“O Lord, I pray, please let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant, and to the prayer of Your servants who desire to fear Your name; and let Your servant prosper this day, I pray, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man.” For I was the king’s cupbearer.” Nehemiah 1:11
Who are the people that most directly influence your life?
We quickly begin to list family members: husband, wife, parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, children and so on. After we’ve exhausted enumerating how our families have influenced our lives we might go on to name specific teachers, or pastors. It’s only toward the bottom of the list that we begin to think about and add to the list employers and supervisors at work but it occurs to me that, on a day to day basis, there are few people who have the ability to directly impact a person’s life more than your boss.
Your boss has tremendous influence in setting the atmosphere of your work environment. Your boss has final say over when you’re scheduled to work and the specific tasks you’ll perform. Your boss determines what the standard is for the evaluation of your work, the frequency with which you’ll be evaluated, and the spirit with which the evaluations will be conducted. Usually your boss has discretionary powers to decide whether or not you’ll continue as an employee.
Certainly you boss isn’t the only factor influencing your day to day life but it’s completely fair to say that he or she is consistently one of the stronger influences.
Nehemiah’s boss, when compared to most of ours, had even greater influence. Nehemiah directly served the king of Persia as his cupbearer. His responsibility was to prepared, serve, and ensure the safety of whatever the king drank. Sometimes this meant taste testing potentially contaminated beverages.
But now God’s laying on Nehemiah’s heart the desire to do something to change the situation in far away Jerusalem and the only way forward requires that his boss, the king, agree to allowing Nehemiah to leave his duties at the court. Nehemiah has no way of anticipating how such a request might be taken. Things could go well, things might turn disastrous.
So Nehemiah added to his prayer of confession a prayer for God to influence and prepare the heart of the king to receive his request and grant him permission to leave.
Do you pray for your boss? He or she might not be king of an empire but they certainly have a great deal of power in your life. Their influence will extend to affect you home and family. Their influence will extend into your work for God and the church. To a great degree your day to day happiness is influenced by your boss. You should pray for them.
Pray that their work would go well, that their homes would be harmonious, that their health would be good, and that their employees would be industrious. Like Nehemiah, pray that they”ll be merciful and that they’ll cooperate as you strive to follow both their wishes and the directives of God.