Work Prayer: Redeeming Our Time at Work

Written by Carl Greene

January 29, 2020

I have a question.  How do you experience God’s presence when you work?  We spend a tremendous portion of our conscious hours in life working—it would seem as though we should be very intent on asking God to redeem that time to His glory.  Do we?    

I love this quote attributed to Brother Lawrence:  “Men invent means and methods of coming at God’s love, they learn rules and set up devices to remind them of that love, and it seems like a world of trouble to bring oneself into the consciousness of God’s presence.  Yet it might be so simple.  Is it not quicker and easier just to do our common business for the love of him?”[1]

Rather than seeing work as a necessary evil, we have the opportunity to live our work life to God’s glory.  One clear way to experience God’s presence at work is to be actively praying about and for our workplace—whether that is in an office, in a truck cab, in a school room, in a space in our home, in a cubicle, or wherever it might be.  We might work with a small team or a large group, we might work with a family business or our work focus might be deeply investing in our children at home.  Regardless of the nature of the work, it is an opportunity to actively experience God’s presence through prayer.

Looking Up in Prayer.  We can be mindful of opportunities to experience God’s presence at work by being attentive and actively asking Him to reveal His lessons to us.  For example, how often do you and I pray that we will see and receive a faith lesson from God at work today?  More specifically, we can come before God and confess what stinks about our job, yet ask Him to reveal what the faith lesson is through that experience.

Looking Out in Prayer.  We can be extra attentive to the people that God brings into our life every day.  We can be listening for ways to pray for the people that we work with—when they mention a doctor’s appointment, when they talk about a difficult decision, when they express frustration with their job.  If we move the focus off of ourselves and listen well to the people around us, the ministry opportunities abound through prayer.

Looking In Through Prayer.  Maybe today has been an incredibly frustrating day.  Maybe that coworker has once again been talking about you with your supervisor.  Maybe the promotion that really should have been yours went to someone else.  Perhaps it has simply been a day where nothing really went right—from spilling coffee on your keyboard to scratching the door of your car when you left the garage.  As frustrating as these elements are, it is an opportunity to ask God to reveal what is going on in our heart.  We have the opportunity to ask God to help us with introspection to receive forgiveness for our role in making the day sour.[2]

Carrots.  This is an abrupt subject transition, but please stick with me.  I love carrots.  I will eat a pound of carrots in a single sitting—they are an amazing food.  I recently bought a two-pound bag of carrots for an evening snack, but was terribly disappointed.  Mixed in with the carrots was a stick about the same length as the carrots.  While the stick might be filling, it would hardly be as yummy as a carrot.  I kept the stick as a keepsake, you know, to recall that purchase with a critical spirit.  After all, a stick in my carrots!

Ridiculous.  There were nearly two pounds of carrots in that bag that were fantastic.  I do not think about those carrots nor talk about them—I focus only on the single stick in the bag.  I wonder how often we might do that with our work life.  We can focus so much on the ‘stick’ in our work experience that we miss the rich blessings that God has placed before us.  Opportunities to pray, in which we:  look up, look out, and look in.

 

Grace and peace,

Carl Greene, Executive Director, SDB General Conference of USA and Canada     

[1] Morse, MaryKate.  2013.  A Guidebook to Prayer:  Twenty-four Ways to Walk with God.  Downers Grove:  IVP.  42.

[2] Ideas for Work prayer are taken from Chapter 3 of Morse’s A Guidebook to Prayer, “Work Prayer”, 42-49.

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