Monday, October 19, 2009

Ganging Up in Prayer

So many friends, acquaintances, church members, and bloggers have been praying for Nikolina, Shane, and the whole Mahlou family that God must feel like people are ganging up on Him. Many thanks to everyone for those prayers! The Mahlou family is once again not only emerging from the muck but also being washed off and cleaned up. We are almost presentable now.

Thinking about this reminded me about how a colleague and I ganged up in prayer on a senior boss a few years ago, resulting in something very strange (well, not really so strange if one knows the power of prayer) happening at our senior staff meetings. It used to be that the division directors hated gathering together with our boss's boss because he would berate them publicly when production was behind, customer satisfaction was low, or product quality was questionable. Instead of working together to identify and fix the problem, he would verbally abuse the director of the responsible division. Two of the four division directors quit within six months of my arrival. (It had nothing to do with my arrival; they had simply been around longer and were tired of the abuse.) A third talked of quitting. That would leave only me still in place from among the four of us who were on board at the time that I arrived, and I had been there only a few months.

Oddly, I was never berated or otherwise abused. (Moreover, a few weeks ago, on a business trip, I ran into this big boss, and he was genuinely happy to see me.) But, maybe it was not odd at all. God tends to protect me. I don't know why. I guess it has to do with His spoiling me (which I do not take for granted but I do love it).

Maybe it also had to do with prayer. I prayed often for this particular person because he often gave me new reason to pray.

When my former employee was promoted to being my colleague, replacing the third director who did quit, I told him that every time the big boss started turning red, a sign that he was about to sling verbal muck at someone, I would say a silent prayer, asking God to calm him and bring him a sense of peace; always the red would turn back to flesh color and his words would be tempered. Knowing that, my new colleague began to do the same, and we both noticed that meetings became more peaceful and productive. Soon everyone was talking about how the big boss had changed, how much more calm and respectful he had become, and how much easier it now was to attend his meetings.

Maybe all that happened was that our prayers visibly calmed the two of us and that calm spread to others, including the big boss, who sensed a gentling reaction from us. Or maybe God reached straight down into this gruff man's pounding heart or irritated psyche. I do not pretend to understand how God answers prayer. I just know that God does.