One's work life and prayer life can often seem like oil and water - rather than flowing together in the beautiful symbiosis we'd like, they too often they end up separating out like the aforementioned oil and water! So this month we're taking an inside look at one reader's experience of prayer in the workplace. Rebecca Couchman, a Senior Mortgage Underwriter with Wells Fargo in Des Moines has, by her own admission, just scratched the surface on prayer and communion with God in the workplace, but she is starting to see him move. Here's some of her story.
"Why Not Take Me into Your Workplace?"
"That was a question the Lord asked me as I went back into what was a very competitive new department in July 2004. I had spent two years out of the workplace, in a spiritual wilderness, losing pretty much everything but relationship with Jesus (home, job, friends, my father to homicide). But as a result, I had learnt a deep dependence on the Lord rather than myself. I had to stay in that place of peace, of his rest - but I didn't know how to do that back in corporate life. I was desperate to stay dependent on the Lord and this drove me to my knees, asking the Lord to teach me how to walk his way everyday. And that's when he asked me 'why don't you pray for this place, these people and take me with you into every moment of your day?'"
What Does that Look Like?
What does taking the Lord into every moment of her day actually look like for Rebecca?
Constant conversation: "From the moment I wake up I start talking to the Lord, but it's in the car on they way to work that I start praying for work. Starting with thankfulness - thanking the Lord is very powerful in getting my heart right before him and he is so worthy of worship. I thank him for always being there, for his provision in the basics of my life, for abundant life in him, for my team, co-workers, managers, clients and the files I work on."
Practical prayer: "I ask the Lord to work with us in everything - I pray over every file and for all parties associated with it. I pray to keep our minds clear, accurate and productive as a unit. I ask him to replace competitiveness with cooperation, his compassion, faithfulness and goodness."
Listening: "I listen to the Lord to prioritize my workload and the prayer requests that often come from co-workers via email."
God lunches: "I try to get out to the park at lunchtime to connect with the creative goodness of God."
Sharing Jesus: "In praying for so many of them, whether they know it or not there's often an openness to share more of Jesus with them."
This "constant prayer experiment" has certainly seen results - indeed the managers at Wells Fargo keep asking what the secret is in Rebecca's department.
Within three months of starting praying in and for her department, the atmosphere of anxiety and competition significantly changed to one of cooperation and satisfaction. Co-workers were asking for prayer and encountering the peace and presence of God.
Within just four months of opening, this new department rose to first place amongst 5 Wells Fargo sites across the US in every area - production figures, accuracy etc. - way above expectations.
Healings have taken place - three women have been completely healed from breast cancer, miracle conceptions and adoptions from abroad.
Several broken marriages have been turned around.
Several co-workers have come to Christ and returned to the church and relationship with the Lord.
There's still the temptation to fall into just praying for herself. In a recent move to a new department with a huge backlog and stress all around, Rebecca found herself praying "help me Lord" most of the time. A good prayer, but the Lord reminded her: "Wasn't it better in your previous department when you prayed 'help us Lord'?" After a week into really praying for the department, the backlog has miraculously disappeared!
Well, that's just a flavor of what a lifestyle of prayer can look like in the workplace. I'm off to my cubicle to pray over that mound of paperwork!