woman in prayer

How to Pray: Practical Guidelines for a BAM Company

by David Skews

Business as mission is far more than business in worldly terms, it is service for God and must be conducted to His glory alone. In such a business, therefore, prayer (regular audience with God) is paramount to gain His guidance, His methods and His mind.

The following guidelines have a narrow application to the business. They are not intended to address personal spiritual issues, although without a close personal walk with God, any business is going to struggle.

Issues and concerns are listed under a number of headings that are relevant to business. When an issue arises, our natural instincts are likely to rise to the fore. It is suggested, therefore, to read the related biblical passages with a submissive attitude that is willing to submit to God’s ways. Our prayers should then be directed at bringing people and circumstances into alignment with God’s will.

This list is a work in progress. Many issues will arise that are not covered, but the same principle should be followed: search the scriptures for relevant references and allow God’s Spirit to apply them to the hearts of all those who are praying and then frame prayers accordingly.

Please feel free to submit issues and references that would be useful to add to this list so that updated versions can be published from time to time.

Startup and Entrepreneurship

Establishing a Godly basis for a business is vital right from the start and it is essential to distinguish that which is from God, as opposed to our own personal ambitions. Once we are confident that we have God’s mind in regard to the business, we should drive on with confidence, regardless of the opposition encountered along the way.

Issue Concern

Biblical References

Motivation for Starting Business

1 Peter 4:10 Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 

Setting Priorities for the Business

Romans 8:5 Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires.

Colossians 3:23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.

Hebrews 13:5-6 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” So we say with confidence, “The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

Mission and Vision

Mark 8:36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?

Personal Ambition

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Discouragement

Isaiah 45:2 I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron. 

Lack of Confidence

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

Fear

II Timothy 1:7 For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Mark 5:36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told them, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Procrastination / Hesitation

Ecclesiastes 11:4 He who observes the wind [and waits for all conditions to be favourable] will not sow, and he who regards the clouds will not reap.

Governance

Governance covers many disciplines including management, administration, responsibility, accountability and more. Good governance starts at the top of the organisation and must be an integral part of the whole structure. It is essential that the standard of governance is able to stand up to the closest scrutiny.

Issue Concern

Biblical References

Accountability to God

2 Corinthians 13:5-6 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test? And I trust that you will discover that we have not failed the test.

Biblical Principles of Good Governance

Proverbs 2:6-8 For the LORD gives wisdom; from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. He holds success in store for the upright, he is a shield to those whose walk is blameless, for he guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones.

Management Style

Ephesians 6:7-8 Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people, because you know that the Lord will reward each one for whatever good they do, whether they are slave or free.

God’s Standards

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Sound Counsel

Proverbs 11:14 Without the guidance of good leaders a nation falls. But many good advisers can save it. 

Work / Life Balance

3 John 1:2 Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.

Exodus 23:12 Six days do your work, but on the seventh day do not work, so that your ox and your donkey may rest, and so that the slave born in your household and the foreigner living among you may be refreshed.

Diligence

Proverbs 21:5 The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.

Reputation

Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, and favour is better than silver or gold.

1 Peter 5:5 In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud, but shows favour to the humble.”

Challenges to Good Governance

1 Peter 5:8 Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 

Sales and Marketing

Sales and Marketing is a major area of temptation to exaggerate, over promise, or other forms of dishonesty in order to maximise profit. Complete integrity must be a hallmark of the business and a top priority for every member of staff.

Issue Concern

Biblical References

Honest Dealing

Leviticus 19:13 Do not defraud or rob your neighbour.  Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.

Deuteronomy 25:13-15 Do not have two differing weights in your bag—one heavy, one light.  Do not have two differing measures in your house—one large, one small.  You must have accurate and honest weights and measures, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you.

Proverbs 11:1 The Lord detests dishonest scales, but accurate weights find favour with him.

Proverbs 16:8 Better a little with righteousness than much gain with injustice.

Leviticus 19:11 You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another.

Total Integrity

Psalm 15:1-5 O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent? Who shall dwell on your holy hill? He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart; who does not slander with his tongue and does no evil to his neighbour, nor takes up a reproach against his friend; in whose eyes a vile person is despised, but who honours those who fear the Lord; who swears to his own hurt and does not change; who does not put out his money at interest and does not take a bribe against the innocent.  He who does these things shall never be moved.

Exceed Expectations

Psalm 112:5 Good will come to those who are generous and lend freely, who conduct their affairs with justice.

Proverbs 19:17 Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Taking Unfair Advantage

Proverbs 13:11 Dishonest money dwindles away, but whoever gathers money little by little makes it grow.

Bribery and Corruption

Proverbs 22:16 One who oppresses the poor to increase his wealth and one who gives gifts to the rich — both come to poverty.

Thanksgiving

Every good gift comes from God – even our own gift to establish and run a business. It is vital to recognise this truth and to thank Him accordingly. It is good also to recognise the goodness of God whenever we interact with other people in business.

Issue Concern

Biblical References

Gifts and Abilities of Self and Staff

Deuteronomy 8:18 But remember the LORD your God, for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth, and so confirms his covenant, which he swore to your ancestors, as it is today. 

Victory in Difficult Times

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 Rejoice always, Pray continually, Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Business Prosperity

I Thessalonians 5:16-19 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances; this is the will of God for your life. 

God’s Provision

II Corinthians 9:8 God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.

Problems

Problems and difficulties inevitably arise but must be resolved in a just, fair and godly way. It is neither wise nor acceptable to ignore, deny or to unjustly pass blame to others.

Issue Concern

Biblical References

Faith in God

Mark 5:36 Overhearing what they said, Jesus told them, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Spiritual Opposition

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Business Opposition

Nehemiah 6:9 They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.” But I prayed, “Now strengthen my hands.”

Exhaustion

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Calm Spirit

Proverbs 29:11 Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Watch your temper!

Forgiving Attitude

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.

 

Download PDF copy

David Skews is a businessperson called to mission. In 1989, he established EDP Health Safety & Environment Consultants Ltd performing the role of CEO as he led EDP through sustained growth for over 25 years in both the UK and Asia. In 2004 he fully engaged in business as mission, as well as continuing to lead his business. Since then, David has focused his efforts into training entrepreneurs in Asia and Africa, and speaking internationally on business for good. He has also helped lead a mission agency through the process of embracing missional business. Today, he acts as a non-exec director for six successful BAM businesses and is part of the Advisory Board for BAM Global. David is transitioning out of his business in 2015 and into new BAM fields! David is married to Lesley and is based in the UK.

David serves as a regular mentor for the Ask a BAM Mentor column.