Is it scriptural to pray for “favor with men”?
Psa 5:11 But let all who put their trust in You rejoice; let them always shout for joy, because You defend them. And let those who love Your name be joyful in You.
Psa 5:12 For You; O Jehovah, will bless the righteous; with favor You will surround him as with a shield.
— For those who take joy in the Lord, He is our defender (our advocate) and acts on our behalf. His favor surrounds us like a shield and protects us from the devices of the wicked.
Psa 90:16 Let your work appear to your servants; your glory to their children.
Psa 90:17 Let the favor of the Lord our God be on us; establish the work of our hands for us; yes, establish the work of our hands.
— God blesses and multiplies the effectiveness of our efforts
Psa 35:27 Let them shout for joy and be glad, who favor my righteous cause. Yes, let them say continually, “The LORD be magnified, who has pleasure in the prosperity of his servant!”
— There are rewards for those who help the cause of one of God’s children
Pro 3:1 My son, forget not my law; but let your heart keep my commandments;
Pro 3:2 for they shall add length of days, and long life, and peace to you.
Pro 3:3 Let not mercy and truth forsake you; tie them around your neck; write them upon the tablet of your heart;
Pro 3:4 and you shall find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man.
Pro 3:5 Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding.
Pro 3:6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.
— When we walk in God’s wisdom, mercy, and truth we will be sensitive to His will. When we walk in line with His Word, His Spirit goes before us preparing our way and planting favor in the hearts of men we have to deal with in the natural. This favor promotes good understanding of both sides of the issue.
— Satan attempts to whisper lies and author confusion in the minds of those we do business with in an effort to steal away what God has given to us. While we don’t have authority over other people’s will, we DO have authority over satan and his minions in Jesus’ name. We can rebuke the efforts of satan to sow confusion in not only our minds, but the minds of others as well.
Pro 8:32 “Now therefore, My sons, listen to Me, for blessed are those who keep My ways.
Pro 8:33 Hear instruction, and be wise. Don’t refuse it.
Pro 8:34 Blessed is the man who hears Me, watching daily at My gates, waiting at My door posts.
Pro 8:35 For whoever finds Me, finds life, and will obtain favor from the LORD.
Pro 14:9 Fools laugh at sin, but among the righteous there is favor.
Pro 21:10 The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.
Pro 11:27 He who carefully seeks good gets favor; but he who seeks mischief, it shall come to him.
Pro 14:35 The king’s favor is toward a wise servant, but his wrath is against him who causes shame.
Pro 13:15 Good understanding wins favor; but the way of the unfaithful is hard.
— Notice a trend, using God’s wisdom in dealing with people results in favor with men.
Pro 28:23 He who rebukes a man shall afterwards find more favor than he who flatters with the tongue.
— Being upfront and honest wins favor, just remember to speak the truth in love.
Pro 16:7 When a man’s ways please Jehovah, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
— Here we see a promise that God will intervene and make peace with our enemies, but first we must do our part.
Jos 11:20 For it was of Jehovah to harden their hearts, to come against Israel in battle, that he might utterly destroy them, that they might have no favor, but that he might destroy them, as Jehovah commanded Moses.
— This makes a connection between hardness of heart and favor.
Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema.
Gal 1:10 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? or am I striving to please men? if I were still pleasing men, I should not be a servant of Christ.
— Keep in mind the goal is to please God and gain God’s favor. Favor with men follows those who put God first. We ask God to help give us favor among men in order to help further God’s causes, not our own. To ask for favor in faith, we must first be sure we are carrying out God’s plan.
EXAMPLES OF FAVOR
1Sa 2:26 And the child Samuel went on growing both in stature and in goodness, both with Jehovah and also with men.
Luk 2:52 And Jesus advanced in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
— These two verses show a growing in wisdom and goodness that parallels a growing in favor.
Act 2:46 And continuing daily with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread at every house, they were sharing food with great happiness and simplicity of heart [fig., generosity],
Act 2:47 praising God and having favor with all the people. So the Lord was daily adding the ones being saved to the Assembly [or, Church, and throughout book].
