Out on a limb: Why you should pray for your clients

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Okay, I’m going a bit out on a limb today. And I hope you will stick with me whatever your spiritual leanings, because this article can prevent burnout, improve client results, and increase your confidence and motivation. And, as you’ll see, it isn’t nearly as woo-woo as you might think.
First, let me say that having clients is not all roses. You work hard to attract and serve them, and then you are confronted with the reality of working with them from day to day. And that brings certain challenges that you won’t see talked about in most self-employment circles.
Challenges like becoming so invested in them that you start leaking energy. Feeling entangled. Even becoming co-dependent. Eventually, you can burn-out and feel disconnected.
Then there is the challenge of helping clients get the results they came to you for. How can you know your work is good enough? How can you help them be better partners in the work? (Because you can’t do it by yourself, you know.)
And finally, how do you maintain your motivation and confidence through the ups and downs of everyday life?
I’m here to tell you that prayer and meditation can help you meet every one of these challenges.
This is a no woo-woo zone
I’ve had my share of non-ordinary experiences. I rely on alternate ways of knowing, like intuition, sensing into the environment, and synchronicity. And I pray for all my clients. But I’m impatient when woo-woo is presented without a foundation in science.
And there is scientific evidence for the effectiveness of both meditation and prayer.
Research has shown that meditation causes beneficial changes in your brain and body. It can entrain your brain and heart, bringing peace, heightened awareness, and the ability to think more clearly when under pressure. It lowers blood pressure and improves respiration. It reduces cortisol levels. (Cortisol is a chemical released by your body under stress. High levels are physically and emotionally depleting.)
Meditation is a good thing.
Prayer is practical

Larry Dossey has pioneered esearch into the effectiveness of intentional prayer. It appears that prayer operates even over a distance to speed physical healing and ease emotional pain.
There’s another practical side to prayer that makes it indispensable to me. When you pray, you are letting go of the idea that you are solely responsible for outcomes. You are loosening the reins of attachment. This allows creative possibilities to enter the mind that had been hyper-focused on a problem.
So prayer, too, is a good thing.
You don’t need to be religious to meditate or pray
While both meditation and prayer are keystones of the world’s wisdom traditions, you don’t have to belong to any particular church or sect to use them. All you have to do is take action, and it is very simple to begin.
Begin meditating by sitting still
You can begin to meditate by simply sitting still and in silence for 5 minutes. Set a timer. Your thoughts are likely to be all over the place. That’s okay. When you notice you are thinking, turn your attention to your breath. Repeat.
If you practice daily, you’ll gradually find that your mind is quieter. Your body more quickly returns to calm when stressed. You’ll ride the ups and downs of life more skillfully.
Naturally, there is lots more you can do to deepen your practice. Just Google “meditation, beginner,” and you’ll find lots of help.
Begin praying by setting an intention
A simple way to pray is to dedicate your day to the well being of a specific person or group of persons. Become quiet. Think of the person or persons (or cause, if you prefer) that you would like to support. Offer up a simple prayer dedicating your work to that. It may take you only moments.
You don’t need to know to what or whom you are praying. You don’t need to believe in this. Just do it.
Again, there is a lot more you can learn to deepen your prayer practice. What I want for you today is the realization that you can begin with these bare essentials. And beginning makes all the difference.
What’s your experience?
Please share your experience with meditation and prayer in the comments!
Photo credit: wadem via Flickr
Under a Creative Commons License

26 Comments

  1. Merry

    I appreciate your sharing this aspect of business! I think of prayer as a way of being clear, grounded, present and in my body. When I don’t pray, I can feel the difference – I feel scattered; I’m easily pushed off in random directions; I’m more reactive and more anxious. Prayer connects me with a larger perspective. I really like what you said, Molly, about reminding us it’s not all up to us – we have help. This is a wonderful post. Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Billy Delaney

