This is Entrepreneurs of Faith, a Sunday episode of Monetization Nation. In today’s episode, we’re going to discuss prayer and how we can harness the power of prayer in our lives and in our businesses.
About 24 years ago, I was a college student without a lot of money, and I was starting my first business. One week our cash flow was really bad. It was a Thursday night, and payroll had to be paid on Friday, the next day. I didn’t have any money; I had absolutely nothing to pay any of the payroll. We tried everything within our power to get the money, but none of it had worked.
I prayed earnestly for God’s help. When I went home that evening, there was a letter in the mail. It provided enough money in it to pay the entire payroll. To me, that was God answering the prayer of a young entrepreneur. I’ve seen God’s hand helping me by answering prayers like that one throughout my decades of entrepreneurial experience. I could not have done this without God’s help.
God Helps Others Through Prayer
Acts 12 tells a story of how prayer helped Peter. Peter had been arrested by King Herod and put in prison. He was about to be delivered up for his terrible punishment of death, but the church members were praying earnestly for him.
As they did so, an angel came to Peter and led him safely past the guards and out of the prison. Peter went to where the members were praying for him. The people were so grateful and excited that God had answered their prayers that they forgot to let him inside.
Though it can help us personally, it isn’t just for us. It can help our families, friends, and it can also help our businesses and our responsibilities.
Benefits of Prayer
There are many benefits that prayer can bring. Here are a few.
Gratitude toward God helps us recognize the good things in our lives.
Prayer can help us have gratitude towards God and help us focus our hearts on the many good things that are in our lives instead of just focusing on the negative and the challenges.
When I was in high school, there was a period of time where I didn’t feel as close to Heavenly Father as I wanted to feel. One evening as I was doing my scripture study, I opened the Bible to 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 which says, “Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”
From that scripture I learned that I needed to give thanks to Heavenly Father through prayer. I needed to focus a lot more on gratitude, instead of focusing on myself and what I wanted. That made a huge difference for me. I began offering some prayers that were gratitude only prayers. That turned my communication with God through prayer into two-way communication.
Prayer can give us peace.
Years ago, I was sued. When the lawsuit arrived, I was stressed about it. I prayed, and I didn’t ask in the prayer to know whether or not I was going to win the lawsuit. However, I had this very strong peaceful feeling that we would win. It surprised me because that wasn’t an answer to a question I asked.
That lawsuit dragged out for more than four years, and there were huge legal bills. There was a lot on the line based on the result of the lawsuit. However, I was very blessed that I didn’t have to stress about it. I had peace.
I knew what the outcome was going to be because of the prayer and peaceful direction I was given at the beginning of that case. When it was over and we were victorious, I was so grateful to my Heavenly Father that he had saved me so much stress and anxiety over those four years.
Prayer can help us build a stronger relationship with God and an understanding of Him.
Prayer isn’t just a one-way communication where we give our Amazon wish list of everything that we want Him to do for us. Prayer can actually be two-way communication where we ask, we listen, and we get answers and direction. It can help us build a relationship with God and understand Him more.
Prayer aligns our will with God’s will.
Part of prayer is finding out what we should be praying for, finding out God’s will for us in our life. We can pray for an understanding of His plan and how it is what’s best for us. Then we can get up and work for that plan.
Prayer can give us answers, direction, and guidance in tough circumstances.
Russell Nelson is a religious leader, but before that he was a renowned heart surgeon. He was one of the first heart surgeons who did open heart surgery. Later in his career, a man who had a problem with two of his heart valves came to Nelson. Nelson told the man that one of his valves was operable and he could fix it, but he wouldn’t be able to fix the other one. So he turned the man away, saying he couldn’t perform the surgery.
However, the man came back to him and said, “I’ve prayed, and I feel like I need to come to you. The Lord can’t direct me on how to fix this valve, but because of all your study and your expertise, he can direct you. So, you need to go pray; you need to go get an answer on how to help me because I can’t do this on my own.”
Because of this man’s faith, Nelson performed the surgery. When he was about to go in to do the surgery, one of his peers doing surgery with him asked how he was going to do the surgery. Nelson replied that he didn’t know.
He prayed fervently, asking for God’s help. When he got into the surgery, Nelson saw the heart valve in question in his mind. He saw a diagram of pleats, tucks, and exactly what he needed to do to reduce the circumference of that valve. He had never learned how to do that, but he felt that inspiration was an answer to his prayer and the prayer of his patient. The patient recovered quickly and lived for many years after that.
“Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you: For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)
Prayer can help us secure blessings and miracles that our Heavenly Father wants to send to us but is just waiting for us to ask for.
There are many examples of those kinds of blessings and miracles that are only unlocked after we ask for them. Think of the story in the Bible of Daniel and the lions. Because Daniel prayed, he was thrown into a lion’s den as punishment. However, he kept praying, and angels appeared and shut the lions’ mouths. In the morning when the king came, Daniel was still alive because of his prayer and his faith.
How to Pray
Different religions and denominations have different methods of praying. Some offer a certain amount of prayers daily, some go to a specific place to pray, some use doxologies and benedictions, and some simply pour out their hearts to whoever they worship.
If we are learning to pray, it may not matter exactly how we do it. What matters more is the intent of our hearts. Are we seeking to sincerely communicate with our creator?
However, it can be useful to follow steps as we pray to help guide us in our communication. Here are four simple steps to Christian prayer that I have been taught. I encourage you to pray in whatever way you have been taught or whatever way feels right to you.
You can get down on knees but don’t have to. You can pray anywhere.
- Open the prayer by addressing God.
- Think of the things you are grateful for and thank Him for them.
- Think of the things you and others are struggling with and ask for His aid.
- Close in the name of Jesus Christ.
I’ve found this way works very well for me. I start off by addressing God. I usually say, Dear Heavenly Father. Then, I express things that I am grateful for and sometimes I even give prayers that are only gratitude prayers; I don’t ask for anything, but I just focus on expressing gratitude for all of the many blessings that I’ve received. I love how focusing on gratitude helps put the challenges I’m facing into perspective.
If I’m not giving a gratitude only prayer, then I think of things that I need help with or that other people need help with, and I ask for those things. Last, I close in the name of Jesus Christ, amen. Amen means I agree with what’s been prayed or “so be it.”
You don’t have to pray in this format. But however you pray, pray from your heart. Talk to your Heavenly Father, listen to His answer, and then act on it.
God is there. He hears and answers our prayers.
I know that God is there. I believe in prayer. I know that God hears our sincere prayers. Sometimes the answer is no or not yet. Part of prayer is trusting God and trusting in his divine plan for us and His omniscience; He knows what’s best and right for us.
God cares about what happens in our lives and in our businesses, because he cares about us and what is important to us.
Another part of prayer is that after we’ve gotten down on our knees and prayed like everything depends on God, we then need to get up and act as if everything depends on us. We need to do everything in our power to make things happen and not just sit back and wait without doing our part.
Here are some of my key takeaways from this episode:
- Prayer can help us in our lives and in our businesses.
- Prayer can help us and other people.
- Gratitude toward God helps us recognize the good things in our lives.
- Prayer can give us peace.
- Prayer can help us build a stronger relationship with God and an understanding of Him.
- Prayer aligns our will with God’s will.
- Prayer can give us answers, direction, and guidance in tough circumstances.
- Prayer can help us secure blessings and miracles that our Heavenly Father wants to send to us but is just waiting for us to ask for.
- We should pray from our hearts.
- After we’ve gotten down on our knees and prayed like everything depends on God, we then need to get up and act as if everything depends on us.