I grew up hearing my parents pray that God would give me favor in the eyes of those in authority over me...my teachers, coaches, bosses, etc.
At the time, I generically understood it to mean that they were asking God to help those people to like me.
As I grew older and actually experienced this favor they had prayed for, I began to understand the depth of this prayer.
The Old Testament story of Joseph sheds light on the subject.
Joseph was sold by his brothers into slavery and forced to serve an Egyptian master by the name of Potiphar. Yet Scripture says that,
"The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned." [Genesis 39:2-4]
How did Joseph find favor in Potiphar's eyes? The LORD was with him. Joseph's words and actions brought God's blessings and gave God glory. Potiphar saw these blessings in the form of prosperity as favor from God in Joseph's life.
So when my parents prayed that I would find favor in the eyes of those in authority over me (especially those who initially did NOT seem to like me), they were praying that those authority figures would see God in my life and look favorably on me as a result.
Living out godly virtues is one of the best ways for those in authority to see God in our life.
For Proverbs 3:3-4 says, (italics are my emphasis)
bind them around your neck
(like a beautiful necklace for ALL to see),
write them on the tablet of your heart
(so that it governs your life).
Then you will win favor and a good name in the sight of God and man."
Having favor in the eyes of man, especially those in authority, is good but WHY do we even need or want it?
1. God is glorified. People can see God in and through us.
2. Favor makes life and work here on earth SOOOO much better.
Simply put, when authority figures don't like us there are continual trials we face. If you've ever had a boss or teacher who didn't like you, you know what I'm talking about. It's an uphill battle FOR SURE.
Proverbs 19:12 states that,
"A king's rage is like the roar of a lion,
but his favor is like dew on the grass."
When an authority figure doesn't like us he/she's actions can terrify and seek to devour us, so to speak, just like a roaring lion.
Yet here the favor from a king, one in authority, is compared to dew on the grass. Dew refreshes and revives the grass causing it to grow and flourish. Thus, the favor from a king to his subjects refreshes and revives them causing their work to grow and flourish.
We want the favor of those in authority over us BECAUSE our work becomes more enjoyable and we prosper in it...just like Joseph. Not only was he permitted to live in his master's house, he also received a great promotion comprising of better work. And he got what so many desire from those in authority over them...RESPECT.
Fortunately, there is a catch to all this. Like Joseph, God can give us favor in the eyes of man BUT only if we seek and live out His righteousness.
"For surely, O LORD, you bless the righteous;
you surround them with your favor as with a shield."
So what's my point in all of this?
The other day I was listening to Keith share about something great that had happened at work for him. And I was reminded that one of the most frequent prayers I pray for him is that God would give him favor in the eyes of those in authority over him at work. As I listened to him that day, I began to clearly see God's many answers to this prayer.
And so my growing faith has encouraged me to pray this over my children as well.
Depending on their age, your children may have lots of authority figures in their life. My children are young so they don't have many quite yet, but they do have some and they will eventually have many. So, I'd like to pray for the authority figures they may currently have and for those they will have in both the near and far future.
Will you join me today?
Let's lift up our children, no matter how young or old they are, and ask God to give them favor in the eyes of those in authority over them!!
May my children, like Joseph, seek and live out Your righteousness and thus be shielded by Your favor. Would you give them favor in the eyes of their current and future teachers; their current and future coaches; and their future bosses. May those in authority over them see Your virtues in and through them; virtues of love and faithfulness. I pray their words and actions would be a dynamic reflection of You.
And I pray that as you give them favor in the eyes of their authority figures that you would cause their work and efforts to flourish and grow. May this favor You bless them with better their life's work and grant them respect.