    Molly Billy here.
    Liked the article enough to comment.
    I have been praying for 35 years.
    Multitude of practical and demonstrable evidence to the benefits of praying.
    Beginning to realize that customers and businesses are just about terrified of addressing the spiritual nature of living.
    PS I have not been idle and specific steps are being taken so that I will launch by the Fall.
    New name: The Small Business Bootstrapper.com
    again I thank you Molly.
    I bet you are surprised by the response you are given.
    Billy

    Reply
  3. Laurie

    Hi Molly,
    I have been following your newsletter for some time now, but this post called out to me for comment. I grew up Catholic, and gave up praying for quite a long time when I gave up the dogma of my religion. I missed the connection with a spiritual dimension to life, and slowly found my way back to a form of prayer by giving daily gratitudes and setting intentions. I think the science behind the Law of Attraction (not the woo woo stuff) supports your idea that we are all connected and prayers/intentions/positive vibrations can have an impact on others’ lives. Thanks so much for all you contribute.
    Kind regards,
    Laurie

    Reply
  4. fantasiox

    Without being esoteric or religious, I pray everyday. Since I´ve read a book about the unconsciousness by Murphy some 10 years back, and I call it like what he says:”a positive affirmation or selfpolarisation” Its just one little sentence but I can change its subject to the whole world , yes its so simple itss that versatile:” The good will find its way to…” While reading your post about that matter, its actually perfectly what I practice everyday, the positive prayers on people that are important to me comes back in one or the other way, its astounding how we are linked to each other, isn´t it?

    Reply
  5. Linda J. Alexander

    Praying is the cornerstone of civilization. As a human race, we’ve done it since the beginning of time … whether praying to nature, to a god, to gods, to God, or the Greater Good. It IS mystical as to why it works but, indeed, it works. And the “woo-woo” aspect is unnecessary but that needs to be mentioned only because, for whatever reason, the idea of “putting your intentions” out there is frightening, probably because it IS mystical.
    My spirituality’s rooted in conventional Christian belief combined w/independent Christian belief & it’s 2nd nature to me. I pray every day. As a matter of fact, I pray all day … in nasty traffic, having a difficult discussion, hearing bad news, when happy for someone else’s triumph or when I’ve been blessed myself.
    And I pray at work, for those I work with & for, basically because they’re humans trying to get thru this thing called life as am I, & we all need help now & then.
    I can only wholeheartedly agree–pray for your clients, & you end up not only praying for them, but also for yourself. You’ll always feel so much better.

    Reply
  6. Linda Carole

    Hi Molly,
    I really appreciated what you had to say this time. It’s not woo-woo at all…it’s just necessary.
    Thanks for all the really good info you work to put out each newsletter.

    Reply
  7. Debra Huron

    Dear Molly, Thank you for sharing your wisdom with us.
    Thank you for being a voice of sanity in a sometimes crazy world.
    You are making a difference to all of us who subscribe to your e-zine, listen to your teleseminars, buy your books.
    I want to say that I really appreciate your honesty and your courage to talk about prayer and its value in all aspects of life. Connecting to a divine source, however we define that source, is what prayer is all about.
    And to quote Yogi Bhajan, when we WORRY, we are praying for what we don’t want. This has helped me to shift from worry to something much more positive. We are what we think!
    many blessings to you, Debra

    Reply
  8. jeff Crawford

    Molly
    This is a great thought and intention. So not to get to woo woo, I received and email from Unity.FM today and so I had some time and went there and looked at the daily word. Here is the the title:Tuesday, July 27, 2010
    PRAY FOR OTHERS
    As I pray for others, I see them in the flow of divine love.
    Hard to ignore something like that.
    thanks for reminding me of being a part of something greater than me!
    In peace
    Jeff

    Reply
  9. joanna

    This is great! I “pray” and meditate by writing in my journal. I never thought to write to or for my clients. Today I will.
    Thank you!
    joanna

    Reply
  10. Molly Gordon

    What a sweet gift to find these comments today! Thank you for sharing your experiences of prayer. What goes around does, indeed, come around.

    Reply
  11. J.S. Epperson

    I am non-religious and I pray everyday: I pray gratefully for clients that are easy and I pray for compassion and peace with those who seem a challenge to me. Thanks for such a mindful post!

