Prayers for the world of work
A resource for Preachers Worship Leaders and all thinking Christians
The words of St Benedict, at the head of this page, equate work with prayer—and by implication, prayer with work. The two go together: indeed they are inseparable. In our worship and private devotion there are people, groups and causes for which we pray naturally, and rightly, for people in need: hunger, pain, distress and for those who try to help them. for those we hardly think about from day to day unless we suddenly need them: police, fire and ambulance services. for people in the caring professions, perhaps because we feel slightly guilty that society undervalues them in monetary terms; praying for them is some kind of appeasement to our troubled consciences. for people involved in local and national government But aren’t we rather selective about those for whom we pray? Think about those working for profit-making businesses in industry and commerce, and those working for the less obviously caring public services such as the Inland Revenue. How often do we pray for them with any insight into their circumstances, or any real thought about their needs? Some in our congregations will belong to one or other of these groups. What about the section head at the DIY store, or the cleaner in the canteen at the car factory? In recent years churches have tried to come to terms with the fact that a number of committed Christians feel that their sphere of secular work is unvalued by their church community. It is almost as if the church wished that world of work were really not there at all. And what about those industry sectors with which we feel instinctively uncomfortable, like armaments manufacture or gambling? Still more extreme, how do you pray for workers in the sex industry, or organised crime, or the trade in harmful drugs, other than that they should find a way out of it? What if they are trapped in these occupations by violence and abuse? Or by their perception that this career is giving them a lifestyle that no other could match? And what about those who provide the markets that these occupations satisfy? Nevertheless, do they not need our prayers? Do they not deserve our prayers? Other examples will come to mind; different people will have different areas of discomfort. This prayer cycle is offered as an attempt to correct these imbalances within the life of the church. Or, rather, these prayer cycles, because in fact it offers three interlocking cycles. Each cycle is prefaced by some brief comments. Some space is provided for your own notes or additional prayers. The first cycle deals with roles and functions within corporate organisations The second cycle deals with the different moods and dispositions people bring to their work. The third cycle attempts to address the various industries and occupations in the world of work. The intention is that in praying for the world of work users should, on any one occasion, select at least one from each cycle. I have not found any easy way to create a monthly cycle, but it is possible that this will emerge as the project develops. If you are interested in contributing a suggestion or criticism look at the author page and read the author’s reflections, Lord God, who has made us all into one body in Christ, enable us to honour one another in our work. Help us to understand the ways in which we depend upon one another. Teach us to bear one another’s burdens and share one another’s joy. In our varied occupations enable us to serve one another with dignity and carefulness. May we receive with gratitude the work of other people. So continue your work of binding us together in your human family.
Laborare est orare To work is to pray St Benedict
Introduction Industries and Occupations Roles and Functions Moods and Disipostions
We pray for all involved in Government, National, Devolved and Local. In their service to the public may they be wise in balancing issues of secrecy and transparency. As they respond to sudden crises may they do so with far-sighted wisdom. As they govern for the good of all, grant them the humility to acknowledge perspectives other than those currently in favour, preferring sound thinking to fashionable opinions. In their deliberations grant them the grace to do justice, love mercy and walk humbly.
Introduction