I was on a call with a potential client, and she said, “I just don’t know what is wrong. It could be my messaging or my pricing.” She had no idea why she could not get new clients.
I asked her what her faith life was like. She stopped for a moment, surprised by my question. “What do you mean?” she asked.
First, have you made God the CEO of your business? Second, how do you pray for your business? And third, do you fast?
She sputtered and said, “Well, no. I launched my business because God gave me the idea, and now I just need Him to bless it.”
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Is this how you’re approaching your business? Are you praying God will help you with what YOU have decided is the right thing to do? And how does fasting play into your faith life to strengthen your connection with God?
The secret formula
Your formula may look like this:
Business idea + Hard work + some Prayer = expecting God’s Blessing
Here’s the right secret formula:
God + Prayer + Fasting = Business ideas + Direction + Satisfaction
God and Prayer and Fasting
Many times we have our priorities turned around as we try to launch and continually grow our businesses. We think since this idea came into our heads, then it must be from God. So, we move ahead, thinking we know just what to do, OR we follow the example of someone else and work super hard to achieve our goals. Finally, we mix in a bit of prayer and ask God to bless our efforts.
Does this sound like something you have done? I know I did. What happens when we put the proverbial cart before the horse? Frustration, disappointment, discouragement, and ultimately failure.
What is the solution? Get the priorities right.
The formula is God + Prayer + Fasting. So when we start with God as the CEO (chief everything officer) and take EVERYTHING to Him in prayer and fasting through more challenging decisions, the horse is in the right place.
When we do that, the right business ideas come into view, the direction you are supposed to go in appears, and you get the satisfaction of doing what God has called you to do.
Start with God, the CEO
The first thing to do in the formula is to make God the CEO of your business.
That’s easy to say. But how are you living it out? Is God the CEO (chief everything officer) of your business? Let’s look at what that looks like for you.
- It means meeting with the boss each day.
- It means trusting Him enough to take a Sabbath each week.
Everything means that God is the most important part of your day, month, quarter, year, and life. This vertical relationship comes before any other relationship. Spending time with Him is the top priority.
Only when you spend time with God, filling up on Him, can you hope to overflow in your life in a good way, in the way God wants for you. You can only know His will and do His will when you align with Him.
Let’s break this down. . .
Have a daily meeting with Him
If you had a real-world, physical office boss, and they asked you to step into their office for a meeting, you would not say,
- “Sorry, no time.”
- “Oh, I can’t, I have to . . .”
- “Geez, I wish you had told me sooner.”
No! You would gather your computer and notes to rush into their office for the meeting. (If not, you might get fired!)
But this is what we do to our CEO, our boss. We put Him on hold in the background. We make Him the supporting role in our business and life and not the boss of it.
What does daily look like?
- Reading and studying the Word.
- Journaling your thoughts, ideas, and prayers.
- Getting to know God’s character, promises, warnings, and what He commands to us.
It is not about the length of time you spend with Him; it is about what you do with that time. So, first, study God’s Word in context systematically. If you want some assistance in doing this, I want to point you to my REAP method of Bible Study.
Take a weekly Sabbath
God rested on the seventh day. Why? Because He was tired? NO
Jesus explains in Mark 2:27 why God modeled this for us. He says,
“The Sabbath was made to meet the needs of people, and not people to meet the requirements of the Sabbath. . .”
God knows His creation. He knows you. He designed you to take breaks, re-energize, and enjoy time doing what you love.
The question is, Do you trust God enough with your business to take that Sabbath?
I’m talking about a 24-hour shutdown. This is what I decided to do many years ago. And, at first, it was hard but I learned to turn off my computer and not pay attention to any messages, replies, dings, or alerts that are business related.
I plan activities for Sabbath that I know refresh and restore me. And I get to look forward to them all week long. I have another resource for you to get started here too. Check out the Sabbath Ideas download and get some ideas to start this week!
Do you see how this is a GREAT place to start? You are meeting with God, getting to know Him by studying His Word, prayer and fasting.
Give God the best time of your day
The second thing to do in the formula is to Pray for your business.
Charles Spurgeon said, “You learn to pray by praying.”
Many of us don’t feel we are good ‘prayers.’ I know I used to feel this way. I got bored easily and didn’t know WHAT to pray about. So here is the secret. . . pray about everything.
I keep a chronological journal. Everything I am thinking about, anxious about, and wondering about goes in the journal. Each page has space for worship, gratitude to God, and prayers for family and friends. I have business ideas brewing in its pages, as well as praises for the things that are answered.