— Here the overflowing of love and cooperation in the early church won favor for the christians among all the people.
Gen 39:21 And Jehovah was with Joseph, and extended mercy to him, and gave him favour in the eyes of the chief of the tower-house.
— This is the story of Joseph and how God promoted Joseph to the second most powerful man in egypt due to Jospeh’s faithfulness and wisdom.
Gen 50:4 And when the days of weeping for him were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found favor in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying,
Gen 50:5 My father made me swear, saying, Lo, I die: in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come again.
— Here favor of the pharoh is sought so that Joseph can carry out a covenant Joseph made with his father (Israel).
Act 7:9 “And the patriarchs having become jealous, sold Joseph into Egypt; and [yet] God was with him,
Act 7:10 and delivered him out of all his afflictions and gave to him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and he appointed him [as] a ruler over Egypt and all his house.
— This recounts the story of Joseph
Dan 1:8 And Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not pollute himself with the king’s delicate food, nor with the wine which he drank; and he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not have to pollute himself.
Dan 1:9 And God granted Daniel favour and mercy before the prince of the eunuchs.
— As with Joseph, Daniel found favor with men. Later, favor of the King would lead to Daniel being promoted.
1Ki 11:19 Chadad found great favor in the sight of Par`oh, so that he gave him as wife the sister of his own wife, the sister of Tachpenes the queen.
— Example of favor at work
Est 2:17 The king loved Ester more than all the women, and she obtained favor and kindness in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown on her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.
— Example of favor at work
Neh 1:11 O Master, listen to me, listen to your servant’s prayer–and yes, to all your servants who delight in honoring you–and make me successful today so that I get what I want from the king.” I was cupbearer to the king.
— Nehmiah praying to God for favor with the king so that Nehmiah could go and rebuild Jerusalem.
— (from Matthew Henry’s Commentary) He concludes with a particular petition, that God would prosper him in his undertaking, and give him favour with the king: this man he calls him, for the greatest of men are but men before God; they must know themselves to be so (Psa_9:20), and others must know them to be so. Who art thou that thou shouldst be afraid of a man? Mercy in the sight of this man is what he prays for, meaning not the king’s mercy, but mercy from God in his address to the king. Favour with men is then comfortable when we can see it springing from the mercy of God.
Act 26:27 King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
Act 26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
Act 26:29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.
Act 26:30 And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them:
Act 26:31 And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds.
Act 26:32 Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.
— Here Paul find favor of King Agrippa after giving a wisely worded and annointed defense
Exo 3:20 And I will put forth my hand, and smite Egypt with all my wonders which I will do in the midst thereof: and after that he will let you go.
Exo 3:21 And I will give this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians: and it shall come to pass, that, when ye go, ye shall not go empty.
Exo 3:22 But every woman shall ask of her neighbor, and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: and ye shall put them upon your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall despoil the Egyptians.
Exo 11:2 Speak now in the ears of the people, and let them ask every man of his neighbor, and every woman of her neighbor, jewels of silver, and jewels of gold.
Exo 11:3 And Jehovah gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians. Moreover the man Moses was very great in the land of Egypt, in the sight of Pharaoh’s servants, and in the sight of the people.
Exo 12:35 And the sons of Israel did according to the word of Moses. And they asked from the Egyptians articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing.
Exo 12:36 And Jehovah gave favor to the people in the eyes of the Egyptians. And they granted their requests. And they plundered Egypt.
— Here God plants favor toward the Israelites in the hearts of the egyptian peoples. Notice that the egyptian peoples generously give away their valuables to the Israelites.
WHAT NOT TO PRAY FOR
Sometimes it helps to understand what something is by describing what it is not…
1) Don’t pray to override someone’s will, God does not force anyone’s will
2) Don’t pray for *unfair* consideration or preference
3) Don’t expect God’s blessing on something that he forbids or something you do for any reason other than for His glory.
