Is Prayer Appropriate In the Workplace?
Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
I am a software developer. My colleagues and I write and maintain software for satellite ground operations, in which a satellite takes data twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. The software must keep up with the flow of that data.
One day recently my team was trying to track down a particularly nasty bug in the operational software. I discovered that two previous attempts to fix the problem that week had failed. Data from the satellite was getting really backlogged. Engineers were wondering where their data was. Upper management was pressuring us to resolve the problem. The atmosphere in the office was tense and stressful.
That morning, before leaving for the office, I had taken some time to pray. I had studied the Bible and a book that explains the Bible, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. In opening up the Bible's spiritual messages, Science and Health presents the complete statement of Christian Science and its method of healing. I had read this: "God is infinite, the only Life, substance, Spirit, or Soul, the only intelligence of the universe, including man" (p. 330). And I had thought, "What a wonderful idea in which to ground myself today-God is the only intelligence of the universe!"
I was grateful to have taken the time that morning to align my thinking with God. Now I remembered that sentence from Science and Health and once again was reassured that each of us is governed by God, who is our only intelligence. That meant we did not need to thrash about in the office in various hit-or-miss efforts that might or might not bring the needed answer.
I knew that the all-knowing God imparts His guidance to each individual, revealing solutions to human problems without detours or frustration. I also knew that each of us has the capacity to hear and follow divine guidance. So, while I was not directly involved in debugging the code, I knew I was doing my part by keeping my thoughts on the truth, adopting the very spiritual perspective of life taught by Jesus Christ, in which we trust in the power of God.
A couple of hours later I went into the office where the others were. One of them had found the solution. He was running a final test. While we waited for the results, the other worker who along with me had been assigned a support role said, "I'm sorry I couldn't offer more help. All I could do was pray!" We all started laughing. Then he stopped and said with a smile, "But you know I did pray, and when I was really praying intensely, Andy solved the problem. And my prayer wasn't that Andy's fix would work, but that he would have the wisdom to know what needed to be done."
I said, "Well, I was thinking about something I read this morning-that God is the intelligence of the universe. Isn't it nice to know that prayer works?"
Then Andy said, "You know, the Bible says that if any man lacks wisdom, he should ask of the Lord, and the Lord will give unto him abundantly" (see James 1:5). Andy said he often prayed for guidance in his work at the office.
Here we were-a Messianic Jew, a charismatic Evangelical, and a Christian Scientist-all of us praying essentially the same prayer, in which God is the source of all intelligence. And the prayer was effective; the problem was solved in short order. Perhaps best of all, we had experienced a unity of thought and purpose that was very special. It has served as a foundation for future collaborations.
This is only one of many experiences I've had in which prayer has revealed a quick and complete solution to a sticky office situation.
So, is prayer appropriate in the workplace? We all thought so that day!
The effectual fervent prayer
of a righteous man