by Natalie LaValley
In the beginning, God brought order out of chaos. Genesis 1 describes God peacefully dividing the light from the dark, the land from the sea, and so on. This is a striking contrast to the mythology of the Israelites’ close neighbors, who believed that creation was formed from war and destruction among the gods. Only God creates peacefully, with order instead of destruction.
So what does this have to do with us today? As God’s servants, created in His image, every one of us has the opportunity to bring a little bit of order into the chaos we face in the world. We should start with our own personal lives. The best way we can become instruments of peace instead of chaos is through prayer. When we pray, we are inviting God, the ultimate arbiter of order, into a situation. Saying a prayer to begin and end your work or other frequent tasks you have is an excellent way to invite God to order your daily rhythm. You can keep the prayers simple and meaningful, saying them silently or aloud.
Here is an example prayer for beginning work:
Grant me the portion of strength in body, mind, and spirit
I need to complete my tasks with excellence.
May I work as unto Thee, and not for men.
May I treat others as bearers of Thy holy image,
Not as means or obstacles to my ends.
May I find my identity in bearing Thy likeness,
Not in achieving earthly success.
By beginning your work with a prayer, you are dedicating it to God and renewing your own perspective. Of course, you can make your prayer shorter if that makes it easier to memorize and say. You can also download these iPhone and computer wallpapers with the prayers from this post written out. If you don’t have a regular job, you can still write a prayer for taking care of your children, for working on projects, for creating art, or even for doing the laundry.
Saying a prayer to end your work is just as important as saying a prayer to begin your work–especially in a society in which we have computers, phones, and the Internet in our homes. Technology enables you to check emails, answer phone calls, and do additional work when you should be resting or spending time with people. While this capability is not bad, you must be extra conscious of choosing to finish your work and actually dedicate a portion of your day to resting. Having a prayer to end your work every day is a way of reminding yourself, “I’m done, and my work is in God’s hands. It’s time to rest and to focus on my family and loved ones now.”
Here’s an example of a prayer for ending work:
Merciful Father, Giver of Peace,
I leave my work in Thy hands.
I thank you for what I was able to do
And for what I was not able to do.
May the grace of Your peace rest upon my mind
So that I leave behind all worry over what I have done today
And what I must do tomorrow.
Only bring to mind that which is necessary.
May I, through Your abundant supply,
Have the strength of body, mind, and spirit to love
And to dedicate my attention to others.
You can also write a prayer for your commute, for cooking, for making the bed, or for spending time with your family. Does this seem excessive? Don’t let it become obsessive, of course, but consider this perspective: your mind is already occupied with myriads of thoughts, many of them anxious and persistent. Your work, your chores, and your long commute already occupy “real estate” in your mind, and more likely than not, that real estate is stressful and negative. You may as well use a small portion of this space in your mind to pray for peace.
By having a prayer to begin and end your work, you can daily renew mind, remembering that you are working for the Lord, not for humans. The prayers also serve to bookmark the beginning and end of your work, which creates a “switch” for your brain to realize when to be in working mode and when to be in resting mode. “Whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” Colossians 3:17, NIV