Praying While We Work
Written By Brent Nelsen
Emails crowding my inbox. Bosses to please. Employees to monitor. Looming deadlines. Meetings that could have been an email. Pushy customers. Office drama. Did I mention email? I’m just trying to keep up with my work, which, if I’m lucky,I can focus on without getting interrupted every few minutes.
I get it. Praying at work is a pretty daunting task. For many of us the question is not whether we should pray while we work, but a more practical one of how is it even possible? I have spent plenty of time in chaotic working environments. There were many days when saying grace before dinner was the first time I had thought about Jesus since my morning Bible reading. The majority of my day was just a gaping hole in my spiritual life.
In Peter Scazzero’s book Emotionally Healthy Spirituality Day by Day, I encountered the idea of the Daily Office for the first time, in which you set aside two times a day to pray, usually in the morning and evening. Instead of choosing between time in prayer and quality time with my kids, I resolved to spend time in prayer at work.
Praying at my desk was too distracting, so I began taking a 5-10 minute prayer walk in the afternoon. It gave me a chance to reflect on my day and pray for whatever was coming up later. I found that the prayer walk had three benefits:
- I was more attentive to the Holy Spirit throughout my day because I was finally inviting him to be a part of it.
- The mental break from my work helped me to be more focused when I returned to it.
- It provided a few minutes of healthy exercise for my body.
Later on I dedicated a portion of my commute to prayer. I identified two markers along my drive between which I would turn off all distractions (radio, music, podcasts) in order to spend time praying. My morning commute allowed me to pray over the upcoming workday, and my evening commute allowed me to give back to God any stressors that occurred during the day. These prayer times kept me from taking my stress out on my family when I got home.
How can you be creative about incorporating prayer into your workday? Would a ten minute afternoon prayer walk or praying during your commute help center your day around Jesus and His kingdom?
For those of you that are caretakers, you can’t leave your work behind at the end of the day. Your 3-year-old may have declared himself as ‘boss’ and decided to stop using the potty. Time can slip away until it’s bedtime. Parents often need to be more creative about incorporating prayer. Can you strap the kids in the stroller and go for a prayer walk? Or maybe dedicate your time doing a recurring task like laundry as “laundry and prayer time”?
Week 2 of 10 Prayer
Take time to reread Philippians 3:1-11 from Sunday. Review your notes. What is God bringing back to mind from His Word?
How you end your day impacts rest and rejuvenation for the next. God’s people throughout history have practiced a surrendering of all things in prayer before they laid down to sleep. While we zero in on the discipline of prayer, each Sunday we will engage in two prayers, allowing the repetition to help us be at home in these prayers.
How you start your day informs how you go about your day. Throughout history, God’s people rose early to focus their heart, soul, mind and strength in prayer with God. While we zero in on the discipline of prayer, each Sunday we will engage in two prayers, allowing the repetition to help us be at home in these prayers.