What would the world be like if bankers had prayed more? Some time ago I wrote an article for Crisis magazine called The Practical Power of Public Prayer, and I quoted correspondence I had received from an Englishman who had worked for many years in the City of London–the financial center. He said, “When I began in banking almost 40 years ago, the head of our Investment Banking division each morning gathered his staff together and began the day with a prayer! This division was responsible for investing the bank’s money. The prayer was not that they would make a ‘killing’ or rack up great profits for the bank. Rather it was that they would properly care for the bank’s assets and discharge their duties to their savers and shareholders responsibly and for the common good.”

The banker was, no doubt, a good solid Church of England layman. He was not a national leader leading the invocation at a civic event, but an ordinary layman with a simple faith who took his responsibilities seriously. He was courageous enough to lead his people in prayer and had enough faith to believe that his ordinary job was not only worthwhile, but had the capacity for great good if he, as in individual was an honest, hard working and Christian person.

Indeed his job (and his philosophy) was worthwhile. Putting aside the question of whether or not his prayer influenced the Almighty, the prayers influenced the people in the investment department. At the beginning of each day they re-assessed their reasons and questioned what they were about and realized that there was a moral dimension to their seemingly inconsequential jobs as bank clerks. Their superior leading them in prayer helped them to keep the filthy lucre they were dealing with in a proportionate place. If every Wall Street firm and every investment bank did the same every morning would we now be in financial meltdown? I doubt it.

Another benefit of such prayer is that it grants to all those who participate a new kind of dignity. The bankers who prayed with their division chief were thought worthy to pray with. The chief took them seriously. Furthermore, their jobs also suddenly had a new dimension of seriousness and dignity. They mattered and their jobs mattered, not only to their business boss, but also to the Big Boss. Think how society would change if every business started the day with prayer. What if the workers at Starbucks or Burger King or the local factory started their shift by praying with the boss? What if they prayed for each of their customers? what if they prayed for each other? Think of the benefits to the whole of society, for we cannot stay angry long with a colleague for whom we have prayed. We cannot cheat for long a boss with whom we have prayed. We cannot provide poor customer service for a person for whom we have prayed.

What would happen if bankers prayed more? What would happen if we all prayed more?