Hearing “You are fired” or “We are laying off personnel” can be the hardest words for a person to hear in life. However, it does not have to be the end of the world. It can actually be the beginning of a new life for you. Still it is important to face the realities of life in practical ways. The following are some guidelines on how to pray for someone (or yourself) who lost a job and has not yet found something else. While giving these guidelines, we realise that there are no quick solutions to this sensitive and often painful situation.
1. Acceptance. Give them time to adjust to the fact that they have lost their job. The shock and trauma usually hit home only a few days after they heard they lost their job.
Prayer: Cover them in prayer in the days and weeks after getting the news of losing their job. Pray for God’s protection over their hearts and minds and that they would take every thought captive in obedience to Jesus Christ (2 Cor.10:4-5). Ask that they will experience God’s love and power and have a sound mind (2 Tim.1:7). Pray that they will be honest about their feelings and able to explain to their families what happened, how it might influence their immediate circumstances and not hide the truth from them. Pray that their families will be supportive.
2. Evaluate. It is important for them to evaluate, as unemotionally as possible, the facts of the situation they find themselves in. What are their monthly responsibilities, etc.? They might experience feelings of worthlessness regardless of their true capabilities, qualifications and output they delivered.
Prayer: Pray for them to be able to do a realistic evaluation. Ask for God to show them their true worth in His eyes. Pray for their protection against the fiery darts of the enemy (Eph.6:10-16) and that they will trust in God despite the circumstances of the moment. God is never surprised when something like this happens. Pray that they will spend time with God and be able to hear His voice on the purpose and plans of His heart for them; that He has hope and a future in store for them (Jer.29:11). Pray that they would trust God to do this.
3. Put together a CV/business plan, or consider further study. After assessing the current situation of unemployment and listening to God’s voice and plan, it is important for them to write down what He is saying and then begin to walk the road He shows them. They need to keep learning and studying to stay in touch with what is happening in the world.
Prayer: Pray for them to be able to hear God’s voice during this time. Ask for friends to pray with them on a regular basis, who will also encourage them in God’s plans for their lives. Also ask for wisdom on how to better equip themselves through further study. Pray that they will not become involved in money-making schemes or anything requiring large sums of money that may cause unnecessary debts. Ask that God will protect them and arrange for them to meet with those people He wants to connect them to. When they consider to start their own business, pray for them for wisdom and to tread carefully in spending money to start their business. Encourage them to also get professional advice.
4. Think along entrepreneurial lines: Do not just look for a regular job where you are sure of a salary. Think also of starting something totally new.
Prayer: Ask the Lord for His creative Spirit to guide them. Ask that they do not give up after one or two efforts. It normally takes 3.8 efforts on average to have some success. They must persevere, pray and seek God’s guidance and not listen to people’s negative remarks. They must trust God and move forward.
5. Pension/lump sum payouts. Often, when someone is laid off, companies pay out the person’s pension and two or three months’ salary.
Prayer: Do not inquire about their personal matters if they do not tell you. More importantly, do not tell others private information you have been told. Pray for them to spend their money wisely and immediately pay off any outstanding debt, so they will not have the worry of monthly payments on their minds. Also pray that they will consider investing some of the money wisely and not spend everything at once or blow it on quick-rich schemes. Ask the Lord for favour so that they will receive money owed to them when leaving the company, and consequently not have outstanding accounts or bad debt.
6. Quality time. They need to work on relationships that are important such as relationships with their spouse, children and family.
Prayer: Pray that they will not withdraw from healthy personal relationships. Ask God to help them respond to and embrace the love and friendship of friends and family without feeling suspicious of their intentions. Continue to ask God to connect them with good friends who will pray with them on a regular basis. Pray also that they would never consider suicide.
7. Right decisions. When invited for an interview, they need to be ready and willing to do things differently.
Prayer: Pray for courage and self-confidence for them as they go for interviews, as being laid off does influence your self-esteem whether inwardly or outwardly. Ask that they will be at peace with the outcome of their interviews and continue to trust God for the right position in the right circumstances. E.g. send a SMS to friends, asking them to pray for the interview.
8. The family. Family members feel sorry for the parent who lost a job. Children might retreat, feel angry or ashamed when this happens. A spouse will definitely feel the responsibility to carry the family emotionally and financially if possible. This might once more influence the self-worth of the spouse who lost his or her job.
Prayer: Pray for each family member in families where one parent lost their job. Especially if couples are divorced and it has an influence on paying monthly allowances and school fees for the children. Ask the Lord to show you how to reach out to them in practical ways without letting them think you feel sorry for them. Just be their friend, listen to their stories and apart from praying for them, take time and opportunity to pray with them, OFTEN!!!
9. Celebrate. There will come a time again that they find a job, or start a business and get back on track. Make sure to make a special occasion of it, giving thanks to the Lord for carrying them through and for answering so many prayers!