I am a firm believer in giving God your best time of day. Since God is my CEO, the time I use to pray, meditate, and even think are all rolled into one. Not only do I grow closer to God, but prayer, meditation, and thinking really help me clarify goals and next steps for my business.
Research shows us that prayer is a powerful tool for:
- making you a nicer person
- increasing your ability to forgive
- increasing trust; and
- offsetting the negative effects of stress
This also gives you a bigger capacity to problem solve and opens you up for more creative brainstorming.
You may think that you can’t pray or it’s boring. Maybe you feel that you don’t know how or you can’t concentrate for long enough. The answer is learning how to pray in the way God designed you. To connect with Him in a way that works for you. Some techniques I have taught my clients are:
Using a technique that works for you means having a way to focus on God. Prayer and fasting are really about talking to and listening to God. When we get alone, with a method that works for each of us, we open ourselves to actual communication with the Father about every part of our lives, including business.
Example of fasting from the Bible
The third thing to do in the formula is to Fast. My understanding of prayer and fasting is that it is something we should do regularly to show our dependence on God.
Jesus’ words in Matthew 6:16 were, “when you fast,” not if you fast. It is part of our spiritual growth.
And the best example of Fasting for me from the Bible is that of Esther.
Example of fasting from the Bible
If you remember the crisis point in Esther’s story, then you know she had a crucial decision to make about how to approach the king to request a favor from Him that would save her people.
I love this part of her story. . . Esther knows that to have any chance of saving her people, she needs to be prepared. So, she calls her team (her ladies in waiting) to fast and pray with her.
She calls for the entire Jewish population to pray and fast with her. She knows God has called her to do this, and she realizes her need for Him to help her accomplish the task.
You can feel the shift in her purpose and motivation for being in the palace. This is the same shift we each need to understand: our purpose and motivation for doing business are to demonstrate God.
Esther is triumphant in her request to the king, and the people defend themselves, the bad guy is defeated, and life goes on.
Have you ever had a critical decision to make? This is an area where fasting can be applied.
My prayer and fasting example
I’ll admit that I have not made fasting the weekly habit I want it to be, but I set time aside every quarter to fast. I call it a Quiet Retreat.
This is also my quarterly strategy meeting with God, the CEO, and is one of my favorite things to do each quarter.
I get alone with God for an entire day at a retreat center with terrible Wi-Fi! I’ll rent a small room for the day, forget lunch, and talk to no one. It is a silent retreat.
It lasts for about 6 hours. AND it is fabulous.
Do you know how long it takes to really calm, decompress, and even listen to your thoughts? I know it takes me the first two hours of my retreat just to slow down.
This is a worship time for me. I do my Bible study, journal my prayers, and go out in nature (there are many trails at the retreat center). I feel the aloneness. For the second two hours, I focus on planning which is my time to be strategic and plan for the coming quarter—starting with a brain dump. I use my sticky notes to get everything out of my head.
A time to have God’s direction
Proverbs 16:9 says A man’s heart plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. This is my time to have God direct my steps. I trust that the ideas that are coming to me are the best. I stay aligned with God by trusting Him for the results.
The last two hours really come down to praying through the plans. Again, I go to my journal, write the plan, and pray over each piece. I have found that reminding myself of what God expects (check out all of Proverbs 16) by reading through His Word keeps me rooted.
The fasting component of the day is very interesting. Sometimes, I feel like I’m not going to make it until the end of the day, and at other times it doesn’t bother me.
The purpose of prayer and fasting
There is purpose in prayer and fasting. First, though, it’s NOT so you can manipulate God. It must always center on God, Worship. Second, it reveals the things in your life that control you. It is interesting how many things come up in fasting: anger, pride, jealousy, and fear. . . outside of trying to make a decision.
These negative things are the things to work through in fasting so that you are being transformed more into Christ’s image and find more satisfaction in following God. That is one of the main reasons I want to do it more consistently.
Don’t just think that fasting means food. Once God has revealed the things controlling you, there may be many types of fasts He prompts you to do. Fasting helps to keep your life in balance.
Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 6:12 that, “all things are lawful . . ., but I will not be enslaved by anything.” Therefore, seek God diligently and expect Him to show up.
I have created a new tool to help you get started in prayer and fasting. It gives you step-by-step instructions to get started slowly. Just know this, I am using it too.
Using prayer and fasting to worship God
Remember the formula. . . God + Prayer + Fasting = Business ideas + Direction + Satisfaction
- Put God first by meeting with Him each day.
- Pray through all aspects of your life, including your business.
- Make Fasting a part of your decisions making process.
Ultimately it is your Faith-life that influences the rest of your life. As a result, your business will be better when you make God and His ways the priority.