Praying directly to God makes sense from a pragmatic, rationalist understanding of God, the universe, and religion. If we see the world in terms of accomplishing goals and achieving objectives, direct lines of communication are preferred. In many of our work places, the only reason that our boss is not the one to direct every decision at every moment is because he only has so much ability to give time and attention to the details. So naturally even the most enlightened of leaders must delegate decisions.
Then again, maybe I am not understanding authority correctly. Perhaps I am seeing things from a skewed perspective. Maybe there is something about living in relationship with others that involves a kind of mutuality that cannot be reduced to simply obeying orders. Maybe obedience to God extends beyond simply surrendering to a Divine form of a totalitarian dictator. Maybe reality does not unfold behind a monolithic structure of power in which God’s sovereignty becomes a centralized force that dictates every decision. While God transcends our natural understanding and our natural relationships, there is nonetheless a stamp of the Divine life that lies within every aspect of creation.
I would argue that the insights that contemporary business leaders are finding bear some resemblance to the eternal wisdom that is found in God. First, we must recognize that God’s invitation to participate in His divine life is an invitation into a communion of persons shared between God and God. A triune understanding of the Divinity reveals that in His interior life, God is three distinct persons made one by perfect love. By means of his invitation, his grace, we come to be united with this living dynamism so as to be transfigured by that perfect love.
When we pray to the saints, we do not answer to some inferior member of God’s staff as if we cannot approach the boss. Rather we enter into the living reality of the kingdom of God. Devotion to the saints must penetrate deeper than simply petitioning them for what we want as if their prayers were a cosmic Pez dispenser. Our devotion is a form of participation in the kingdom of God which reflects the human need to live in community, or, perhaps in more precise language, to live in communion with others.
Along these lines, I would say that effective leaders discover that creating a good organization goes beyond simply telling everyone what to do. To create a vibrant community, members must have full, conscious, and active participation. They must commit themselves to the mission, and this goes on every level. No job is unimportant, and should we expect heaven to be different?