Monday, September 1

Prayers for the Work Day




Potato Planting - Van Gogh, 1884
Most of us spend the largest part of our days working, at employment and also in our homes caring for them. Here are two beautiful, practical prayers on the theme of work from the heart and pen of a pastor who has taught me through his writings, Rev. Peter John Cameron. 

The first group of petitions in this first prayer ask for protection, a beautiful example of how to use the petition in the Lord's Prayer, "and lead us not into temptation" as a seed for our prayers. The second group of petitions ask for grace, a fleshing out of the petition, "give us this day our daily bread."



Prayer to Sanctify Work1


In a spirit of sacrifice, we consecrate our work day to the Lord and pray:


R:  Lord, protect.


From the temptation to be listless and lazy: R              FROM TEMPTATION


From the temptation to complain: R


From the temptation to be critical of my boss: R

 
Peasant Woman Digging, van Gogh, 1885
From the temptation to cheat or to be dishonest with others: R


From the temptation to gossip: R


From the temptation to lateness: R


From the temptation to waste time: R


From the temptation to be judgmental of my co-workers: R


From the temptation to procrastinate: R


From the temptation to indolence and lethargy: R


From the temptation to be hyper-critical: R


From the temptation to engage in idle conversation: R


From the temptation to be quick to take offense: R


From the temptation to shift my work onto others: R


From the temptation to impatience: R


From the temptation to cut corners or to be sloppy: R


From the temptation to give in to weariness: R

FOR GRACE


Basket of Potatoes, van Gogh, 1885

R:  Lord, please grant it.


For the grace to be a peacemaker: R


For the grace to witness to you by word and example: R


For the grace to be energetic and committed: R


For the grace to take 
initiative: R


For the grace to be compassionate 
and forgiving: R


For the grace to offer up all tedium and drudgery: R


For the grace to be attentive to those in need: R


For the grace to be generous in sharing: R


For the grace to be prudent in dealing with others: R


For the grace to be kind: R


For the grace to be understanding: R


For the grace to fulfill my responsibilities well: R


For the grace to be patient and persevering: R


For the grace to put myself in others’ shoes: R


For the grace to be dedicated and undistracted: R


For the grace to be honest and forthright: R


For the grace to be hard working: R


For the grace to be free of stress: R


For the grace to insight to solve problems: R


For the grace to industriousness: R


For the grace to resolve conflicts and difficulties: R
The Potato Eaters, van Gogh, 1885


For the grace to put up with hardships: R


For the grace to esteem the dignity of my co-workers: R


For the grace to be thankful for the chance to work: R


For the grace to spread the Good News of the Gospel: R





Prayer After Work2
 Most merciful Father, thank you for this day of work with all its achievements as well as its burdens. Thank you for all the successes, the challenges, and even the difficulties that it brought me. Your Son once said to his apostles, “Come by yourselves to an out of the way place and rest a little.” Thank you for this gift of rest. May this time be a chance for me to renew my gratitude for all your blessings. In your great compassion and generosity, please be mindful of those who are out of work. And help me to do a better job tomorrow. I ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen. 



1Prayer to Sanctify Work, Father Peter John Cameron, Magnificat, September 2014, page 9-10 
2Prayer After Work, ibid, page 11



 
I hope you will find these prayers helpful in giving your work hours and days to the Lord. I know they have been helpful to me. May God's blessing of peace be with you all. 

for a video combining a Bach Prelude and a reflection on Vincent van Gogh's, "A Pair of Shoes (1866), from my piano solo collection.



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MUSIC LINKS

The Promise of Living - Copland from "The Tender Land"


And a little fun while you work:






Saturday, August 30

Stay with Us for It Is Evening

Who will we invite to stay with us this night?

From Luke 24 . . .

So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them.
Stay with us
For it is evening
And the day is now far spent.

Bleib bei uns
Denn es will Abend werden
Und der Tag hat sich geneiget 
Set here is an exquisite a capella choral setting by Josef Rheinberger (1839-1901), Abendlied (Evening Song), Op. 69.

The text comes from the story of what is called "The Walk to Emmaus" where following the crucifixion of Jesus, two disciples were joined by a stranger as they walked to a nearby town. They didn't recognize it was Jesus until sharing a meal later that evening. As they approached the town, they urged their fellow traveler, with whom they had fallen into deep conversation, "stay with us." He stays and their evening meal becomes one for the history books as they say.




The Italian painter Caravaggio was so intrigued by this story of the meal after the walk that he did two paintings of the same subject, in 1601 and 1606 "Supper at Emmaus." When Jesus blesses the bread, the eyes of the disciples are opened and they recognize that it is the Lord. At that moment of recognition Jesus disappears. Good move Jesus! Let them (and us) ponder what has just happened. I love their conversation after Jesus vanishes . . . 

Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?
This scene is ours every evening too. We come to the the end of the day and Jesus was and is with us, loving us and teaching us all along the way. I find I have too often been blind to his presence during the day, or at least not paying attention to it. You too? 

A good practice at evening is to clear the slate for the day and ask the Lord, with opened eyes, in both a physical and a spiritual sense "Stay with us, for it is evening, and the day is now far spent."

Peace to all this evening.

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MUSIC LINKS

Abendlied - Stay with Us, Rheinberger, Sung by the Cambridge Singers

Stay with US - by Egil Hovland, Sung by the National Lutheran Choir