Two-Week-Long Cycle: Work Prayers for Each Day
This two-week-long cycle of work prayers is 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.
(From Herts & Beds Industrial Mission)
“Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit”
Glory is rightly to be given to the Father, creator of heaven and earth, whose word brought creation into being, and who actively sustains, upholds and oversees it.
Glory to the Son, living, dying, raised to life and so making abundant new and eternal life available to humanity – a work of re-creation.
Glory to the Holy Spirit, constantly active, convincing the world of sin, righteousness and judgement and bearing witness to the truth as it is in Jesus.
Review the past week with its evidence of God’s varied provision for your needs, and look with hope and expectation into this new week.
Pray for the right combination of worship and leisure on Sundays; for those working to provide essential services and recreational opportunities, that they do not become submerged by the claims of this world.
The purpose of work
The weekly pay packet or monthly cheque may often be given as the reason for working. Yet creativity, personal development and contributions to community life should be more powerful underlying reasons.
Pray that the place of work in the realm of God’s redemptive plan may be accepted and taught.
Pray that work may provide opportunity for personal growth, and that Christians in all occupations may truly believe they are fulfilling their vocation.
Thank God for the work you and your family engage in.
“Give grace to us, our families and friends, and to all our neighbours; that we may serve Christ in one another, and love as he loves us”.
Money – wealth
Cost of living, pay claims, increased benefits, changing interest rates – our society revolves around the exchange of money. Economic policies are fashioned by people, whether in government, finance houses or large, trans-national organisations. These people at the apex of secular power structures seem remote and distant from ordinary life. Prayer may be the only way most of us have of affecting them or of opening up more direct links with them and so influencing their decisions.
Pray that the “love of money” may dominate society’s objectives less.
Pray that those who control large budgets may use these resources with care and compassion.
Pray for those who are poor managers of their domestic finances – and hence often in debt; for those caught in the poverty trap; for those who are destitute (for whatever reason) and for all who try to help them.
Pray for the staff of the local Department of Social Security, under pressure from many applicants.
Employment in large, possibly trans-national companies can offer varied experience and progress. It can also mean feeling helpless, as decisions with far-reaching local effects are made at a distance- possibly overseas. Inefficient use of human and material resources can lead to waste and feeling useless. Takeover bids result in loss of identity of smaller firms and can destroy personal friendly working relationships.
Give thanks for the training and advancement prospects provided by large companies.
Pray for all employees to be aware of the value of their contribution to the whole concern.
Pray for shareholders to remember that people matter more than dividends.
Many small businesses come into being every year, yet unhappily a high percentage fail. However, they meet community needs and provide satisfying work for small groups. Co-operatives enable those with common interests to use their abilities to fulfil shared visions. The small general store or local newsagent often demands long hours of work, while providing a service to the neighbourhood – especially the elderly.
Pray for renewed hope for those with cash-flow problems or who have been forced to close their businesses.
These may be school leavers, with or without certificates of some sort; the skilled tradesman made redundant due to new technology; the early-retired whose long-term ambitions have been cut short. Try to imagine the dull hopelessness of days and months of inactivity and disappointment as a job does not materialise.
Pray for unemployed people to be granted a spirit of hope, and to retain their sense of dignity and selfworth.
Pray that the families of unemployed people may accept and support them.
Give thanks for the deepened understanding of the pain of being without work and for those whose decisions nationally and locally create more jobs.
Christian witness at work
Christian men and women are the Lord’s front-line troops in the working world. Urged by the church to be “salt” and “light”; judged by their colleagues by the highest standards.
Pray for those in your family and in your congregation who daily face these challenges.
Give thanks for the spiritual support given by Christian groups at work.
Pray for seminars, study groups and for literature relating faith to work to be more widely and fully used.
Background to worship
The ceaseless existence and activity of almighty God – to whom all honour is due – is the background to our worship. Even as congregations gather for worship today, many people are at work. Basic services of heating, lighting, travelling etc. have to be provided; goods are in transit by sea, land and air; news is being collected and transmitted; the ill and dependent need attention at all times – as do farm animals.
Prayer: “Bless the Lord all created things; sing his praise and exult him for ever”.
Pray for those who work today in the service industries, in transport, farming, media presentation, and in caring for others. For those in works which must function continuously twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. For Christians on shift work, unable to share in public worship today.
“The earth is the Lord’s”.
