At Work

The Importance of Prayer in the Workplace

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Fluorescent lights flicker on as bright chunks of sunlight slip through cracks in the blinds. The aroma of brewing coffee wafts though the air amidst quiet conversations between co-workers serenaded by the chirps of awakening computer monitors.

It’s morning in corporate America.

What are your morning office rituals? Perhaps you check your inbox, chat with coworkers, or head straight to the coffee pot.  Maybe you choose to spend a few minutes alone in the quiet of your office or cubicle.

These still moments are a precious commodity to savor before the onslaught of the workday.

We all have rituals and routines in the office. These rhythms shape the outcome of our days. Think about the last time you missed your morning cup of coffee. Most likely the quality of your workday suffered!

Rituals and routines matter and yet Christians often disregard what should be the most important workplace habit: prayer.

The Importance of Prayer in the Workplace

Most Christians limit the cultivation of habits of prayer to a few words said over the dinner table or before bed. Yet, if there is no sacred-secular divide, why would we limit our habits of prayer to the church and forget the cubicle?

If all of work is worship, should we not regularly offer up our labors in prayer to the Lord?

Perhaps the most important function of prayer is that it postures us correctly before God and others. Prayer tells the truth about who we are as people.

Tim Keller emphasizes the important posturing nature of prayer:

It [prayer] is the way we know God, the way we finally treat God as God.

Prayer is the way we treat God as God. Is this not essential to our work?

In acknowledging that he is Lord, the One in ultimate control, we experience the freedom to be human. There is a blessed humility resulting from prayer that will inevitably percolate through our interactions with co-workers, supervisors, and subordinates.

Right posture before God leads to right posture before others.

Gaining Perspective from Prayer

In addition to humility, prayer offers the peace of an eternal perspective that comes from acknowledging God as real and present. Again, from Keller:

Prayer is like waking up from a nightmare to reality. We laugh at what we took so seriously inside the dream. We realize that all is truly well.

Prayer provides the ultimate perspective over our lives. As Paul writes in Romans 8:31-32,

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?

Being secure in our status as children of God, we can face the day with courage and confidence.

Tomorrow morning, as you enter the office, consider spending a few moments in prayer to prepare for the day. There is great joy and peace to be discovered in making prayer an office habit. And of course, don’t miss that all-too-important morning cup of Joe.

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  • Jacob Mueller

    Excellent read Caroline! I’ve found 5 minutes of prayer before getting out of the car places my heart in a correct posture for the rest of the day. You briefly mentioned humility, but I think that’s a huge effect of work-prayer, especially if you’re good at your job. It’s essential to recognize that all things are gifts, even the workplace successes!

  • Amarah

    This is very true. I know from experience that as I get busier with school, I go to God and pray less and less it seems. But those are the times when I need God the most! I still struggle with almost forgetting about Him, taking my life into my own hands, and trying to continue in my own feeble strength. Why is it that humans want to be independent? Is it because we aren’t humble enough to accept that we can’t do everything on our own? Well the truth is that we can’t. Prayer is an important and necessary connection we make with God. And we don’t only pray to get our “refill”, though that is something we get from God, we pray because we love God. We don’t go to Him out of obligation but out of love. He provides us with all the strength we need to make it through the day, month, year, and our lives.

  • Jason Mitchell

    True and well said. Thanks for the encouragement.

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