Wednesday, October 17, 2007

"Redeeming the time . . ."

Making the most of your time at work

We spend most of our waking hours working and getting ready for work, or thinking about work when we get home. So why should we relegate spiritual growth to private prayer time or worship on Sunday? Here are some tips for spiritual growth in the midst of earning a living. They come from St. Benedict's Toolbox by Jane Tomaine, in her chapter on "Work as a Holy Endeavor." No one needs to know you are doing this, of course. This is between you and God.

First thing in the morning, give your day to God. Use whatever words you would like. Examples include: "This one is for you, Lord," or "God, I give you this day" or "Be with me and guide me. Help me bring your presence to others."

When you first begin your work day, pray once again. Pray for God's presence throughout the day, for God's help in your tasks, and for the ability to be open to God's call.

Pray before you begin a task. You can express your love to God and ask God to be with you in the task. When you finish a task, give thanks for God's help.

Imagine Jesus next to you as you work. Envision his encouragement, support, and love.

Before a difficult conversation, pray. Ask for God's guidance. Ask God to help you stay put and not flee either physically or emotionally. Ask to remain open to the other person and to really listen.

Send arrow prayers to God throughout the day (such as "God help me" or "Thanks be to God.")

Repeat a short prayer or a Bible verse while you work. This works especially well when the work of the moment is physical. Use your favorite Bible verse such as, "The Lord is my shepherd" or "Do not let your hearts be troubled" or "Be still, and know that I am God." Or use your own words.

Pray the prayer of St. Francis each day. As you say this prayer, envision yourself in the place where you work, be it at home or in an office or outside. Envision coworkers, family or friends with you. This practice will prepare you to be in Christ's presence during the day.

Give thanks during the day. If you cannot think of anything to be thankful for, try giving thanks for your senses: sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch.

Listen for God's voice in the voices of your coworkers, family, and friends. Everyone and everything can become a channel through which God speaks. When you hear that voice, listen carefully and respond.

Remember that your work is holy. Work gives you many opportunities to use the skills and talents God gave to you, to serve others, to be in close relationship with others, and to praise God. Underneath all the typewritten pages and through all the phone calls and all the vacuumed rugs, work is spiritual!

In peace,
The Rev. Linda McCloud
The Episcopal Church of Our Savior at Honey Creek

No comments: