Friendship, Listening, and Empathy: A Prayer GuideTwo Hands: Grief and Gratitude in the Christian LifeSabbath Keeping FastingA Renewed SpiritualityNurturing Hope: Christian Pastoral Care in the Twenty-First CenturyThe Power of ListeningJoy Together: Spiritual Practices for Your CongregationPersonality Type in CongregationsPrayers of the Old TestamentPrayers of the New TestamentSabbathFriendingA Garden of Living Water: Stories of Self-Discovery and Spiritual GrowthDeath in Dunedin: A NovelDead Sea: A NovelDeadly Murmurs: A NovelBeating Burnout in CongregationsReaching Out in a Networked WorldEmbracing MidlifeAdvent DevotionalDraw Near: Lenten Devotional by Lynne Baab, illustrated by Dave Baab

Draw near: Prayer for workers

Lynne Baab • Tuesday November 8 2022

Draw near: Prayer for workers

An evening prayer: Loving God, tonight I thank you for all who have faithfully done their job today, and now rest. Thank you for the men and women who today cut hair, set bones, and taught math to middle schoolers. Thank you for those who today fought corruption, buried the dead, encouraged the weak. Some today manufactured useful goods, or delivered them, or stocked and sold them. Thank you for them all. Some laid tile, installed a sink, fixed a leaky roof. Some evangelized the lost. Others were neighborly to people on their street. I commend them all to you, O God, for blessing in Jesus name. They did their job. And now they get to rest.
—Cornelius Plantinga, Morning and Evening Prayers, page 61

I wrote in an earlier post that Dr. Plantinga was one of my favorite seminary professors. He went on to be president of Calvin Theological Seminary, and he wrote a wonderful book on sin. Eerdmans recently published a collection of morning and evening prayers that Dr. Plantinga wrote. As I read his prayers, I was struck by his passion for people who do the work that keeps our world going. Here's more from him:

Thank you for
women and men who today inspected bridges, cranes, and elevators,
police who patrolled streets and highways,
first responders who moved quickly to the scenes of accidents,
9-1-1 operators who stayed calm during frenzied calls, and
trustworthy child-care providers who gave overworked parents relief.

Thank you for
wise counselors who listened attentively to trouble,
early morning trash collectors who worked almost silently,
airline pilots who concentrated on their checklist,
moms and dads who hugged their children,
journalists who wrote honest accounts of events they witnessed, and
business owners who treated employees with respect.
—Cornelius Plantinga, Morning and Evening Prayers, page 15

Thank you, good God, for those who have faithfully done their jobs today.
Truckers who hauled essential goods to their desinations,
Hairdressers who styled wigs for cancer patients,
Aids who performed patient, steady work in nursing homes,
Trainers who prepared guide dogs to help the people who need them.
Language interpreters who connected doctors with patients in hospitals.
—Cornelius Plantinga, Morning and Evening Prayers, page 81

Perhaps I’ve included too many specific lists from Dr. Plantinga’s prayers. After all, in his book these specific lists of workers appear on different pages, assigned to different days. And yet I wanted to give you these lists because I have found them convicting and also helpful in stimulating prayer. I so seldom pray for the people who make my life possible, many of them listed above. I invite you to take a mental walk through your day and pray for the people who help you get food, electricity, water, medical care, transportation, and connection with friends and family members. I have found that to be an exercise in humility and dependence, hard but good.

One of Dr. Plantinga’s prayers was intriguing to me, because I wasn’t sure if he would include all the people he named in those vivid prayers above in this prayer. Perhaps he’s only praying for Christians who view their work something done “in Christ’s name.” Either way, his four requests are beautiful.

I commend to your care all who have today worked in Christ’s name:
Shelter them.
Support them.
Befriend them.
Erect your arch of blessing over them.
—Cornelius Plantinga, Morning and Evening Prayers, page 9

Today and this week, may God shelter, support, and befriend you, those you love, and those who make your life possible. May God erect an arch of blessing over all of us. 

(Next week: Contrasts in prayer. Illustration by Dave Baab: 1904 Burrell Traction Engine, Dunedin, New Zealand. If you’d like to receive an email when I post on this blog, sign up below under “subscribe.”)

Previous posts where I mention Dr. Cornelius Plantinga:

Next post »« Previous post