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PSALM OF WORK

For anyone who is a minister at a place of work (an industrial chaplain) or a minister in secular employment (tent-making ministry) prayer is continually about work. Yet that is not often perceived to be the work of the churches. This has not always been true - St Bernard is credited with the view that a monk's work is his prayer too.

 

  1. I enjoy my work, for you've given it to me:
      you are a God who works, and I work with your blessing.
     
  2. You are there when I go to work in the morning:
      I meet you in my friends as we greet one another;
     
  3. as we prepare for the day, you speak to us through others:
      you are in new ideas and the training we share;
     
  4. my concentration reflects your loving care:
      your creative power inspires my thoughts and actions.
     
  5. When I help another it's you that I meet:
      as I serve a customer, I am serving you;
     
  6. when I am called to give account to my superiors:
      it's your judgement I face and you will judge in fairness.
     
  7. If others treat me harshly, I am only your servant:
      Jesus was also the servant of others;
     
  8. his work was to make your love visible:
      in my successes I, too, am completing your work of creation.
     
  9. Long ago monks were taught that to work is to pray:
      help me see my task today as part of your purpose.
     
  10. My achievements I offer to you:
      exhausted I give you my life.

Notes:

v.9 - "laborare est orare" was supposed to be the motto. A monk's work was his praying, but also his work in the fields (or wherever) was his prayer.