How should we pray for our work?
This is part 5 in a 9 segment focus on this question. It is driven by a number of factors I’ve observed over the years.
- The primary time people ask for work-related prayer is when they need a job.
- Dealing with difficult people at work, usually the boss, is a distant second in pryer request frequency.
- I’ve observed in myself, that much of my work focused praying is about avoiding failure or finding a fulfilling career. Somewhat stuck on me to be candid.
These data points drive us to find a better prayer life for our work life.
The Jesus Model Prayer
We’ve been exploring the request of Jesus’ first followers—“teach us to pray”—and applying it to work. Teach us to pray for our work. In this post we come to the third request, “give us this day our daily bread.”
First we note that this request, this personal request, comes after two calibrating requests, hallowed be thy name and thy kingdom come/thy will be done. Jesus model prayer trains us to put God first. Yet he doesn’t ask us to stop there. No, he urges us to ask for God to provide what we need.
Second, “daily bread” summarizes our need. One could not survive without daily nourishment and in ancient economies, vast majorities lived at a subsistence level. And though most of us have stocked refrigerators, amply supplied cupboards, and ample options for purchasing prepared food, we still have daily needs.
Daily Bread on the Job.
What do you need (or will you need) today at work? Ask God to give it to you. You could need wisdom, diligence, discernment, grace, courage, strength, patience, presence of mind, or peace. Perhaps there’s a particularly deal or project that could bring “daily bread” for your team. Perhaps a colleague has a personal challenge and you need a sense of clarity regarding how to help them. Perhaps you’re not feeling well physically or are emotionally drained from something at home and you need the horsepower to press through. All of these and more are subsumed in the idea of “daily bread.” Jesus coaches us to ask him for what we will need today.
The Challenge And Hope of Daily Bread
For me the challenge of daily bread is the word daily. What ever the commodity—earnings, security, recognized success, numerical results, etc. I want more than daily. In fact, I want guarantees that I’ll have more than enough and that I will like the end of the story. To bring it down to depending God just for today (with the implied corollary to stop worrying about tomorrow), that’s a challenge. But it’s a challenge laced with hope.
As Jesus says just a paragraph or two after his instruction on prayer (See Matthew 6), we need not worry. God knows what we need and will provide. We are asking God to give us what we need. We ask him because he’s a good and caring father who is absolutely committed to give us whatever daily bread is needed today. For a recovering control freak, who wants to work his way to security, praying for daily bread at work, is good medicine.
How About You?
What is typical daily bread look like for your work life?