Prayer and the sole proprietor

MANY people dream of being able to run their own small business some day. They yearn for the freedom to determine their own working hours. They envision making decisions without having to answer to a supervisor or board. They are attracted to the idea of working with a product or service of their choice. But sole proprietors often face challenges that make the safety and convenience of big companies appear desirable. Can prayer help the owner of a small business face up to these challenges? If we are willing to work at it, prayer is indeed effective and practical in managing a business. But how do we ``work'' at prayer? Isn't prayer something that one just does?

Prayer is practical when we get into the trenches, so to speak, and confront the specific evil that claims to have separated us from God's abundant goodness. ``The Lord shall give that which is good,''1 the Bible affirms. And through diligent prayer we can acquaint ourselves with the fact of God's present supply of good.

It would be a perversion of prayer to ask God to make us suddenly wealthy or to free us from responsibility. Rather, we pray to understand that God is giving His creation all the strength and wisdom necessary to be happy and satisfied. Far from putting us ``on easy street,'' prayer makes us more vigorous and more diligent in right activity. Scripture promises us, ``Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings.''2 And Mary Baker Eddy, the Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science, writes of prayer, ``If our petitions are sincere, we labor for what we ask; and our Father, who seeth in secret, will reward us openly.''3

Mrs. Eddy says elsewhere: ``Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need. It is not well to imagine that Jesus demonstrated the divine power to heal only for a select number or for a limited period of time, since to all mankind and in every hour, divine Love supplies all good.''4

Jesus showed us the possibilities of turning to divine Love for provision. He demonstrated the law of God's care for man, a law that each one of us can begin to understand and experience through prayer.

We can realize in prayer that God is never less than omnipresent, never less than all-caring. We can pray to understand the spiritual fact that God is not subjecting His children to limitation or vulnerability but is constantly caring for them. We can daily affirm, and even understand, the truth that man is not a vulnerable or deprived mortal but that everyone's true selfhood is spiritual and complete, the expression, or manifestation, of God.

To say that prayer may sometimes be an effort is not to suggest that we somehow pray God into loving His children. In prayer we are not battling with God; in a sense, we're battling with our mistaken belief of having been separated from God's love. We are challenging the notion that God has somehow lost control of His ``business.'' We are uniting ourselves with the reality that God is the unfailing proprietor of the universe.

As we work in prayer to glimpse the truth that God is the source of all right activity, we feel less burdened and less fearful. We come to realize that God is the real source of all that is needed. He supplies us with intelligence, creativity, and foresight. From Him we gain needed courage and the ability to persist. Through prayer we are able to discern the reality that God never lacks any good and that therefore man can never lack any good.

Prayer is not a heady escape from the demands of running a business. Rather, prayer guides the sole proprietor to express more God-given wisdom, order, and grace, more joy and unselfishness -- qualities that carry with them all the good that God provides.

1Psalms 85:12. 2Proverbs 22:29. 3Science and Heal{et

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