Last summer we took 30 Christian entrepreneurs and ministry leaders to the 7,000 square feet, 4-story ocean home of a former CEO. I had the privilege of coaching and working with this CEO for nearly 10 years. This amazing leader had taken a $2 million company to $2 billion in sales in just 15 years. Yes, they went public and they are still a leader in their industry today.
He is no longer involved and is not what I would call a "dedicated" Christian. In fact, his mother dropped him off at an orphanage at 6. He was raised by the orphanage and is still upset with God today over that fate.
But he openly shared the why's, how's, strategies and tactics that allowed the business to grow so fast against many obstacles. We rapid-fire drilled him with questions that he answered with humility and wisdom.
At the end of the meeting, we asked him if and how we could pray for him. He paused and thought and then said, “Yes, for liquidity.” Turns out he invested large sums of money in two major enterprises that might not make it, which would put him in big jeopardy. So we eagerly gathered around him and prayed for God to move on his behalf.
One morning four months later, I got a surprise phone call from him. He said, in a very excited voice, “John, PRAYER WORKS! PRAYER WORKS! One of my big deals sold and I can keep my house! Thank you so much for praying for me. No one has ever done that for me before. I am so thankful. Please tell your members.” Then three months later, he called again equally excited with a similar story. His second deal was sold and he got out whole with no losses. Again, he wanted me to thank the group.
So here is the moral of the story: I have seen it play out time and time again... God honors unselfish prayers for others faster than prayers for oneself. We are all so self-centered that we petition for ourselves as our first line of prayers. But when our heart sincerely turns toward the needs and cries of others, God move more rapidly, when it’s in His will.
The secret is Intercessory Prayer. The most effective time in my business has been when I had three intercessors who voluntarily came to pray during and after our meetings. It's one of the reasons I ask members to pair up in twos to pray for each other’s needs. When you are praying for your boss, your customers, or fellow workers, it triples your influence with God through His purposes.
It first honors God to make a humble and meaningful request, then it honors those in need you are praying for, and finally it draws you closer to Him and His plan for your life. We all know prayer changes us, and now you know the secret to the most effective prayers. Who is praying for you tonight ? James 5:16 “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”