These days, you can talk to most people about catastrophes, disasters, calamities, and other terrible things, but mention the word “prayer” and the conversation often comes to a screeching halt. Some people call this political correctness. I call it misguided.
The way I was raised and where I come from, prayer does not mean trying to force other people to believe certain things. It also does not mean judging and condemning people who believe differently, or who do not believe at all. Instead, prayer is about cultivating an intimate and essential relationship with God. A wonderful pastor advised me many years ago to make sure that I pray in very specific and personal terms because my relationship with God is unique. I have never forgotten that wisdom, and it has made a profound difference in my life.
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Speaking of profound differences: I am happily going to break a longstanding rule to never mix business with religion by sharing three ways that the power of prayer has sustained and strengthened my business over the years — and especially in these last few months, which have been challenging for all of us, to say the least:
1. An Attitude of Gratitude
It is extremely easy to focus on the negative. The bad news is splashed in giant headlines across the front page, while the good news is buried way, way in the back (i.e. the section reserved for car owners who need something to wipe off their oil dipstick, or pet owners who need something with which to line their birdcages).
Prayer reminds us to appreciate all that we have to be grateful for, including the inestimable debt that we owe the fallen members of our Military who have made the ultimate sacrifice throughout our history for the protection, peace, and prosperity of our country. I cannot overstate how important an attitude of gratitude has been to my business. It inspires me to look for solutions, expect the best, and never give up hope — even when things look grim.
2. Staying Humble and Serving Others
There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance, and when we cross it we invariably find out sooner or later — because something bad happens. In my experience, there is no simpler or more effective way to remain humble than by praying, because it is a clear and constant reminder that we are here to serve others.
This commitment to service is the heart of my business and is our defining, signature characteristic. The cloud telecommunications space is extremely competitive, yet year after year we keep growing even though we are not (and do not strive to be) the cheapest company around. Exceptional service — which is rooted in humility — is the biggest reason for our lasting success.
3. Loving and Laughing
Maybe a big reason why many people are averse to prayer — and some are outright hostile towards it — is because it can look so serious. Obviously, there are some valid reasons for this. For example, when we go through a hardship or experience a loss, our prayers will be somber. However, I also believe that prayer is about enjoying life while we can.
I am reminded of the classic rock song by Trooper called We’re Here for a Good Time, which has the lyrics: “we’re here for a good time, not a long time, so have a good time, the sun can’t shine every day.” In my business, things can get stressful at times (just like in any other business). After more than 20 years, without the power of prayer, I would have an ulcer from anxiety and worrying. Instead, I wake up every morning with a smile on my face because I have been granted another opportunity to love and laugh. Naturally, this mindset flows through my company. We take our work and duty very seriously, but we also know how to have fun and celebrate our individual and shared achievements.
The Bottom Line
Although many people over the years have told me that I would make a great pastor, my purpose here is not to preach. I respect that some people do not pray, or they pray differently than I do. My philosophy has always been that as long as one is not harming others, then “to each his own” and “live and let live.”
Yet with this being said, I am not wary — on the contrary, I am proud — to share with anyone who will listen (or in this case, read!) that prayer has meant so much to my business over the years. I am grateful for all that I have been given and that I have experienced, and I am optimistic and excited about the future. Yes, there will be challenges ahead, and “the sun can’t shine every day.” But I know the power of prayer will see me through and steer me in the right direction. Perhaps you should give it a try?