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Pray for Job Seekers

Statistics are hard to pray about. I need to think about some specific person…

Prayer blogger Rick Hamlin
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It’s almost Labor Day weekend, and along with barbecues, corn on the cob, homemade ice cream and juicy tomatoes, I’m also thinking about those folks who are out of work and hunting, sometimes desperately, for a job.

Despite recent dips in the unemployment figures—sometimes because people have given up looking for work entirely—the numbers are too high. But statistics are hard to pray for and pray about. Too abstract. I need to picture or think about some specific person.

For instance, a friend from church who was miserable in her job kept hinting that her company was going to “make some changes,” and then didn’t even tell me that she was let go. I only found out by accident. I guess she felt too ashamed, too chagrined, too embarrassed. She certainly didn’t ask for prayers. All the more reason to remember her in prayer.

Being jobless can do a number on your self-esteem, your self-worth, your willingness to even get out of bed in the morning. Here are some phrases I hear: “I’ve sent out my resume to 400 places and have only gotten called for two interviews.” “I’ve been on unemployment for almost a year now but soon my benefits are running out.” “The only offer I’ve had is for a job that is at less than half of what I was earning. Our family can’t live on that.”

The hardest thing to deal with is hopelessness. What I pray for most for all those hunting for work is hope. God has made us hard-wired for hope. Hope gives you energy, joy, balance, purpose. Hope sees the light in the darkest tunnel. Hope is why joblessness is a spiritual problem as much as an economic one.

Just recently I got an email from a friend who was fired from her job almost two years ago. She’s my age or maybe a tad older, but heck, we don’t talk about people’s ages. She’s had to deal with all the biases in the workplace against older employees. She’s been diligently searching all the while and staying, to my amazement, upbeat. The heading on the email: “I’ve just been hired.” Wow, that was something to celebrate.

We don’t have any positions open at our office here, but as much as possible, I make myself available to have that conversation with someone who has been referred to me, who’s “just looking.” I can read their résumés, answer their questions about my work, but most importantly let them know they are valuable. We all are. We all have something to contribute.

Frederick Buechner once said, “The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” To anyone who’s in the midst of a job search, may you not give up. May you persevere. May you be filled with an abundance of hope. May the hungry world know how your deep gladness can serve it.

Happy Labor Day.

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