    Reply
  12. Lisa Pasbjerg

    Hey, Molly!
    Thanks for going “out on a limb” with this one.
    I pray all the time for my clients,(although I don’t always share this with them if I think it might made them uncomfortable.) I also pray frequently before I meet with them: that I will be exactly what they need today and, that I will “channel” this “exactly what they need” to them. I believe that it really effects my work with them. Even though I do primarily executive coaching, I think anytime someone intrusts you with their deepest hopes and fears, it is holy work, and I treat it as such. Keep up the great conversations!

    Reply
  13. Tammy

    Well Molly, I think you have struck a chord here! In a positive way for certain.
    Yes, I pray for my clients. I pray for my day. I praise for them both too. The clarity of direction that comes from praying give me the peace and balance that keeps me moving forward. When I am out of sync, I know the first thing to check in on, and often it’s when I have gotten “too busy” to devote time to prayer. Easy course correction there.
    In addition to the foundational element of Prayer for all things in life and business, the spoken word is also key. When we use words that are powerful in nature, affirming our direction, we leave no room for the negativity to take over. As I have said many times, “words are powerful, choose them and use them wisely.”

    Reply
  14. Fabeku Fatunmise

    I’m glad you posted this Molly.
    I’m pretty allergic to the woo too, and I still pray and do some meditation-ey thing every single day.
    Drumming in the morning is a mix of meditation and prayer for me. And it makes such a difference in my day, in how I feel, in my business and in how much I’m able to give to the people who work with me.
    Thanks for going out on a limb. Awesome!

    Reply
  15. Jennifer Manlowe

    Perfect timing for this reminder, Molly. Sometimes I wake up (by turning off my iPhone alarm) and forget to turn back to any kind of mindfulness, let alone rekindle my 20-year practice of sitting (breathing) meditation. Instead, I STAY on the iPhone and check (and respond to) messages, texts, Facebook, weather, news, action items, etc.
    Talk about revealing one’s Higher Power — there are no atheists online!
    What we give our attention to the most tends to be what we think/believe will address our needs and wants… YIKES!
    Bless you and THANK YOU for your guts. And, as Meister Eckhart says, “The one and only prayer you cannot get wrong is THANK YOU.”
    P.S. I say to us all, from this point forward, let’s pull the word “Woo-Woo” off the table — it’s not necessary to have this caveat when we know all of us our complex human beings, right? We all believe in and value something that is absurd or even embarrassing to mention to someone else. No need to say, “We’re not like THOSE people.”

    Reply
  16. Susan

    Dear Molly,
    Thank you for posting this. Short, concise, and no nonsense.
    rock on.

    Reply
  17. Desney

    Dear Molly,
    Australia is not such an overtly spiritual or religious country as the USA, to put your comments into my context.
    So it was wonderful to read this post from you, reminding me of the blessings that flow when we take the time to be quiet and to connect with the creative source. I begin and end each day with my hands pressed together, praying in gratitude for all the positives in my life. As I pray, the list of gratitudes expands, increasing the flow of blessings. I also pray for clients, for those I love, and for those who challenge me.
    Writing and qigong are my current meditation forms, but being alone in nature and simple sitting meditation are great too.
    Thank you, as always, for your honesty, your clarity and for having the courage to spread insight and light.
    Many blessings,
    Desney

    Reply
  18. David Amakobe

    Molly,
    You have scored again!
    In a world where we are taught to plan, execute and control without leaving anything to chance it is refreshing to learn that many people, do pray to their Maker! If truth be told, every successful persons knows that life if greater than them, they believe and trust in a power greater than them but many do not want to show their vulnerability.
    It is refreshing to know that we have consultants that are in touch with reality.
    I pray for my current and future clients, current and future projects. I am also thankful for past clients and projects. Being at peace with my past, accepting my present and looking forward to my future enables me to be stress-less.
    Be Prayfull,Be thankful, be accepting, be hopeful and be blessed.
    David

    Reply
  19. klsrivat

    Thank you Molly for sharing your thoughts and experiences.
    After reading your posts, I find peace and happiness in my work. I meditate and pray often.
    But so far, I have not prayed for my clients.
    Now I will do that.
    Thank you again for adding value to our lives.

