Prayers on Wall Street

Christianity Today has an interesting essay about how executives and workers at Wall Street turned to faith as many saw their work life crumble:

Last Sunday night many Wall Streeters could not get to sleep. After midnight, an executive at one of Wall Street’s leading investment banks, who requested that his name and his company’s not be used, lay in bed watching CNBC report that his competitors were going by the wayside. “I was surprised how quickly it had come. By 8 P.M. we knew how Monday would open. I prayed, very selfishly, that my company would not be on the list.” He worried “about my family, the economic environment, my church, and community.”

His wife rolled over and asked, “Are you really worried?”

“No,” he told her. “I am just interested in the news. I work for a really good company.”

She asked again, “Are you stressed?”

He weighed what was important to them and answered, “Even if the worst happens, we will still be together as a family and have Christ who loves and cares for us.” Reassured, his wife turned back over; 30 minutes later her husband turned off the television. He needed to be at work very early the next morning.

On Monday, Christians on Wall Street set up special prayer meetings for the week. First came the special prayer conference calls on Monday and Tuesday nights. Then, starting Wednesday, extraordinary prayer meetings were scheduled at Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Deloitte, and elsewhere. Pastors began planning to gather for a sidewalk prayer meeting outside of the stock exchange.

Mac Pier of the New York Leadership Center started getting calls from friends who were losing their jobs. “Of course, I prayed with them that God would give them the spiritual and financial resources they need.” Pier says that the Wall Streeters who called him were stunned. “It was unnerving to them because of the speed [at which] it happened.”

. . .

Rice says the emotional impact of the current crisis on Wall Streeters is amplified by attitudes like those described by the chief operating officer. “There is an element of, ‘I am master of my fate. I put in 18-hour days and am making it.’ Then, this crisis pulls the rug out from under them. This may be the first dislocation of their lives. Their savings have disappeared in 15 minutes.”

. . .

Some Christians in NYC hope that God can use the crisis for good. Pier says, “God can use this situation as he did in the 1857 Layman’s Prayer Revival that started on Wall Street to draw people to a fresh recognition of our absolute dependence on his grace and love.”

Mike Faulkner, pastor of New Horizon Church, says, “Honestly, I am praying God will bring healing and revival.” He recalls how during the 1930s Wall Street crash, Central Baptist Church on Manhattan housed people who had lost their homes. “The church should be available in every way for people on Wall Street who maybe didn’t think much about God before.”

Bethel’s Caesar hopes that “the two-hour-per-week Christians will get faith in their bones” so that it will last. “When you are in a fox hole, people make crazy promises. Afterward, they ask God, ‘Can we renegotiate?’ ” Harry Tucker, a longtime strategic adviser to Wall Street executives, believes that God has put “us in crisis to grow our courage.”

Read it all here

Past Posts