Christians on Wall Street Praying, Hoping

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Wall Street is in one of the most volatile economic downturns in U.S. history. The temptation to panic is high. So, how are Christians who work on Wall Street reacting to the crisis? As CBN News discovered, they are clinging to the rock that can not be moved.

The market has just opened on the New York Stock Exchange and already investors are bracing for what promises to be another tumultuous day.

But Wall Street is more than just stocks and bonds, buying and selling - it's also a place where many Christians work and even pray. And now, they are praying like never before.

"Help us to lift you up in this place, we need you here more than ever," one man prayed.

Longest Running Prayer Meeting in the U.S.

Wall Street is the home of the longest running prayer meetings in the country. It started in 1977 after a few believers decided there was a need.

Financial adviser Vaughn Weimer has been an active member since the early 1980's.

"I've been hearing from almost all of my clients during the last two weeks," Weimer told CBN News. "No one's panicked yet.  No one's fallen over in a faint yet."

Weimer says he believes God is going to redeem Wall Street and just like the historic Fulton Street revival, make this a place of prayer once again.

"There was a time here when at Noon every business shut down while people prayed," Weimer recalled. "We have a heart and a vision for that to happen again for those who work here every day."

Anthony DiMaio used to work on the floor of the NYSE and now runs a ministry known as BOLD.  The ministry's mission is to reach out to New York's financial district with a message of spiritual relevance. He believes God is using this economic crisis to get people to look up.

"We all know that the fastest way to reach anybody is through their pocket book," DiMaio said. "And so if God wants to get your attention he'll get it there."

Trinity Church:  A Place of Refuge

Standing like a beacon in the dark night of Wall Street's soul is Trinity Church. For almost 200 years, Trinity's cross has welcomed those coming into New York's harbor seeking freedom. However, in the last few weeks, more people are seeking refuge of a different kind behind the church's front door.

"The people sitting in the pews at our daily worship are either directly affected by having lost a job or they are afraid of losing a job," the Rev. Canon Anne Mallonee told CBN News.

Mallonee says she recently ministered to one such woman overcome with anxiety.

"Being able to pray with her and have her just reconnect with that peace of God which surpasses all of this turmoil and have her be able to leave more centered and confident that God is with her in this," Mallonee said.

God's Punishment?

But not all those affected by the financial crisis are on Wall Street. Pastor Terry Smith of the Life Christian Church in West Orange, New Jersey says about 25 percent of his parishioners work in New York's financial district. A fact that could affect the church's bottom line. It could also affect the church's plans for building a new facility.

"There are people who have planned to give major gifts who are concerned about their capacity to do that right now," Smith explained. "Their hearts are to do it. I think God is going to help them to be able to do it, but this is a real concern for us."

Smith believes what's happening on Wall Street is not necessarily God's punishment.

"This kind of a crisis reminds us that we are not self-sufficient - regardless of how hard we work and how much we invest and how hard we try to prepare for the future, really we need him," Smith said. "And it's in our weakness that we discover how strong he is."

Both Ray Craig and Raji Manasseh attend Smith's church and work for major Wall Street banks. They are determined to be a light in the midst of the storm.

"This is an opportunity for us to step out of our professional suits and ties and be a friend to a lot of our colleagues who aren't Christians," Craig told CBN News.

"My wife and I have always believed that God is the ultimate source of our income and our provision and that he provides for us first and foremost," Manasseh said.d

Nobody knows just how long this financial upheaval will last. But for those who put their trust -- not in bull markets, but in Christ - the ride promises to be a little less bumpy.

Are You Anxious About the Markets?

DiMaio offers this advice if you are anxious about what's happening on Wall Street.

*Begin to listen to what God is speaking to you right now in this time of confusion and of peril. Jesus said, "My sheep hear my voice."  (John 10:27)

*Begin to assess, Have you been living for yourself or living for God? "But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added to you." (Matthew 6:33)  God's ways are always better for us than our own ways

*Remember, even if you lose your job, you haven't lost your identity. Who you are goes beyond a resume or a personal network. You are a child of God and when you make Jesus the Lord of your life, He promises that He has good plans for you. "Plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." (Jer. 29:11)

*Originally aired on October 17, 2008.

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