#134 – Integrity Idea 008: Group Prayer

ESSENCE:  From time to time, we are devoting posts to describing specific actions a faithful leader can consider in leading faithfully through business a better way.  We are calling these Integrity Ideas.  

INTEGRITY IDEA: Group Prayer

COVERT-OVERT CONTINUUM (six Continuums for action):  Prayer

COVERT-OVERT RATING (several levels from Highly Covert to Highly Overt):  Covert

STAKEHOLDERS SERVED: Employees, Customers/Clients, Owners, Suppliers/Vendors, Community, Kingdom

Most Integrity Ideas are practical actions that will begin to Re-Align the organization with Biblical beliefs, principles and priorities.  “Group Prayer” is about a leader organizing or facilitating groups of people in an organization to pray for the organization, for its owners, leaders, employees, customers, vendors and community, and for wisdom and guidance in decisions. Group Prayer leverages the power and authority of faithful people praying in agreement to help an organization and its leaders and employees face the spiritual challenges of  pursuing business a better way in a fallen world dominated by business as usual.  “Group Prayer” can take many different forms, depending on the unique circumstances of the organization. In its most Covert form, it can be as simple and discrete as two or more leaders praying together privately.  

From time to time, we are devoting posts to describing specific actions a leader can consider during the Re-Align step of Integriosity®–actions that will begin to Re-Align the organization with Biblical beliefs, principles and priorities.  We are calling these “Integrity Ideas“.

We usually say that some Integrity Ideas will feel like a good fit, and others will not, and that the choice should be based on which approach is best for stewarding the organization toward its WHY.  “Group Prayer” is not as simple as “do it” or “don’t do it”.  Group Prayer” can take many different forms, depending on the unique circumstances of the organization.  In its most Covert form, it can be as simple and discrete as two or more leaders praying together privately.

INTEGRITY IDEA: Group Prayer

“Group Prayer” is about a leader organizing or facilitating groups of people in an organization to pray for the organization, for its owners, leaders, employees, customers, vendors and community, and for wisdom and guidance in decisions.

In our last post, (Integrity Idea 007–Personal Prayer), we discussed the importance of prayer by leaders in faithfully leading an organization.  Group Prayer leverages the power and authority of faithful people praying in agreement to help an organization and its leaders and employees face the spiritual challenges of pursuing business a better way in a fallen world dominated by business as usual.   That leverage is promised in Matthew 18:19:

Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.

CONTINUUM: Prayer

The Integriosity model organizes “heart change” along six Covert-Overt Continuums.  There is nothing magic about these categories, but we believe they are helpful in thinking about practical execution of a Re-Imagined Purpose, Re-Imagined Values and a Re-Imagined Culture.  The Continuums are Prayer, Proclamation, Policies, Practices, Products, People.

Each Continuum represents an area in which leaders can begin to think about, plan and institute Re-Alignment changes to the heart of the organization.

“Group Prayer” is obviously on the Prayer Continuum.  The Prayer Continuum should also be the very first one addressed by faithful leaders pursuing leading faithfully through business a better way, because prayer will facilitate the heart-change in leaders needed to RENEW their understanding of God’s purpose for work and business, it will guide how those leaders RE-IMAGINE the Purpose, Values and Culture of the organization, and it will guide how they address and implement RE-ALIGNMENT along the other five Continuums.  If “Group Prayer” involves broader groups of employees, it can also facilitate the heart-change needed in the organization for its culture to align with Biblical belies, principles and priorities.

COVERT-OVERT RATING: Covert

The Integriosity model breaks the Covert-Overt Continuums into six gradations–from Highly Covert to Highly Overt–that we believe are helpful in beginning to pray and think about what is most appropriate for an organization at a particular moment in time.

Most Integrity Ideas will have one place on the scale.  Some, like “Group Prayer”, can vary depending on how they are implemented.  “Group Prayer” can range from Covert to Highly Overt. For example:

• “Group Prayer” can be Covert (an overtly faith-based action known only to a select group) if it involves a few leaders privately praying together.

• “Group Prayer” can be Overt (An overtly faith-based action known generally within the organization) if it involves a prayer group open to employees, a prayer group organized by a faith based Employee Resource Group (ERG), or a prayer meeting of leaders that is known about generally within the organization, perhaps by welcoming prayer requests from employees.

