As Christian small business owners, we may think that bringing prayer into our place of business is just a matter of choice. While this is technically true, doing so may come at a high cost.
There are a myriad of laws and regulations governing how you, as an employer, can bring religion into the workplace. Based on your size, location, and type of customers, you may be subject to fines, penalties, or even jail time. With so much at stake, is it worth it?
Well, it depends on why you are trying to bring prayer into the workplace. Prayer is a very powerful tool that God has provided to Christians to utilize liberally in all areas of their lives. As Christian entrepreneurs, prayer should be an intricate part of our small businesses, but we must remember that prayer is a weapon.
Are You Just Showing Off with Your Prayers?
Like all weapons, if we use it improperly chances are that it will backfire on us. How many times have we been guilty of praying like the Pharisee in Luke chapter 18. It’s like walking into a bank brandishing a chrome plated pistol.
Unless you are planning to rob the place, it probably is not the brightest move. The same goes for our prayers in the workplace. People of other faiths, or no faith at all, may legitimately feel threatened by our bold and brash prayers in the workplace.
So are we just trying to show off with our prayers? If not, then what are we trying to accomplish? Is there a more effective way to utilize prayer in the workplace?
Praying Over Your Small Business
As Christian entrepreneurs, we should take time each morning to pray over our small business, our employees, and our customers. Prayer reminds us that God is in control of our business – something of which we small business owners need to be reminded continually.
It’s also a great idea to gather friends, family, and church members to come together periodically to pray over your business. This is especially helpful during stressful times in your business, or when expanding into new areas. I’ve found blending these three groups makes us more successful.
You might also consider opening this up to members of your staff; however, you need to make sure that they know it is voluntary and that participating (or not) will not be a factor in pay, promotions, employment, etc.
Gather Prayer Requests Informally
Another benefit of prayer is that it forces us to think of the needs of others, and how we might personally be able to help meet those needs. As Christian entrepreneurs, we should have our ears open for ways we can make an impact in our employee’s life.
It’s comforting when hard times strike our lives to hear that someone is praying for us. It can also to be disheartening when they are just empty words. When you pray for your employees, ask what you can personally do to be God’s answer. Show up in meaningful ways in their lives.
I still remember one example from when I was an employee. A co-worker’s father had passed away, and the funeral was during the workday. Our employer arranged for transportation for all the employees in our department, and took us to the funeral. Afterward, he took us all to lunch.
He could have just given the day off to that employee like most employers; however, he knew that she did not have other family in the area, and that there would be very few people at the funeral. How? He had kept his ears open.
God Hears Silent Prayers Too
Want to say grace at a company event, or perhaps ask God’s direction at the start of a big meeting? Sounds innocent enough, but imagine how you would feel if you were working for a Muslim, Hindu, or follower of Wicken? How would it sound then?
Bradley Moore, author of Shrinking the Camel, recently wrote a post called Spirituality in Business Tip #1: How To Kick Off a Meeting where he talks about an interesting way to start a meeting.
The Quakers have been doing this for centuries. Instead of making it an overtly pushy Christian thing, you can simply say that you would like to begin the meeting by asking everyone to spend a moment in silence, to clear their minds, to take a few deep breaths, to transition from whatever they just came from. It will help them to focus their thoughts on the important work that you are all about to embark on.
What a great idea! I really love this suggestion.
In addition to bringing focus, it gives you an opportunity to say a quick silent prayer before the meeting in a way that is not threatening or uncomfortable to your employees.
Setting Your Small Business Apart
Isn’t it time to start using prayer as a weapon against the evil affecting people’s lives, instead of as an alienating, discriminating, empty gesture. Christianity is not about forcing others to sit uncomfortably as we force our religion down their throats.
It’s about showing up in people’s lives meeting real needs in meaningful ways. The methods above bring true, effective prayer into our small businesses without violating any laws or regulations. Isn’t that what we really want?
What a great way to set your business apart. How do you bring prayer into your small business workplace? To Quote Dr. Phil, “How’s that working for you?”