4) Don’t pray for bad things, punishment, or evil to befall another person
5) Don’t pray that your screwups be covered up (Note: if you do make a mistake and plant a seed of discord, after you sincerely confess and repent, i believe you can curse the seed that it not take root or bear evil fruit – Mat 21:19)
At this point, I do not believe it is necessarily scriptural to “pray for favor with men” the way I’ve seen some folks do it.
I believe that the way I have seen people praying this way is actually not done in faith and if it isn’t explicitly witchcraft, then it is really close. What I have observed is people asking God intercede for them that they be given them special preference above other people to:
1) cover up their mistakes,
2) get unfair advantage,
3) manipulate people,
4) get something that they want without any consideration or submission to God’s will.
There are no examples of Jesus, His disciples, or Paul praying this way.
The only example I can find is in the old testement (Neh 1:11) where Nehmiah asks God for favor with the King so that Nehemiah could go and rebuild Jerusalem, which was something that
God had put into Nehemiah’s heart to do in the first place (Neh 2:12)
There are examples of humans favoring God’s people and good things coming of that. In all cases the recipients of the favor were not seeking the favor from men, but were seeking God’s will, God’s grace, and God’s glory. God then worked in the hearts of the decision makers to “smooth” the way.
Now having said all that, if someone hasn’t yet found scriptures to pray fullly in faith, and in the meantime in prayer asks for “favor with men”, if in their heart they understand that to mean that they get fair treatment and that these “men” not stand in the way of God’s will and purposes, then I’m not going to say they are doing something necesarily wrong.
However, if in their hearts they are trying to get God to manipulate people so that they get an advantage or that their own purposes are accomplished, then that is clearly witchcraft, and it isn’t God that hears or answers that kind of prayer.
Instead, I would pray for God’s wisdom and that I would be faithful to Him. That is scriptural as in James 1:5 “But if any of you lacketh wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.”
There are oodles of examples in scripture of people whose faithfulness and wisdom results in them gaining the favor of God and men. Jesus, Samuel, Joseph, Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack, Abendigo, Paul are just to name a few.
SOME THINGS TO PRAY FOR
Here are some things we can do (this just scratches the surface)…
What to do:
1) Thank God that no weapon formed against you will prosper (Isa 54:17)
2) Know that greater is He in you that he that is in the world (1John 4:4, John 14:30)
3) Rebuke satan from authoring confusion, strife, circulating lies, gossip, or evil speaking (Isa 54:17, 1Co 14:33, James 3:16)
4) Make sure what you are doing is in faith and to the glory of God, then you know that God will bless it and will promote you before men. (1Pe 5:6)
5) Ask God to bless and multiply the effects of your efforts (Deu 14:29, Isa 65:23)
6) Ask God for His wisdom in what you say and do and that you recognize opportunities that are placed before you (Jam 1:5, Pro 12:14, 1Cor 2:16)
7) Ask God to bless and grant wisdom to those you are transacting with (Pro 12:14)
8) Ask God for grace in the hearts of the decision makers that a way is made for you to carry out God’s will (Neh 1:11)
9) Agree with God’s Word that all things work together for good for those called according to His purpose (Rom 8:28)
10) God exalts us when we humble ourselves Mat 18:4 “Therefore, whoever will humble himself like this young child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of the heavens.”
Also, have no fear
1) Thanks be to God who gives me the victory through Jesus, He always causes me to triumph (1Cor 15:57, 2Cor 2:14)
2) I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Phil 4:13)
3) If God be for me, who can stand against me? (Rom 8:31)
4) God has not given me a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a sound mind (2Tim 1:7, Psalm 27:1, Joshua 1:9, Heb 13:5-6, Rom 8:31, Isa 54:14, Psa 91, Psa 23)
5) God will keep me in perfect peace because my mind is stayed on Him (Isa 26:3, 2Cor 10:5-6, 1Pet 5:7, Phil 4:6-7, Phil 4:8, Joh 14:27, Col 3:15, Psa 119:165, Heb 12:14, James 3:16, Mat 5:9)
Thank God and give Him glory for every good thing.
Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness nor shadow of turning. (Jam 1:17)
Decide in advance, that regardless of the outcome of any endeavor, you will praise and glorify the Lord.