52 Workday Prayers: Psalm 23 - Praying to God the Worker
The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
he leads me beside still waters;
he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil;
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff—
they comfort me.
The Psalms are profoundly relevant to your daily work. This might come as a bit of a surprise, since there is a tendency for many Christians to think that faith is relevant to personal contexts, like family, friendship, and church, but not to “secular” contexts such as work. Yet, when you start paying attention to how much the Psalms – indeed, all of Scripture – speak to the issues of work, you’ll start looking at Christian faith in a whole new way.
Take Psalm 23, for example. This may be the most familiar and beloved of psalms, for good reason. The affirmation of God as our shepherd and the implications of this truth touch a deep place within our souls. But the 23rd psalm is also a picture of work, specifically the work God does as a shepherd. The psalm writer celebrates the fact that God does for him what good shepherds do for their sheep: making them lie down in green pastures, leading them beside still waters, protecting them from evil, making sure they are well fed. So, though we rightly feel God’s care for us when we read Psalm 23, we might also recognize that God is a worker. God is working like a shepherd, working for our good.
O Lord, you are indeed my shepherd. What a wonderful thought!
Thank you, Lord, for doing the work of a shepherd in my life.
Thank you for making sure I have all I need to live and work.
Thank you for providing opportunities for me to rest, so that I might be strong for the work you have given me to do.
Thank you for protecting me from harm, for being with me when things at work get crazy, when I wonder if I’m going to survive.
Thank you for making it clear that work matters: your work matters, my work matters, the work of others matters.
Lord, if in my work I have the opportunity to supervise people, help me to imitate you, to be not only a boss, but also a shepherd in my care for those you have entrusted to me. May what I do at work reflect what you do in your work.
All praise, glory, and honor be to you, O God, my shepherd! Amen.
Ponder Throughout the Day
God is doing the work of a shepherd today, guiding and caring for you.
For Further Reflection
Read all of Psalm 23, being open to what God wants to say to you through this psalm.
You may also want to reflect on this passage from John’s Gospel.
So again Jesus said to them, “Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and bandits; but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep. - John 10:7-15
This prayer is part of a collection: 52 Workday Prayers: Learn from the Psalms How to Pray through Your Work. To purchase this devotional and small group guide, visit the De Pree Center store.