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ALL IN THE FAMILY

Prayer for family businesses

/ 05:24 AM December 19, 2014

Dear Jesus,

For two decades, you helped Your father Joseph in his carpentry business in Nazareth, absorbing his guidance. Together, You created works big and small, garnering a reputation as honest, responsible, and skillful craftsmen. With Mary Your mother caring for the family, You and Papa Joseph worked not just with talent, but also with love and devotion. During these quiet, hidden years, all of you forged strong and loving bonds with one another, which were to prove invaluable in Your ministry with Your heavenly Father.

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Guide us then, as a family, to work and to love the way that Your own family did. Watch over us as we work together to grow our business, which we do in your name. Counsel us to be honest, responsible, skillful, devoted, and wise stewards of the business. Whatever we have built, whatever we have worked for, whatever we have striven for, are always blessings because of your grace. Thank You.

Bless the founders of our business. Like Papa Joseph, may the founders guide the next generations and instill in them the values of hard work, perseverance, integrity, cooperation that have made the family business survive all these years. Grant them patience, Papa Joseph was patient with You, and help them to understand that success is not achieved overnight, but through committed training. Help them to realize that only through mistakes can young people grow and learn, and that with their unwavering support, their children and grandchildren can someday become owners and managers that they can be proud of.

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May the founders and elders recognize what genuine love entails, as they resist the temptation to spoil and indulge their children and grandchildren. Just as Papa Joseph and Mama Mary trained You to do chores around the house and in the workplace, may the founders expose the young generation early to the business, and give them valuable training whenever they can. Help them realize that love for children does not mean giving in to their every whim, but instructing them in Your ways, with care and sensibility.

Grant the elders wisdom, so that when the time comes, they will not be like the rich young man in your parable, holding on to wealth and power at the expense of their soul. May You keep watch as they prepare for a smooth succession, for they know that the ultimate expression of love is not empty verbal promises, but guidance and training for the younger generation, followed by trust and faith when the transition arrives.

Bless the family executives and managers in our business. Just as it is not easy for You to follow in the footsteps of Papa Joseph, so it is not easy for the second, third, succeeding generations to grow the business. As the company grows, so do the workforce, and with them, the inevitable conflicts. Teach the executives to work together despite differences of opinion and personality, and to not let the sun come down without resolving emotional problems with one another.

Lord, you are peace itself. Grant our company leaders the peace of mind and heart that comes from doing their best and doing what is right. But sometimes keeping the peace may not be in the family’s best interests.

So grant our leaders also courage and wisdom, because telling the truth and being honest with one another are often hard. But just as you had no choice but to drive the moneychangers out of the temple, sometimes family members need the courage and strength to confront one another over issues that need to be addressed. Instead of keeping resentments that fester and wound, family members need to regularly communicate openly and lovingly with each other, with patience, forbearance and care.

Bless our young ones, to whom the family business will eventually be entrusted. Help them to recognize and to take pride in their legacy, so someday, they will handle it like the treasure that it is. Instill in them the lessons in your parable of the talents, so that instead of wasting their time and efforts in mindless entertainment and pleasure, guide them to make the most of the resources that they have been fortunate enough to receive. Watch over them in school, as they find learning challenging and enjoyable, and mold themselves into the people we know they can be and that You want them to be. Watch over them in play, as they cooperate with others in sports, drama, other activities, to be gracious always, winners and losers both.

Bestow upon our young ones the gift of resilience. Life is difficult, and failures are part of our world. When our young ones fail, let them not crumble under depression or anger, but instead rise again with dignity, courage, and the determination to do better. Instead of blaming others for their failures, let them have the discernment to look inside themselves and realize what they need to change or improve.

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Grant our young ones the humility to learn from their elders. Instead of tuning out or talking back to their parents, teachers, or business advisers, may our young ones recognize the wealth of experience that their mentors possess, and may they heed their counsel, even if given seventy times seven times.

In this holy season, the most valuable gifts are not material ones, but rather, our presence. Instead of expensive gadgets and toys, let our gifts be a willing ear, temperate lips, and an open heart. Help us remember that first and foremost, our family is our top priority, and if needed, we will sacrifice financial gain to keep our family together.

Help us realize that “whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men” (Colossians 3:23). Amen.

Next week: The daughter of a family business icon comes into her own

Queena N. Lee-Chua is on the board of the Ateneo de Manila University’s Family Business Development Center. Get her book “Successful Family Businesses” at the University Press (email [email protected]) E-mail the author at [email protected]

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