When I first went to the field I didn’t know how strong my relationship with my organization was going to be. I had no idea I would stay on the field as long as I did and that the next two decades were going to be so formative for the rest of my life.
So, it’s not surprising to hear that in those early days I prayed for my organization . . . sort of. My teammate and I prayed for “leaders” and “decisions they made.” As the years passed and I grew to know the names of the leaders—both on the field and in the home office—I could pray more specifically. But if I’m honest, I can’t say that I prayed as faithfully or as reflectively as I could.
Any organization is clearly made up of more than “leaders” and “decisions they make.”
Whether you’re with an organization or not, we all know of organizations and people who are in organizations. We’re all impacted by organizations—often for the good, sometimes for the less-than-good, and at times for the bad.
Eugene Peterson in On Living Well has this to say about growth (I bet you thought I was going to say prayer! Read what he said and think about how growth and prayer are related):
Christian growth, like any kind of growth, needs to be in continuous touch with the sources of its nourishment. If it develops more activity than its roots can support, it loses productivity. If it initiates activity that has no basis in its roots, it will wither quickly, to be replaced the next week by another cut-flower fad.
What struck me—both for growth and prayer—is the importance of roots. Of course this makes sense, but every now and then it’s good to circle back to the obvious and camp there for a moment.
Your ultimate roots are in God, not an organization you are with or may work with. One of the ways we can do this is through prayer for organizations. A common question for business owners is “do you make time to work on your business or do you only work in it?”
Life can be so full and loud and the urgent is often knocking at the door. If we’re not intentional, we can become like the business owner responds to the needs of the day and works faithfully in and rarely on the calling of her business.
I don’t want to just to just talk about prayer, but give you a few ideas and then time to pray for an organization you love.
1. Is there anything you fuss or worry about in your organization? Since your mind is already ruminating on that area, start there. Instead of pretending it doesn’t annoy you, be honest about it and pour your thoughts, concerns, and grievances out to God. (You just might be surprised how you change in the process too.)
2. This A Life Overseas article Let us pray for each other contains four scriptures to guide your prayer. You can adapt it to praying for your organization.
3. Global Trellis has adapted the Examen to lead you specifically through praying for your organization. You can read the Examen and the adaptation here or download the resource here.
If you’re new to the field, my hope and prayer is that this article will help you pray “better” (is there such a thing?) than I did when I moved to the field. And if you’re further along in your journey on the field that this will be used by the Holy Spirit to nudge you to pray for your organization this week.
May our prayer roots grow deeper. Amen and amen.
Photo by Olivia Snow on Unsplash