A Christian Bookseller’s Prayer

Adapted with kind permission from One Bookstore Owner’s Prayer:

Dear Lord,

When we started out it all seemed so easy. You opened doors and directed our paths. We saw your hand in everything in those early days. We have our victory stories.

But now it’s different. Changing market conditions and rising costs are closing in on us. We’re stretched in so many ways. We have to work so much harder for the same results. Like soldiers in a battle, we grow weary and discouraged as we watch fellow-soldiers falling all around us. We’re pained and hurting from those who were once closest to us — local church staff — who no longer support our stores with their church purchasing; bulk sales we really need to make everything else possible.

Yes, we’re still reaching people. There’s nothing like the feeling that comes with selling a child or a teenager their first Bible. Or a middle-aged person who is connecting with you for the first time. There’s nothing like being there for someone in the middle of a life crisis, to offer a resource, or just to say, “We’ll remember you in prayer.” (And then to remember!) There’s nothing like helping a young worship leader locate that song they heard on the radio, or having a greeting card that puts perfectly into words the hope and encouragement someone wishes to offer.

But it’s getting harder and harder. We keep saying, “The ministry side only happens when the business side is viable.” These days, the financial side of things just isn’t happening.

Lord, we need wisdom. Lots of it. Probably a lot more than other people in retail. We need a sense of your direction for our lives as we seek to respond to an ever-changing landscape. We also need assurance, encouragement, confirmation. We need to find favour with our suppliers, our landlords, various levels of government, local churches and parachurch organizations, and even a renewed sense of common purpose with our employees. We need opportunities to help out other bookshops who are struggling, and interactions with other stores who might be able to help us out.

We also need revival. As individuals. As local communities. As the Church as a whole in this land. We know that if people hunger and thirst after you, they will also hunger and thirst to read the Bible, to study the scriptures, to reach out to their friends and neighbours and co-workers, to fill their homes with Christian music and Christian literature.

So many Christian radio stations, television stations, websites, megachurches, books being published; so why do those of us who have taken Christian resources to the marketplace struggle so much right now?

We face a time when people are apathetic about reading which converges with a time when people are spiritually apathetic. We need people to once again learn to love the word and to love The Word.

Lord renew our passion for you first, and then, secondly for the things of you. Help us to find the means and the methods to lift your name in the middle of a hurting world. Keep us from buying products that do not truly exalt you. Keep us from being caught up in enthusiasm and emotion and purchasing things our local customers neither need nor want. Help us to have what it is that broken people are searching for at the time they most require it.

Help us to continue to show your love in the part of the world where you have placed us. Help us to be gracious when our closest friends and Church staff don’t support us. Help us to do our best to place the book and music items we have into homes and families.

Lord, we don’t deserve your blessing. But we humbly ask you to be merciful to us as we face unprecedented challenges.

For the honour of your name and the building of your kingdom, we pray;

Amen.

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10 thoughts on “A Christian Bookseller’s Prayer

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  3. None of this should come as a surprise to those of us who take scriptures on prophecy to seriously, as the time of a “great falling away” is spoken about taking place in the run-up to the End Times. Of course, ringing of hands works on one level but finding a way forward is what is needed. Retail rents are too high and remain so, even in the face of “bricks and mortar” retail struggling. This makes no sense and Councils across the land have blood on their hands with regards to this issue. DCs’ Big Society plan is, of course, the way this kind of thing should work and CLC has been delivering this kind of model since just after WW2. To me, the way forward is really simple and requires a collaboration between religious retailer and local churches in any locality. This should be of mutual benefit, as church volunteers would be trained to a high standard in the religious shop in the Town Centre. The local churches would need to help (initially, anyway) with £25,000/year of support for rents and the shop would be run on the Big Society model. The deal would be a simple one… £25,000 a year “buys” a Town Centre religious book, Bible, gift and multimedia shop, where church volunteers would be trained and supported as they found the next step in God’s will for their life. Local churches would be offered 15% (say) discount on bulk purchases and the shop might even be a focus for prayer for the Town concerned. Simple…

  4. Talking of prayer, I would appreciate some prayer if possible for myself and the shop – it’s not for struggling finances ( though of course that’s always needed – lol – but to be fair I reckon God will provide on that level if i’ll work hard to maintain and grow) and the whole Market in which we are housed, and some of the traders that are in it. It is struggling – since Christmas 3 traders have had to pull down the shutters for good due to how hard it is to make a living in retail just in general at the minute and I know you really understand how hard it is too.
    Our landlord is the local City Council and we all know the very real and harsh problems they are facing too, so bad news all around economically. This market is a revenue stream for them and as shutters close that revenue dwindles at a time when they most need it to help protect services and jobs – however on saturday they allowed Argos to have a stall and come in just for the saturday so they could give out the catalogues to market customers and shoppers in this area – this really hurt some of the stall holders that are currently most beleagured and struggling. (don’t get me wrong I appreciate why Argos wanted to do it – even big business isn’t unaffected by the current economic trouble! If I had the money I’d do something similiar for the Markets & Sincil Street area if I could or was allowed to).
    As all know I am ardent in my defence of local community and supporting community based and small businesses, so what I think I found hardest about this was that just the day before the Council had seemingly been keen on that too, issuing statements about keeping business in this area and protecting the local traders – and then this.
    It hurt some people in a real way, after all this is their livelihoods, they are sole traders and so often literally everything is tied up with the business – many of them are family affairs – for a sole trader there is little to no chance of any sort of redundancy pay and often the complications of claiming something like unemployment benefits and the like are increased horribly, so yes I worked with some of those people to raise attention to the issue by contacting the local press contacts I had and raising the issue through my facebook & twitter stream.
    I led with the motto ‘Lincoln Central Market – Are We The Place To Be or are we Argos’ biggest competition’ not even really that negative I thought.
    These people here are my collegues, my community and my friends and to fail to act when action can be taken is to me not an acceptable thing. If I fail to see and act and share their hurt or burden then I fail me more so even than I fail them.
    I accept responsibility for my actions – I always will – and I can’t even say I regret them because I believe what I did was right and is what I am called to do as a christian and person of conscience.
    So anyway the upshot is that things in some quarters have got rather nasty for want of a better term and I really would appreciate your prayers for a healing of this situation, for a light of understanding to be lit or uncovered, for a community to come together and work with and for each other, for the good of all in the Market and wider environs, for Gods Grace to rest here on this place and the people of it, oh and for me to remember that my back is broad and my burdens light to bear and that sometimes it’s in the broken places and the dark of hurt that Gods voice can clearly be heard to stir the heart.

    So thanks guys and sorry for hi-jacking the thread! Phil feel free to delete it if it’s inappropriate and the rest of you can yell at me too 😉

  5. Pingback: News Roundup: 10 Years Online; Commentaries Sale at Wesley Owen; More Shops Seeking New Owners; More Than Another Day of Prayer; and a New Blog for Caritas Music « The Christian Bookshops Blog

  6. Pingback: News Roundup: Celebrating 10 Years Online | Commentaries Sale at Wesley Owen | More Shops Seeking New Owners | More Than Another Day of Prayer | A New Blog for Caritas Music « The Christian Bookshops Blog

  7. Pingback: News Roundup: Celebrating 10 Years Online | Commentaries Sale at Wesley Owen | More Shops Seeking New Owners | More Than Another Day of Prayer | New Blog for Caritas Music « The Christian Bookshops Blog

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