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A Pastoral Prayer About Labor and Rest

Pastoral Prayer

Every now and again I like to share an example of a pastoral prayer from Grace Fellowship Church. I do this because I think sharing such prayers is a way we can learn from one another. At least, I can attest that I have often been inspired as I have read other people’s prayers and they have often taught me to pray. To that end, here is a prayer I prayed on Labor Day Sunday. (Note that the final paragraph is drawn from J.I. Packer.)

Our Father, on this weekend work and labor are much on our minds. We thank you that you are the God who worked, the God who labored for six days to create this world and all that is in it. Thank you that you then invited us to join you in this work, inviting us to fill the earth and subdue it and exercise dominion over it. You gave us purpose—you called us to work.

So I pray, Lord, that we would be diligent in the labor you’ve called us. You’ve called some of us to labor in offices or factories or warehouses and I pray that each of us would do our work as if you are right there watching us. Let us render heart service and not just eye service. You’ve called some of us to labor in the classroom, to learn and grow and in that way prepare for a life dedicated to you and your purposes. We pray that the students among us would be diligent in learning. Be with them as they begin their new school year. You’ve called some of us to focus on being keepers of the home or teachers of our children. We pray for these that you would keep their hearts and minds oriented toward you, that they would not grow weary in doing good. You’ve called some of us to retire after a lifetime of work and service and we pray for these that their retirement would be one of consecrated service to you.

Father, we thank you that you did not only work but you also rested. And I pray that we would be as diligent in our rest as we are in our work. I pray that we would avoid the idolatry that says we must work every hour of every day, but that we would entrust ourselves to your provision by taking time to rest. I pray that we would set aside hours of the day and days of the week and weeks of the year to simply rest.

Most of all, I pray that our souls would rest in you. That we would entrust ourselves to our faithful redeemer and rest from our fear of condemnation, our fear of alienation, our fear of hell. I pray that because we have trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ and received your forgiveness, we would rest from trying to earn our salvation and by faith know beyond any doubt that we are known, we are loved, and we are forever secure in you. So Lord, please let us labor where we should labor and rest where we should rest.

Father, as we work in our jobs and earn money, I pray that we would give to your work with joyful generosity. I pray that we would each be diligent in giving to the needs of this church. You have always provided all that we need and we are sure you will continue to do so. Yet we know that you provide through our giving. So please, let us give as generously as you’ve given to us.

Now as we continue to worship and then look forward to a time of fellowship together we pray to you, Father, that we would live in your presence and learn to please you more and more. We pray to you, Lord Jesus, that we would learn to take up our cross and follow you. We pray to you, Holy Spirit, that you will fill us with yourself and cause your fruit to ripen in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Father, Son, Holy Spirit, we pray all this trusting you love us and knowing you are pleased to hear and to act. Amen.

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