Is It Selfish To Pray For Success At Work?

“Dear Lord, I pray that You will help me be successful on my job today. Help me to make that sale [close that deal, get the promotion, earn the raise]. Bless me today. Amen.” All over the world today people at work are praying something similar to this. Does God notice? Is this a prayer God wants to answer?

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’ve been wondering if asking God to bless my sales efforts is praying a selfish prayer.

That well-known prayer by Jabez sounds very similar, doesn’t it? “Oh, that You would bless me and enlarge my territory!” This prayer must have pleased God because the verse ends with, “And God granted his request.”

In the life of Joseph, the phrase about his on-the-job success is repeated again and again. First in Potiphar’s house, and then in prison, and then in the royal court we see the phrase “Joseph prospered” (for those of you keeping track at home, that means Joseph was a success at the office). We don’t see Joseph praying for this success, but we see him walking in it nonetheless.

But here’s the key component: it’s all about your heart attitude. In other words, it’s all about how you intend to become successful and what you plan to do with your success.

Jabez wanted to be successful so he wouldn’t be a burden to anyone else. He asked God to give him success in a way that benefitted others. So, too, with Joseph: at every mention of Joseph’s success there is a corresponding phrase like, “The Lord was with him” or “The Lord gave him success in everything he did.”

When Jabez and Joseph were successful on the job, everyone around them knew it was because they did things God’s way. And everyone around them got to share in the blessings of their successes.

Do you want success on the job? Go ahead and pray for God to “enlarge your territory” or help you to “prosper.” Then do things God’s way, and be sure to give Him the credit for your success. I believe that God wants to give you more and more on-the-job success so that He is glorified, and so that others around you recognize God’s provision.

Keep praying for success. I’m praying that for myself and for you too.

4 Responses to “Is It Selfish To Pray For Success At Work?”

  1. Denise Combs Says:

    Oh boy! You had to know I would comment on this one. Matthew 6:33- But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things will be shall be added unto you. If you have a true Christian heart you will not want to keep prosperty to yourself. The church received their tax emempt status because they are to help people. This is why Jesus warned us about the rich man, the camel and the eye of a needle. We must always think of our motive! You can fool some of the people some of the time but never GOD! This is what I tell my children. You dont have to convince me, God is your judge. Get your motive straight, Seek him and He will take care of us. The bible mentions may times, he wants us to prosper. Prosper does not always mean money though (although I think he means that too) it can mean health and etc. The bible says also he wishes above all things we prosper and be in good health. ‘For I know the plans I have for you,” declares
    the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ Jeremiah 29:11. Well here I go rambling on. Sorry. Our God is a good God he loves us but he also allows the holy spirit to teach us to do the right things and his timing is the only way.
    Thanks pastor you always help me think.

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  2. Carla Brogden Says:

    Interesting topic isn’t it?
    Joyce Meyer is addressing excellence this week in her sermons and I have been convicted to make some changes. She is focusing on being excellent in our attitudes and behaviours as a step of obedience and faithfulness to God. She suggests and I think she is right on, that our “success” is not of our own doing or even our prayer to “bless me Lord” (see her other sermons on this) but rather that in EVERYTHING we do we are being obedient and faithful and following through on the little details. The success comes after that.

    For example, are you returning your grocery cart? Do you put the items you don’t want back on the correct shelf? Is your home neat and in order? Do you check your attitude before you head out the door? And the list goes on.

    The point is that when we pray for success or blessing we are doing it out of integrity and excellence in our everyday walk. God is not “against” us having income for with income we can bless others who do not have enough. He has told us to give “out of our abundance” as well as “out of our need.” How we obtain success or financial reward, or health or whatever we ask to be blessed with, is not because we pray for it but because of our heart attitude when we walk out the door, into the world, interact with our kids, spouse, co workers, etc. in ways that honor God. Then He is able to “give us our heart desire.” If I am to give as I have received then God is not “against” my receiving, He thought of it first!

    I am working on this attitude and behaviour thing since I am a “messy.” I have been convicted that if I don’t get my sorting and cleaning and painting done God will not bless my work efforts with success because I have not lived a life of integrity and order with what He has already blessed me! Wow.

    I will post more as God blesses!!!!

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  3. Dave August Says:

    Hello Craig, It’s been years since I’ve seen you, and I’m glad I came across this blog. This is a great topic.
    I must say I agree with some of the prior comments. Both Joyce Meyer and Benny Hinn have many great sermons and books regarding topics like this. The bottom line is attitude, and what’s in your heart. Sure, blessings come in other areas, not just financially. As children of God we are the head and not the tail, and we can do all things through Christ.
    Where I think many people miss it is that they need to realize that God is our ‘Daddy’ We can boldy go to our ‘Dad’ and talk to him about what is on our heart, our desires, our frustrations, our happy moments. Joyce Meyer has spoken allot on this where people tend to put God on a shelf, or they think they need to speak is holy church language to hopefully have God ‘Hear them’. God so much wants to have relationship with us, just like we as parents want relationship with our own kids. Everytime my daughters come to me for something, I don’t automatically give it them, as it may not be right, or in their best interest, but when I can, I bless them. God is the same way and has set the example for us. We are King’s kids and our Heavenly Daddy wants to bless us, it may not be God’s timing, he may have bigger plans, etc. Regardless, seeking the Lord through prayer in EVERY area is important.

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  4. Craig T. Owens Says:

    I seem to see a common thread here: in all of th comments on this post (both here and those commenting on Facebook and Twitter) the common word has been ATTITUDE.

    The difference between the pursuit of success being self-promoting or God-honoring is our attitude about success. Cool! Keep the comments coming…

    –CTO

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