last updated September 5, 2021
This Labour Day weekend, I’ve been thinking about work and prayer, so today I offer this round-up of prayer resources related to work, justice, unemployment, and job loss. As in my earlier articles on How to Pray When You Can’t Find the Words, in each case below, I’ve included a short excerpt with a link to the whole prayer so please do click through for more. For the rest of this series, please see How to Pray About Mental Illness, the Syrian Refugee Crisis, and Peace for some excellent resources when you run out of your own words.
In the spirit of Psalm 19:14, today I pray that the words of my mouth, the work of my hands, and the meditation of my heart might be acceptable to God, my Rock and my Redeemer (my own words in italics).
Praying for Our Daily Work
We work for you, God, in whatever we do.
Paid labour, volunteer work, our home life—
all our time we spend for you.
May the work that I will soon begin
Be a shimmering mirror of your handiwork
In the excellence of its execution,
In the joy of doing it for its own sake,
In my poverty of ownership over it,
In my openness to failure or success,
In my invitation to others to share in it
And in its bearing fruit for the world.
Deliver us in our various occupations from the service of self alone, that we may do the work you give us to do in truth and beauty and for the common good; for the sake of him who came among us as one who serves, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.
Lord, when I’m burned out, infuse me
with the light of Your Holy Spirit.
May the work I do and the way I do it bring hope, life and courage to all that I come into contact with today.
And, oh Lord, even in this day’s most stressful moments,
may I rest in You.
Sometimes we let work become a dictator.
We let it fill empty spaces in our lives
which should be filled with other things.
We neglect people we love because of our work.
Help us, God, to find you in our work,
to look for you in our work.
Help us as we seek a balance of work and play.
Praying for Justice at Work
God of justice,
you call us to treat the laborers in the vineyard fairly.
Your prophets decry the oppression of the workers.
Your people traveled forty years
to escape the oppressive work of the Egyptians.
Merciful and forgiving God,
when we establish just and living wages,
when we create safe and healthy working conditions,
when we provide harassment-free working places,
we are setting free the oppressed.
We are creating justice.
We are doing God’s work.
thank you for providing us
with the gift to share our talents.
Provide our community, our nation, our world
the fortitude to provide work for all
which is decent and fair.
May we never be too quick to give up on difficult relationships. Help us to be prayerfully persistent in working toward reconciliation. Invigorate our approach to social justice with creativity and innovation. Make us followers of Christ who uphold and honor the dignity of our neighbors. Work within systems that perpetuate racism and break down glass ceilings of inequality in the workplace.
Praying for Those Looking for Work
O God, who made us in your image and intended us for creative work;
look with love on those of us who are unemployed.
Help us to enjoy life together with those who have work
and to understand what kind of help we need to give one another,
whether in paid employment or not.
You bless us all with skills and gifts for labor.
You provide us opportunities to use them,
for the benefit of others as well as ourselves.
Guard and protect those who labor in the world.
Bless the work of our hands, O Lord.
Look kindly upon the unemployed and the disabled.
Give health to the sick, hope to the bereaved.
Keep us from laboring only for greed.
Make us loving and responsible in all that we do.
Lord Jesus, my desire to work is itself your gift. You gave me talents so I could shine Your light to others in the world. Send Your Spirit to guide me to work that will provide security and joy, and most of all the ability to serve You in love.
Praying for Those Dealing with Involuntary Job Loss
God, we pray for all those who have suddenly lost employment. There are many. We ask you to first give them peace and a settled confidence. Their natural response is to shock and then fear, and to begin questioning their abilities, the past accomplishments and their future prospects. Give them your encouragement today, and do so through surprising ways, both directly from your Spirit and through other people who come across their path.
Losing a job can be hard on the entire family, from spouse to children and even the dog, if money is tight and even the smallest costs cause stress. Please let my friend’s family be lifted up during this difficult time. I pray that they have the strength to remain calm and hopeful even as things seem to be falling apart. I pray their children are fed and clothed, and please give my friend the courage to let me know if these basic necessities are not being met so I can provide help.
God of the unknown journey and the twisting path,
be our guide in this time of grief and change.
Enlighten us to the work you would have us do.
Keep our eyes focused on the employment that never ends,
the work we do for your kingdom,
trusting that you will provide for our needs.
Writing/Reflection Prompt: Which of these prayers resonates with you most at this time? What is your prayer for this Labour Day?
For more on writing and other acts of faith,