What does it look like to “pray without ceasing?” How might a prayerful heart oriented towards God express itself at work?
I Thessalonians 5:16-18 says,
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Mark Herringshaw, teaching pastor at North Heights Lutheran Church in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Nicole Symmonds, managing editor at UrbanFaith.com, recently created a helpful list of “21 Ways to Pray at Work.” They write,
Many of us will spend the majority of our waking hours behind a desk, having only one prayer – the one that we prayed in the morning – to keep us throughout the day.
Here are some of their tips. View them as suggestions for what “pray without ceasing” might mean – not as a list of rules which you have to follow.
1. Pray on your way into work in the morning:
Glance at the sign or logo of your organization. Thank God for his provision to you and your family. Ask God to bless all the individuals who are a part of this enterprise.
2. Pray while working on your office phone and contact list:
Pray the ancient Hebrew blessing for your contacts: “The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you. The Lord lift up his countenance on you and grant you his peace.”
3. Pray while you’re in a meeting:
Pray to focus on the message that is being delivered, that you will ask the necessary and appropriate questions and make sensible comments.
4. Pray when you hear of firings and layoffs:
Pray to not be taken by the spirit of fear or anxiety, but of calmness and peace. If you hear of colleagues getting fired or laid off, pray for their peace and provision.
5. Pray when you have to work late or travel:
Pray that God would protect your family in your absence and give them patience and understanding to adjust to your business and travel schedule. But also pray that he give you the courage to erect the proper boundaries so that you may not become more consumed with your work than you are with your family life.
You can read all twenty-one of Herringshaw’s and Symmonds’s tips here. These are just some of the ways we can begin to develop a habit of prayer while at work. It’s certainly not an exhaustive list, and you may have creative ideas for praying throughout the day (please share in the comments section below).
This list is also not meant to be a checklist, something we have to do out of obligation. It’s important that our prayer be Spirit-led. True prayer is “in the Spirit.” There is a difference between forced or rote prayer and spontaneous prayer led by the Spirit. Ephesians 6:18 says,
With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.
Our places of employment are the areas of responsibility God has called us to cultivate. We can walk and converse with God through our offices and construction sites and classrooms the way Adam walked with God through the Garden of Eden, in a spirit of total dependence on him to equip us with what we need to carry out our responsibilities.
Do you have ideas about how you can pray unceasingly at work? Leave your comments here.
Photo taken from IFWE’s new video, “Freedom to Flourish.” Watch it here.