This fall I launched a business with my son. However, I’ve been reluctant to pray for its success.
I’ve always prayed. My mother taught me to pray when I was a toddler. Then I learned more about prayer from some wonderful nuns when I was in elementary school, and then I learned more about prayer on my own challenging myself as an adult to develop a healthy relationship with God.
One of the common themes in all the times when I learned how to pray seems to have been that prayers should be more other-centered. As a little boy my prayers consisted of naming my family members and those I loved. As I grew older I even learned the importance of praying for my enemies. But somehow, I picked up that praying for myself shouldn’t be at the top of my prayer list, or maybe not even on the list. Over the years I’ve become reluctant to pray for just about anything where I benefit. I’m not saying that’s the way it should be. I’m simply pointing out that this has happened. I think it’s OK to pray for things where we benefit, especially if it contributes to the greater good of others.
For me it doesn’t feel right to pray that my business does well. It seems selfish, even though I know otherwise. I know that my business is a great opportunity to support other families, to contribute to the economic viability of my community, to create opportunities to give to others, and to allow others to give. Yet, still I’m reluctant to pray for it. I’m reluctant to pray for its success.
Do I want my business to be successful? Absolutely.
So, why don’t I feel comfortable praying for it? I’m not going to over think it. I’m simply going to start including it as part of my prayers. I need to feel more comfortable knowing that it’s OK to pray for things that also benefit me.
It’s not that my business hasn’t played any part in my prayers. I’ve prayed that God guide me in operating it in a way that pleases him, that brings good to the world. This week I found, in the midst of some real challenges, that it’s healthy for me to pray about my work. I was in a situation where things were going wrong. No matter how I tried to address the situation, things just got worse.
I stood back and asked myself. Where does my peace come from? Does it come from the outcome of this difficult situation, or does it come from somewhere else?
My answer was simple, and easy to find once I chose to reflect on it, even in the midst of chaos.
My peace comes from God.
It’s not the good or bad circumstances of my life that bring me peace. It’s my faith in God. It’s my faith in knowing that I can find lasting and eternal peace resting my burdens with him. That’s what brings me peace.
I’m going to start praying for the success of my business more often. But, more importantly, I’m not going to lose sight of where my peace comes from, regardless of the circumstances of my life. My hope is that we can all find peace in the midst of whatever life brings our way.