Unemployment is often the topic of desperate prayer during economic hard times. In the Bible, King Hezekiah gives us a good model of how to pray when we find ourselves in desperate situations.
How to do this prayer practice
My wife and I needed deliverance from a bad economic financial situation of unemployment. In 2007, we found ourselves without jobs with no income coming in but savings and income for retirement only. We watched month by month the small income dwindle. Neither I nor my wife could find any employment. This went on for nine months. We watched our bank account go to zero and even in the minus category and then God provided a job for me and later on for my wife. Here’s how prayer helped us through.
1. Give God your helplessness.
Our desperate life needs sometimes more than overwhelm us. They can pulverize us spiritually and emotionally if we allow them. In the Bible, King Hezekiah gives us a blueprint of how to humble ourselves in prayer and admit we absolutely cannot find a solution for “weathering these storms.” The Bible records how Hezekiah laid a threatening letter from his enemies before God in prayer in the Temple. (Isaiah 37)
Hezekiah, the King of Judah faced multiple crisis situations during his reign as King. Things were very bad. Jerusalem was facing possible destruction by the Assyrian Army. Sennacherib, the Assyrian King, boasts that it would be very easy to take it over. No one would help Judah. In fact, Sennacherib sent out his spokesman Rabshakeh his general assistant with a great army to threaten and humiliate the residents of Jerusalem and King Hezekiah.
Assyria was the most powerful nation and army in the world at this time. The Northern Kingdom of Samaria, or Israel had already been conquered during the time of Hezekiah in 722 B.C. So the threat was not to be laughed at by Judah. Hezekiah knew it could easily happen to them.
Hezekiah and Judah humbled themselves, grieved over their sins, repented, and requested God’s assistance. Hezekiah went to the temple and laid down the threatening letter before God in prayer. (Isaiah 37:14) Here is the ending of his prayer, “Now, O Lord our God, deliver us from his hand, so that all kingdoms on earth may know that you alone, O Lord, are God.” (Isaiah 37:20)
Later Isaiah the prophet gave an encouraging prophecy to Hezekiah. The Assyrians will not win, neither will they approach Jerusalem. The Angel of the Lord was sent out to destroy 185,000 of the Assyrian troops and the Assyrian King went back home to Ninevah to face his own assassination at the hand of two of his sons. (Isaiah 37:36-38.)
From the Bible we learn that in our times of great need, the answer comes through throwing ourselves upon the mercy of God and casting all of our cares upon Him because He cares for us. (I Peter 5:7)
2. Surrender yourself to God in prayer.
I’m a member of the clergy and our financial and career crisis struck us when our time at our current church came to an end. I began to search for other opportunities to change careers–thinking I should teach religion at a college or some educational institution. I had an important interview with a college in another state. The position went to another person.
We moved home and no jobs. We moved to another state to live with my wife’s brother. Again, no jobs.
The unemployment went on month after month. We could not find jobs. We used all my retirement savings to live off of and to pay bills. After a while I began to see that part of the problem was misreading God’s plan for me and my family. I wanted to leave my career as a pastor. God did not want that. When I submitted myself to God once again, He began to show us His opportunities
During this financial crisis which was one of the biggest trials of our lives, I had to finally say, “God, you know what is best, I give it to you, and I’ll trust you whether we pay bills or not.” Finally, I put resumes out to enter the pastorate again. Within four months, I received a Call to pastor another church.
When we drop to our knees in humility, confess any sins, and call upon the mercy of God to intervene as Nehemiah did, we must accept whatever God’s Will is or whatever it reveals in the future.
3. Pray for faith, endurance and wisdom
Even after I received a job, we still faced further financial challenges. Like many families today, we needed the incomes of both husband and wife to support our family and meet our bills. My wife who has a social services background went through a year of unemployment after we moved to a new state when I took a position as pastor of new church.
How did we get through having only one income for that length of time? It took prayer, patience, cutting back on spending, and looking for other sources of income. We finally decided to see if my wife could draw unemployment benefits from a different state from a previous job. She qualified and drew a small sum each week until she found employment. This helped greatly.
4. Use prayer to deal with stress and keep a positive attitude.
Stress and self-esteem are emotional issues that come up when faced with financial crisis. The longer one remains unemployed it creates a stress that envelops you. You begin to doubt yourself and your abilities. You begin to think that no one wants you for a job. This affects ones self-esteem. Prayer is essential in times such as this.
One must not give up or give in to the negative circumstances or perceived outcome. Endurance is key to survival. Faith is critical. Trust in God’s nature and character is a must. It is God’s Will to take care of His children ultimately. Trials and storms will come. Endure them and God will come through for you.
My Personal Experiences
I learned some very important lessons. God will provide in the hard times. But, we must get with His program. Sometimes we forget to ask God where He wants us to be. Where does He want us to go? We must give up our agenda and exchange it for His. This is surrender to His will.
This type of praying involves humility, repentance and surrendering yourself to God’s mercy.
Copyright 2011 Joe Hethcoat