    Reply
  20. Hattie Wolfe

    Thank you for this post, Molly. I appreciate your sincere thoughts and your clear words, always teaching, always inviting.
    I too pray and meditate, often using my journal or drum to give me focus. Yesterday, I’d done just that on the pages of my journal. A few hours later a call came through inviting me to teach my Sacred Voice class at a retreat day for nurses next Spring. During the conversation my caller expressed some hesitation. She wanted to be sure I understood the participants would not be comfortable with anything that sounded too much like a New Age technique. I offered that my intention with all of my students is to be a catalyst who moves them toward whatever healing and wholeness they need to be connected fully to their lives. She said that felt good to hear because they’d decided the theme of the retreat day was going to be healing and wholeness. I said a silent prayer of thanks for all the times my prayer when speaking in public has been, Pull from my mouth the words they are ready to hear. I, also, said a prayer of thanks for your work, Molly. Because a portion of my words came from following your instructions last week to form and practice an elevator speech about what I do. Wholeness was part of that speech.
    I would end by saying chance does favor the prepared mind, and prayer prepares us to take every chance and turn it around with our intentions.
    Hattie Wolfe

    Reply
  21. Molly Gordon

    What can I say? My heart is overflowing with gratitude for this response.
    For some time now I have been sensing a call to–something. Something not exactly different from what I have been doing, yet again, somehow new. And I’m finding that what wants to come forward is not new after all, but an ancient call to wake up in everything we do.
    And what is prayer if not the song of waking up?

    Reply
  22. sandi

    Thanks Molly and soon it won’t be considered woo woo but based in science!
    Department of Psychiatry, University of Ottawa, Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. … Research demonstrates that thought… and other manifestations of mind can alter the brain, sometimes in an enduring way.
    Meditation Effects on Cognitive Function and Cerebral Blood Flow In Subjects with Memory Loss: A Preliminary Study. Newberg AB, Wintering N, Khalsa DS, Roggenkamp H, Waldman MR. Division of Nuclear Medicine, Department of Radiology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA Center for Spirituality and the Mind, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
    This preliminary study determined if subjects with memory loss problems demonstrate changes in memory and cerebral blood flow (CBF) after a simple 8-week meditation program. …The meditation program resulted in significant increases in baseline CBF ratios in the [three rain cortices]. Scores on neuropsychological tests of verbal fluency… and logical memory showed improvements after training.
    Yoga Asana sessions increase brain GABA levels: a pilot study. Streeter CC, Jensen JE, Perlmutter RM, Cabral HJ, Tian H, Terhune DB, Ciraulo DA, Renshaw PF. Division of Psychiatry, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118, USA. streeter@bu.edu
    …This suggests that the practice of yoga should be explored as a treatment for disorders with low brain GABA levels such as depression and anxiety disorders.

    Reply
  23. Gwen

    Thank you for going out on that limb, Molly. I enjoy all your posts and writings in various venues — and your willingness to meld “practicality” with what is considered by most to be somewhat “out there” is SO inspiring and refreshing!

    Reply
  24. Meditation Guy

    Neat. I meditate most days and find that it’s a great way to relax.

    Reply
  25. Missy

    Molly, thank you for this. I’m only just learning how to bring my spiritual practice into my work with clients. I have a strong meditation practice but somehow forget all my training when it comes to work, and there’s a big burnout problem there. Praying for clients is a great suggestion. I’ll try it! 🙂

    Reply
  26. Jackie

    Thank you so much for this Molly. I grew up in the church but dispensed with prayer as i got older and moved away from religion. I have toyed with prayer over the years but wrestled with trying to understand who I am praying to. Your statement
    ‘You don’t need to be religious to meditate or pray’ has given me the green light to go ahead and try prayer once again. I already meditate and have quiet time daily. I will just add prayer to the routine. Somehow it feels just right to do so right now.
    Thank you.
    Jackie Josephs

    Reply

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