Miscellaneous Prayers about Work

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These miscellaneous prayers about work are part of "Work in Worship," a collection of material for work-themed services compiled by David Welbourn. For more prayers, songs, readings and sermons, click on the table of contents to the right.

You asked for my hands
That you might use them for your purpose.
I gave them for a moment then withdrew them
For the work was hard.

You asked for my mouth
To speak out against injustice.
I gave you a whisper that I might not be accused.

You asked for my eyes
To see the pain of poverty
I closed them for I did not want to see.

You asked for my life
That you might work through me.
I gave a small part that I might not get too involved.

Lord, forgive my calculated efforts to serve you,
Only when it is convenient to do so,
Only in those placed where it is safe to do so,
And only with those who make it easy to do so.

Father, forgive me,
Renew me
Send me out
As a usable instrument
That I might take seriously
The meaning of your cross.

******

Lord, you placed me in the world
To be its salt
I was afraid of committing myself.
Afraid to being stained by the world.
I did not want to hear what ‘they’ might say.
And my salt dissolved as if in water.
Forgive me, Jesus.

Lord, you placed me in the world
To be its light.
I was afraid of the shadows
Afraid of the poverty.
I did not want to know other people
And my light slowly faded away
Forgive me, Jesus.

Lord, you placed me in the world
To live in community.
Thus you taught me to love
To share in life,
To struggle for bread and justice,
Your truth incarnate in my life.
So be it, Jesus.

******

O God,
Who am I now?
Once, I was secure
In familiar territory
In my sense of belonging
Unquestioning of
The norms of my culture
The assumptions build into my language
The values shared by my society.

But now you have called me out and away from home
And I do not know where you are leading.
I am empty, unsure, uncomfortable.
I have only a beckoning star to follow.

Journeying God,
Pitch your tent with mine
So that I may not become deterred
By hardship, strangeness, doubt.
Show me the movement I must make
Toward a wealth not dependent on possessions
Toward a wisdom not based on books
Toward a strength not bolstered my might
Toward a God not confined to heaven
But scandalously earthed, poor, unrecognised…
Help me to find myself
As I walk in others’ shoes.

******

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is discord, union;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
For your mercy and truth’s sake.

(The Prayer of St Francis)

******

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
(Reinhold Niebuhr)

******

Dearest Lord, teach me to be generous;
Teach me to serve Thee as Thou deservest;
To give and not to count the cost,
To fight and not to heed the wounds,
To toil and not to seek for rest,
To labour and not to ask for any reward,
Save that of knowing that I do Thy will.

(St Ignatius Loyola)

******

From the cowardice that dare not face new truth
From the laziness that is content with half truth
From the arrogance that thinks it knows all truth,
Good Lord, deliver me.

(A prayer from Kenya)

******

Anger (Unemployment)

Lord, I am angry.
Forgive me.
Lord, why me (once more)?
But why not me?
I’m no more important than the others;
After all, it was just a job.
But it was a livelihood.
I was sad to let go.
The job could be boring.
It could be monotonous.
But it could be fulfilling.
It was worthwhile.
What now, Lord?
Show me the way forward.

(R Kempsell)

******

Tiredness

God of the moment,
I often wonder,
When I am stressed, or tired, or tense,
If it is all worth it.
For what purpose is life like this?

There are many times
When I have come in from work.
Collapsed in the chair,
And sighed with a tired and thankful sight,
‘Thank God the day is over!’
Or times when I have come out of a stressful meeting,
Or a tense conversation,
And with all my heart
Felt the relief when I screamed inside myself,
‘Thank the Almighty I got through that!’
and meant it..
With all my thankful heart meant it.

But looking back,
I know of a deeper thanks:
A thanks that is not just relief at being spared for another day,
But a thanks that knows,
Simply,
That you know.
You were in my seat at that meeting,
That visit,
That conversation,
You were there with me,
Supporting, caring, loving.

God of the moment,
Let me look back again
At all the moments where tension or tiredness
Have hi-jacked the comfort of your presence,
And see at that moment,
You stood and waited for a better moment
To tap me on the shoulder and let me know
You have loved me throughout.

And now, with that Almighty Love,
Let me look forward with certainty
To where I can be loved,
And supported,
And cared for yet again
By you,
God of each moment.

(Roddie Hamilton c All Year Round (1996), The Council of Churches for Britain and Ireland)

******

A Sunday Prayer

Lord, as in this new week paper, metal and plastic will pass through my hands and processes, and ‘phones and VDUs exchange messages and information – may I not forget that all things come from you, the Creator, Provider, Sustainer.

In the work of my hands may I glorify you.
In the work of my lips may I praise you.
In the thoughts of my mind may I adore you.
In the longing of my spirit may I reach out to you.

Lord, for today and every working day, grant to my colleagues and myself – patience with one another; a true spirit of co-operation; opportunities to laugh as well as to work together; and above all a new ability to perceive that you are here among us.

******

On Sunday I again heard about living out my faith – but I am afraid:
Afraid that I don’t know the Christian answers;
Afraid that I get tongue-tied;
Afraid of the workmate who pesters me.
Please let your love grow in me – that perfect love which casts out all fear, and reconciled. Amen.

******

Lord Jesus Christ, help me to think of you –
As my colleague, my fellow worker, my supervisor, my partner.
So I may learn to discover you in others with whom I work. Amen.

******

Forgive me, Father, when so often I think of my work as a curse – the interruptions of telephones, callers
and urgent orders; the frustration of unanswered letters or machine breakdowns; the monotony of routine
and repetitive duties.
Forgive me, Father, but that’s the way I feel. Amen.

******

Absenteeism is up; quality is down; production is slow; materials are delayed – and it’s Monday morning!
Lord God, you must know more about frustrations than I do, so I believe you understand my feelings now. Thank you for standing with me. Amen.

****** 

Holy Spirit, you are active to reveal the truth – and in my daily work there is so much untruth and halftruth.

Exaggeration is common; expenses and accounts are distorted; deliberately misleading statements are made; promises are not intended to be kept.

Assist me not to turn from your standards; help me to bear the pain of compromise; guide me to know when to reveal the truth. Amen.

******

In the life of his incarnate Son,
God has shown the dignity of human labour.
With this in mind I pray:
Lord, bless my work.

I bless you, Lord, for bringing me to this day;
I thank you for protecting my life and giving me what I need.
Lord, bless my work.

You have called me to serve you responsibly in the world;
Help me to play my part in building a just and Christian society.
Lord, bless my work.

Stay with me and everyone I meet this day; let me give your joy and peace to the world.
Lord, bless my work.

(Phil Aspinall)

******

Loving Father, I* am so readily tempted,
So fearful, so prone to lose my courage.
Sometimes I take the easy way out,
Allowing evil to triumph,
Shrinking from action,
Because I don’t hold firmly to my true beliefs.
I complain about my own suffering,
Which is as nothing
In comparison with that of your Son, my Saviour.

Forgive me, Father,
That it is my own waywardness, my own blindness,
That prevents me from recognising you in every part of my life.
Forgive me that I too often expect to find all the answers or to see [clearly**]
The way ahead.
May I be more ready to learn from the Lord Jesus Christ to trust in your fatherly care.
I ask it in his name. Amen.

(From ‘Companion to the Lectionary, Volume 3’, c. Neil Dixon, Epworth 1983)
* Put into the first person singular by the editor
** Added by editor



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