In the divine plan, humankind has been entrusted with responsible oversight (stewardship) of this planet. Its resources need to be safeguarded, and the environment maintained in a healthy state for the sake of future generations. Too much can so easily be used too quickly, for selfish ends. Greed is traditionally included in the list of deadly sins.
Prayer: “Almighty God, you have created the heavens and the earth and made human beings in your image. Teach us to discern your hand in all your works, and to serve you with reverence and thanksgiving.”
Pray: Praise God for the rich resources of this planet, and the universe. Pray that scientists may be wise and prudent in their handling of these God-given materials.
Give thanks for the increasing concern to preserve high quality in the environment.
For most adults the Monday to Friday work is paid employment: the use of their time, skills, physical and mental energy are rewarded with money. Such work may be monotonous or exciting, repetitive or creative, satisfying or frustrating. It may be in manufacturing, retailing, education, the armed forces – the list is long.
Look around you where you are now: at the clothes you wear, the furnishings of the room, this sheet of paper itself. Think through the range of goods recently bought at the local shop or supermarket. Try to imagine the number and variety of people and processes involved in bringing these goods to you, people unknown to you, but known to God and loves by him. Some may acknowledge them, or some may be of non-Christian faiths, others not prepared to profess any faith. The life of a community depends on the efforts of so many.
Pray: For those who maintain a Christian presence in office, shop, factory, college or other workplace.
For those whose work is dangerous – for astronauts, research scientists, miners, building site workers.
For those whose work is tedious or in conditions that are mentally or physically demanding.
Hope, ambition, vision – all are desirable characteristics in young people, who have their life before them. But if there is little hope of any work at all, let alone work that suits their interests or gifts, what then? What of the disabled, or the mentally or physically handicapped? Feelings of frustration, uselessness, boredom. Hopelessness and even anger against society can easily arise. The ability to make a personal contribution to the life of the community is an important factor in maintaining self-dignity as a child of God.
Some few may not want to work, but most unemployed feel deprived and even degraded because no opportunities are offered.
Pray: For those frustrated by months of enforced idleness, and for their families.
For those made redundant, and those anxious about their future work situation.
Pray that government and industry may strive to produce a society in which opportunities for personal
development will be more widely available.
Pray against the demon of despair.
Christians at work
Every day many believers will be trying to make a Christian contribution of thought or insight relevant to their work situation – or remaining aloof from it – or inwardly struggling with feelings of guilt at being unable to translate faith into practice.
If Jesus is Lord (as he is!) then he is Lord of all life. Christians at work have to bear witness to their new life by what is done as well as by what is said; and also by realistic application of Christian teachings to all aspects of the workplace – to procedures, policies, products – everything.
Prayer: “Send us out in the power of your Spirit, to live and work to your praise and glory”.
Pray: That Christians will be eager to relate their faith to their daily occupation; that congregations will seek their members at work as engaged in mission and outreach, and so provide support and training. For groups of Christians who meet in workplaces, that they may be glad to strive for the coming of the Kingdom there.
“God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself” (2 Corinthians 5: 9)
Much reconciliation is needed in the secular world. Stable community life depends upon understanding, forbearance, mutual respect and willingness to find common outlooks and goals from which co-operation can proceed. When working relationships break down they may become headline news. A strike can cause a legacy of stress and bitterness, which can infiltrate a neighbourhood and affect families.
Pray: Give thanks for the rarely publicised, patient, skilled and professional work done by negotiators on behalf of those they represent.
For the unity and sense of working together found in small businesses, and in a growing number of cooperatives.
Pray for an increase of love, truth and truthfulness in our industrial society.
Pray for Christians who may find themselves on opposite sides in a dispute.
(As for Monday of previous week)
Mission in industrial society
Individuals and groups are working to strengthen the connections between the Christian faith and the society in which we are set. Opportunities are being provided for church people to discover more of what industry is like and how it affects people. How to interpret and communicate the gospel of Jesus Christ to our society is a challenging part of the mission of the church.
Pray: For Faith and Work programmes – helping people to overcome the faith-work divide.
For Church Action With the Unemployed – supporting local initiatives to help those without a job.
For full-time and part-time industrial chaplains in their pastoral and prophetic ministry.
I praise you for the enjoyment of my daily work; the challenge of new problems, the opportunities to exercise skill, the satisfaction of job well done, the pleasure of a quality product. Worship and work blend together as my offering to you, my Lord and my God.