How to Pray about Your Work
by Howard E. Butt Jr. (reprinted from How to Pray about Your Work, November 20, 2005) from The High Calling of Our Daily Work.
Read (Rom. 6:11)
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
In my morning quiet time, I start by being thankful for the trustworthiness of God. Eventually, I ask for spiritual guidance in the dilemmas of the moment, but first I concentrate on God’s character and His action in history. Beginning with praise and thanksgiving pulls me out of my subjective hullabaloo and turns my thoughts to God’s reliability, which He has proven again and again. Trusting God is first of all a matter of remembering who He is and what He has done for us.
Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. (Ex. 3:6)
“I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob,” the Lord tells Moses and the Israelites. He wants them to remember God’s mighty deeds in history as a means of trusting His character and His dependably loving action toward His people. When I begin to pray, I am often thankful for that salvation history, recent world history, and for my own personal history—all as a way of recognizing God’s trustworthiness and integrating myself consciously into God’s plan. It’s the only plan on this earth that’s in any way reliable. I think of the covenant with Moses, the new covenant in Christ’s blood, the spread of the Gospel around the world, and its civilizing effect wherever it has been accepted. I think of the defeat of the Nazis, then of worldwide communism, and in these reflections I take courage that ultimately every global crisis will find its solution as well.
I constantly remind myself of the wonderful father and mother God gave me, of my own unconscious rebellion against them, and of the good God brought out of that entire long, slow, and painful awareness-and-triumph process. Without my parents, I would never have had the blessings I enjoy, the opportunities for work and service that are mine, and the sheer enjoyment of my life. Those rough patches fade from my memory now as I cherish even more the reconciled, purified, and deepened love and gratitude I feel for my parents.
Today’s anxiety and discouragement will also become a distant memory—perhaps even a comical one. Because the God who meets all our needs will meet the ones I face today. My business here at my prayers is to trust the Triune God by focusing on who He is, what He has done, and His promised victory over my current concerns.
I call two verses to mind.
“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 6:11).
“It is because of him [God] that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness, and redemption” (1 Cor. 1:30).
Then, I pray the following, seeking to appropriate the truth of these Scriptures:
I count myself dead to my sin,
Alive to Your righteousness;
Dead to myself and my self-will,
Alive to Your will for me and in me;
I count myself dead to my disappointments, discouragement, and despair,
Alive to hope, thanksgiving, praise, and rejoicing;
I count myself dead to fear and alive to faith