Monday, July 25, 2005

A Prayer For Good and Useful Labor

Gracious God, our Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer, in whom we live and move and have our being: You are at work always, and have given us, your children, dignity and meaning by calling us to labor on your behalf in the world. Yet we live in a world where, in changing times, the impersonal forces of economics, technology and government interact in ways that leave us vulnerable to unemployment and underemployment. We lift up before you all who cannot find work; all who cannot find work that pays a living wage; all who cannot find work appropriate to their talents, interests and experience. We pray for all those who live in anxiety over the prospect of losing their jobs. We also hold in prayer all who seek your will in discerning a vocation to serve the Body of Christ. We pray that you will raise up leaders in the public and private sectors who have both vision and humanity to promote policies leading to meaningful, dignified work for all who seek it. We pray that our leaders in the Church recognize the gifts of all those you have called to service in your Church. We pray that you will help each of us in our own work or our search for work. We ask all of these things in the name of Jesus Christ, in whom and through whom and for whom all things were made, whose own most holy work of redemption and reconciliation makes us bold to pray. Amen.


J.C. Fisher said...


LutheranChik said...

This is just my own take on the prayer we pray every week at my church. I was so proud of our pastor -- he and a couple other clergypeople from mainline churches got involved in one of those "day of prayer" events in one community...the kind that are heavily front-loaded with conservative evangelicals, that sometimes wind up becoming bully pulpits for chronically angry folks eager to inveigh against "sinners" and pat themselves on the back for being such fine, upstanding Christian folks...and the focus of this event was shifted to the very real problem of un- and underemployment in the area.

Dwight P. said...

These are petitions to which the people of God may say "Amen" (something that should always be of concern to those of us who craft petitions for public prayer). My only "tweaking" would be this: You pray that God is "always at work." That seems (but doesn't necessarily) to ignore that on the Seventh Day, God rests/rested.

I think sabbath is a part of the opus dei, so I recommend that when people are zealous on the issue of vocations and work, they not forget that.

I also recognize that this is ancillary to what you express concern about. "Sabbath" is not the equivalent of unemployment or underemployment of misemployment. Still, there may be something to a spiritual discipline that sees in such misfortune an opportunity for Sabbath.

What do you think?


LutheranChik said...

Dwight: Good points. (And hello!)

(This is why I love the Internet; it makes you get smarter.)

There is a book out there called, I think, The Joy of Not Working -- I think it was in the Alternatives catalog. The gist of it, according to the description, is encouraging people to use whatever down times they have from work, for whatever reason -- unemployment, retirement, lifestyle downscaling, maternity/paternity leave -- as opportunities for spiritual/personal growth. I can't vouch for the content since I haven't read it myself, but it might be a helpful read for persons in these situations.

And -- didn't Marva Dawn address the idea of sabbath in at least one of her books?

Anyhow...that would indeed be a good addition to the prayer -- a prayer that persons may find God's presence, rest, peace, growth, insight, relationship and other good things in the context of their "down" time.

Dwight P. said...

Yes, Marva Dawn's book is "Keeping the Sabbath Wholly." It's quite good -- although, as in all her books, she sort of plows one under with all the analysis and re-analysis and quotes.

I think sabbath is way overlooked in Christian theology: And I'm not sure that we're right in transferring thinking about Sabbath to Sunday, but that awaits another thread!


J.C. Fisher said...

I want to offer thanksgiving, that my friend skittles (the one I corrupted to Episcopalian, from Lutheran, LC *g*), also groaning under the burden of unemployment in Michigan, has just today obtained full-time employment (in basically the best job she could possibly hope for . . . and still close-by to me! :-D)


[I welcome---nay, plead!---everyone to pray that I find a job . . . a job that hires me, that is!]