• “Group Prayer” can be Very Overt (An overtly faith-based action involving suppliers, vendors or customers) if it is talked about with, or open to participation by, suppliers, vendors or customers or invites prayer requests from those stakeholders.

• “Group Prayer” can be Highly Overt (An overtly faith-based action involving community, website, sales/marketing materials) if the existence of the group is publicized by the organization, such as on its website.

STAKEHOLDERS SERVED: Employees, Customers/Clients, Owners, Suppliers/Vendors, Community, Kingdom

When we categorize faith-based actions, we also consider the stakeholders principally impacted by the action: Employees, Customers/Clients, Owners, Suppliers/Vendors, Community and Kingdom.  As we “Personal Prayer”, “Group Prayer” serves all those prayed for and all those touched by the organization–Employees, Customers/Clients, Owners, Suppliers/Vendors, and Community.

In addition, those participating in the “Group Prayer” are impacted by the opportunity to pray–for the organization that creates a platform for their God-given productivity and creativity to be utilized, for the colleagues with whom they are in community and whose co-laboring allows them to create in relationship, for the customers they serve through their work, for the owners and suppliers who make their work possible.  In the words of Oswald Chambers:

Prayer does not equip us for greater works—prayer is the greater work.

As leaders and employees gather faithfully to pray, the three bigger WHYs of Integriosity are exemplified:

• Those praying and those prayed for are Humanized by living out their design to glorify God through prayers offered and prayers answered.

• The world is Beautified by the example of leaders leading faithfully, of employees gathering relationally and of the organization conducting business in alignment with God’s design.

• God is Glorified through the act of prayer itself..

Prayer does not equip us for greater works—prayer is the greater work. (Oswald Chambers)

IMPLEMENTATION

Implementing Group Prayer” can take many different forms, depending on the unique circumstances of the organization. Here are just a few possibilities:

• A small group of leaders meeting privately and covertly on a regular basis.

• A group of leaders and employees meeting privately and covertly on a regular basis.

• A small group of leaders and/or employees meeting regularly and overtly.

• A regular prayer meeting open to any employee.

• A regular prayer meeting organized by members of a faith-based ERG.

“Group Prayer” can be done by meeting in-person, by video-conference, by telephone conference, or any combination.

If a group will be meeting overtly for “Group Prayer”, here are a few questions to consider as the group is being organized:

Prayer Requests. Will the group create a mechanism for people to submit prayer requests?  Based on stories we have heard, whether or not the group creates an official mechanism for prayer requests, it is highly likely they will receive prayer requests from colleagues.

• If prayer requests are encouraged, how will they be submitted? Some possibilities are by e-mail to a designated address, on a public prayer wall, by paper submission to a prayer “box”.

• If prayer requests are encouraged, will there be procedures to set expectations as to confidentiality and to maintain confidentiality within the group?

Group Members. Will new people be permitted to join the group?  If so, will there be any vetting or approval process?  While a large prayer group can become unwieldy, a group that is meeting overtly that is “closed” or perceived to be “exclusive” can work against the creation of an environment of Shalom and connectedness.

Covert/Overt. How “overt” will the group be?  Will suppliers and customers be informed and invited to submit prayer requests?  Will the group’s existence be mentioned on the organization’s public website?

Like all faith-based resources and activities in the workplace, participation in any prayer group must be voluntary (and whether an employee chooses to participate shouldn’t impact their employment).

PERSONAL NOTE (from PM):   The first time I heard about the power of workplace prayer was from a New Canaan Society brother named Ed Wohlwender.  Ed was the new CEO of a manufacturing company that needed to be rejuvenated.  When he joined the organization, he sat privately with the other leaders to get their perspective on how things were going and what needed to change.  He discovered that another senior executive had a Biblical faith, and they began to pray together privately for wisdom.  Eventually, they invited a few other employees to join their prayer group.  As word spread about the prayer group, employees would ask the group to pray for personal matters and family situations.  As word spread that prayers were answered, even more people began to believe in the power of prayer.

People Humanized, the world Beautified and God Glorified because two leaders began to pray together at work.

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Photo Credit: Original photo by Juan Marin on Unsplash (photo cropped)