Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Workplace Wednesday: Make Your Work a Prayer

pray without ceasing - 1 Thessalonians 5:17

When I first came back to the Church, I felt overwhelmed by this statement.  How could I pray without ceasing? I was working a full time job and trying to take care of my family. I could barely find time to pray, let alone to pray without ceasing.  However, as I began to study the Saints like Blessed Mother Theresa of Calcutta and St. Therese of Lisieux, it became clear to me that praying without ceasing was as simple as offering my work to God as a sign of my love for Him.  If everything I did, I did for God, then everything I did became a prayer.

It is a human tendency to compartmentalize our lives; to put our faith life in one box and our work life in another box and our home life in yet another box.  Yet, this is a mistake.  God wants to be let out of the box and brought into every aspect of our lives, whether we are at work, in church, at home, or at school.  If we let Him out of that box and let Him in, He will help us to improve every aspect of our lives.  

To offer our work as a prayer to God, we need only make that conscious decision that whatever we do we are going to do it as if we were doing it for God.  We need to act as if God himself were going to be the recipient of the fruits of our labor.  If we work in a people-facing position, such as customer service or nursing or teaching, this means treating every person we work with as if they were Jesus in disguise.  If part of our job involves filling out paperwork or cleaning toilets or even taking out the garbage, we must do that work as if we were doing it for God, as our personal love offering to Him.  

This can make a particularly difficult boss easier to work with because the joke is on our boss - he or she isn't really the one in charge.  We're doing our work for Jesus, but we don't have to let them in on our joke unless they ask. We obey that boss as if he or she were Jesus in disguise, and work hard to go above and beyond what they ask of us just as we would if this were God asking us to do it.  Co-workers who are challenging become a way of showing God just how much we love Him by how we treat them.

In this way, our whole day is spent in prayer.  Our very work becomes a prayer, the way we treat others another prayer, and by the end of the day we find that we have wasted none of our time for we have done our best to serve God in everything we've done. This is so pleasing to God.

If it is hard to imagine work as a prayer, remember that true prayer is a conversation with God and not all conversations need words.  When your husband comes home with a bouquet of flowers unexpectedly, he doesn't need to say the words "I love you" because that action spoke for him.  When your wife takes the time to fix your favorite dinner or desert unexpectedly and without ulterior motive, she doesn't need to say, "I love you" because the actions speak of that quite clearly.  When we do all of our work with great love because of how we feel about Christ, our actions tell God just how much He means to us and that is the best prayer of all.

Popular Posts