise Jesus gives when he says we need not worry about food or clothing or shelter:
Matthew 6:25 “For this reason I say to you, [ n ]do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Our careers are intimately tied to our fundamental life needs. We can ask God to allow us to find favor in the eyes of others in relation to our day to day work as well as something as simple as an interview. We can ask it before a big presentation or even a sales pitch. We can pray to find favor in something as specific as a pay raise.
Keep this truth fresh in your mind. Pray it each day before you head into work, and watch what God will do in your career. You’ll be amazed at personally invovled He is, then your faith will grow, then you will lead others to do the same.
Shawn Sommerkamp is a motivational speaker and Executive Coach with 20+ years of Fortune 100 leadership experience. He founded Motivationeer™ to coach Christian professionals how to use their career to glorify God and support local church growth.
Shawn Sommerkamp, speaking to the Charleston Church of Christ at the New Year's Eve church service Dec 31, 2017.
Targeted goal-setting is powerful and effective. It helps us keep clarity of outcome. Breaking big desires down into smaller, achievable goals makes success achievable. The biggest challenges are overcome as we make a series of small goals that, collectively, lead to big outcomes.
And yet, just setting a bunch of goals can often be discouraging when we don’t reach them. Ever wonder why we often fall short? It’s because the goals weren’t smart! I’m not talking about whether the goals are stupid or intelligent either. I’m talking about a simple way of thinking about an activity designed to help us achieve results. It’s called S.M.A.R.T. and it stands for the following:
It’s early January.
The Holidays are over.
It can feel like we go from the ‘The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’ to the most challenging time of the year.
A more appropriate lyric, now that it is time to make resolutions & get back to work, could be one of the following…
‘It’s The Most:
- Crazy busy
- Cash poor
- Weight Gaining
…Time Of The Year.’`
It’s not that you are
You want to enjoy it, but
it can feel more like “I just want to get through it.”
Although your MIND knows that God’s will for you (according to 1 Th 5:16-18) is to:
“Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances…”
...your HEART can lag behind & this simple command can seem overwhelming.
Sometimes you can put your finger on what’s dragging you down & other times it’s more elusive ~ not really sure what’s keeping things from being ‘Wonderful’.
1 Thessalonians 5:18
Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus
Give thanks, no matter what is happening in your life. This is easy…right?
A national polling firm named Penn, Schoen, & Berland conducted a survey, mid-2012, evaluating American attitude toward thankfulness. They conducted more than 2,000 interviews across the US general population. I’m only going to share a few pieces of the overall report:
Where is the one place people are least likely to express gratitude? WORK
Based on this survey, that hardest circumstance to give thanks exists in and around the workplace. Isn’t that amazing? The place we spend the most waking hours (about 2,200 hours per year, about 110,000 hours in working lifespan) we aren’t thankful for. Wow!
The truth is our career is not just a way to make a living - it’s a way to transform the world. It’s the place God placed us so that we could make the biggest difference in our service to him.
Do you remember when these 3D-Hidden Object posters
came out? They were quite the RAVE…
They were not what they appeared to be at first glance… If you wanted to understand what the poster was really about, you had to stop what you were doing, get real close to it – focus on it, and back away very slowly… and then – like magic – 3D images would appear / seemingly emerge right off of the paper (3D effect). The embedded 3D images were disguised and hidden to the untrained/unfocused eyes.
Some people (me included sometimes) would get frustrated if we could not see the 3D images fast enough – some were easier than others… and missed the ‘magic’ of the poster.