Work and Pray
We all have our tasks and responsibilities. We go to school, the office or the jobsite, and there’s always lots to do in our homes and churches too.
We can meet all this labour with mixed feelings. Today you might be excited to tackle your duties again, or you might be struggling with a sense of boredom, frustration or stress.
In Psalm 90, Moses acknowledges that our days are marked by “toil and trouble” (v. 10). So we need to think about what we’re doing. Why are we working so hard? What is it all for? And where will we get the strength for all this activity?
Consider his prayer in verse 17,
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us.
Together with Moses we offer this petition as we work, because compared to the everlasting God, we’re but a passing breath—we are like grass that thrives for a short time before it fades and withers (v. 6).
This humbles us as we work, and it means that we need to be realistic about what we can accomplish. For the life that God has entrusted to us is fragile. It can change in an instant: with a layoff, an illness, an accident—even death. If we haven’t served the Lord before that final moment arrives, even our best efforts and finest achievements will amount to nothing.
So daily we need to depend on the blessing of God, praying while we work: “Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us.” This is asking God to be patient with all the shortcomings of our service, and asking God to strengthen us in all our toils.
And when God’s gracious favour does rest upon us, the work of our hands gets established (v. 17). Now it has a point and a purpose. For by his sacrifice, Christ redeemed our life from sin and futility. He freed us from Satan’s cruel bondage in order to be the servants of the living God.
Now God uses our humble labours for something much bigger than they first appear to be. When we devote them to him, our labours can take their place in that beautiful project called God’s kingdom, and the church of Christ. As 1 Corinthians 15:58 says,
Always abound in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain.
Labouring in the Lord and for the Lord is never wasted. Such labours will be established, even for an eternity.
Done in the Lord’s strength, and for his glory, your work today has a worthy and lasting purpose!