"This is the hardest time of the year for my business," Pam said. Her busy season was just cranking up, but money from sales was not yet flowing. I could hear the tears behind her eyes over the phone. "My financial cushion is dwindling. I'm not going to make payroll next week. I know I need to turn it over to God, but it's hard, and I'm tired. It feels like the same place I've been in before. I'm not trying to make a lot of money; I just want to pay my people!"
As the founder of WhiteStone Professionals, business consultant and coach, I work with a number of company owners and executives with similar struggles. Many of them see their business as a calling from God. They understand their work as a ministry—to their clients, customers, employees, vendors and others. However, day-to-day realities pull at them from every side, making it difficult to persevere and easy to question how well they are really doing in fulfilling their calling from God for their business.
One of the primary, and most unique, tools that I have developed and utilize with business executives is what I call Strategic Business Prayer. My clients will tell you that it is a powerful tool and incredibly effective for helping these leaders get out of their own way and stay on track. Often, the biggest struggle is helping clients to understand what Strategic Business Prayer really is and how it can be used as an effective business tool? How does that work?
Foremost in understanding Strategic Business Prayer, is to realize that it is interactive. In a coaching session, we don't just talk at God and ask him to bless our plans. We invite Him into a conversation. We ask Him questions, and listen for His responses. My role is to facilitate the conversation by helping my clients connect with God in a way that allows him or her to listen with their spiritual ears. I ask very specific questions and check for validity of answers using a variety of means, including discerning whether what the client hears is aligned with scripture, among other things. I also take copious notes, capturing as accurately as possible the conversation between the client and God, as they report what they hear from Him. It is an intense process of concentration, so clients appreciate being able to read the notes after the session.
Perhaps it is best illustrated by sharing excerpts from a recent session with one of my clients, named Pam.
After an opening prayer, the session with Pam started out like this:
Me: "Lord, what do you want Pam to know about making payroll next week?"
Pam: "He said that if I could see what he sees, there would be no need to worry or be unsure. I'm still so afraid though. But He wants me to know that I'm stronger than before…"
The conversation continued, back and forth for a while as God reminded Pam how much she has learned and grown in her faith and her business. Then Pam had this important exchange with God.
Pam: "God, I don't want the pain. I don't want to have to tell a staff member why they aren't getting paid."
God: "You won't have to tell them that. I Am God. There are an infinite number of ways to solve your problem. Infinite, Pam. Infinite. But I don't see it as a problem, Pam, only you do. You can only see a few ways. That's why I'm in charge of how it happens, not you.
"Don't be so hard on yourself, Pam. You are doing well and this will all work out. Keep track, write down every day next week what happens with the finances."
Me: "How does that feel?"
Pam: "Familiar. I've been here before. In the same time that I'm panicky, I also have more tools…I may go around the same mountain, but now I'm different and better equipped. Last time, I worried about how I would get me through. This time, I'm wondering how He will get me through it…I'm excited!
We wrapped up that session with Pam excitedly looking forward to how God would come through for her and her staff in the coming week.That session took place on a Friday. The following Thursday, I received this text message from Pam: Now, it's great to feel better, but if nothing happens in the bank account and the staff doesn't get paid, it's not worth anything to the business. So, what happened?
"Hi Dawn. True to His promise, God provided all the money I needed to pay payroll and my business expenses!! Actually, 90% of the money was provided by Tuesday!"
For those of us who are in business as ministry, it is critically important to know that God can be trusted in business and that we should that we follow His lead. My calling and for those at WhiteStone Professionals is to help you follow your calling at work. If you would like to learn more or experience Strategic Business Prayer for yourself, contact us!
For Pam's Testimony click here