Jacques rarely works. He readily agrees to Martine, his wife, providing for the household needs while he tries to pursue his dream. The problem is that Martine struggles with carrying the entire financial burden of the family on her shoulders alone, and has been doing so forever. The fact is that Jacques has been pursuing his dream for seventeen years without any concrete results. I believe that fear is actually at the root of Jacques’ inactivity. If he fails to secure his dream job, Jacques is afraid of ending up with a job he hates for the rest of his days.

Marc, on the other hand, works himself to the bone. He doesn’t know how to rest or enjoy the fruit of his labor. He rarely spends time with his family, and his teenage children are on the brink of adulthood. He doesn’t work so hard out of necessity, but out of fear. He fears that if he stops, he will have little value in the eyes of others as well as his own.

These are extreme examples of the relationship a man can have with his work. On one hand, laziness, avoiding work out of selfishness, fear, lack of self-confidence, depression, or fear of the future. God says of the lazy:

The door turns on its hinges, and the lazy man on his bed” (Proverbs 26:14).

Drowsiness clothes a man with rags” (Proverbs 23:21).

The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns” (Proverbs 15:19).

The desire of the lazy man kills him, for his hands refuse to labor” (Proverbs 21:25).

In other words, a lazy person will never achieve anything, will never have anything, will have to walk a difficult road, and will ultimately be destroyed. The other extreme is the slavery of work to the point of making it a drug. It then becomes an obsession to the exclusion of everything else, to the point of losing one’s life. God says of such a man:

So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; it takes away the life of its owners” (Proverbs 1:19).

Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done and on the labor in which I had toiled; and indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 2:11).

In other words, becoming enslaved to one’s work only wears us out and makes no sense. Neither of these extremes is a source of happiness or satisfaction. Only a perfect balance between the two, which only God can help a man find, will bring that quality. Interestingly, it is the same reason that can drive a man toward either of these extremes. I mean fear.

A man’s sense of identity is often closely tied to his work. He needs to be appreciated and to be a winner; work is often the means he uses to achieve both of these goals. He is afraid at the thought of not achieving either.

If he does work that makes him feel belittled, he feels devalued as a person. If his work doesn’t go well, he feels like a loser. God recognizes the fact that work is a source of satisfaction for man. Scripture goes so far as to say:

And also that every man should eat and drink and enjoy the good of all his labor—it is the gift of God” (Ecclesiastes 3:13).

The fact that so many men are dissatisfied in their work comes not so much from the nature of their work but rather from whether or not they have found the meaning of their life. A man who hasn’t found this meaning may end up working hard and long for so little reward that he sees no glimmer of hope in the future. He sees nothing, in any case, that gives him a taste for living. If you add to this the specter of the thought of aging that can creep in, he may hear words in his head such as:

“You are worthless in the eyes of anyone… You are completely replaceable… You are no longer able to do what you used to do… You are too old to learn… You don’t have what it takes… Your life has no meaning anymore…”

This is a dangerous position for a man. Bernard, his father, and his grandfather all struggled to make a living. In fact, it was only late in life that each of them discerned what they were supposed to do with their lives. They went from one job to another without clear direction.

Financially, they always had to juggle. They didn’t have parents who prayed for them to discover their gifts and talents, to discover God’s plan for their lives, for doors to open for them, and for them to become all that God had created them to be. Without God’s intervention, the story tends to repeat itself inexorably.

I’ve noticed that people who have had parents who faithfully prayed for them seem to find their place in life earlier. Their career may not “take off” right away, but they have a reason to be and a sense of destiny that propels them in the right direction. They don’t live in the frustration and emptiness that so many others experience. Many parents have plenty of plans for their children, but not enough seek to discover God’s plan for their lives.

When a child’s life is left to chance like this, he may wander long in search of his vocation. He shouldn’t have to go through doubt, fumbling, and despair in his quest to find his place in life. If your husband started his life without such a sense of direction, your prayers can change his life.

If your husband didn’t have parents who prayed for him, you can fill this void. You can pray for his eyes to open to see what God wants him to do, and for God to lead him. Your prayers will help him feel appreciated and encouraged enough to know that he has some worth, whatever he may be called to do. You can assure him that God has given him unique talents and abilities and that he has good things in store for him. Also, pray that God will reveal to him and open a door that no one can shut. Your prayers can open up a new path for him.

Even if your husband already has a successful career, nevertheless pray that God places or keeps him where he wills, and that he directs his path. My husband is a composer and music producer. He told me himself that he felt my prayers had kept him from working with bad clients. He’s never worked with anyone really difficult, weird, bad or malicious, which is a miracle in this business. He knew I was always praying that God would direct him to the right people…

This text is an extract from the book “The Power Of A Praying Wife” written by Stormie Omartian.

We invite you to read the following article “PRAYER FOR YOUR WORK“.

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