As a church leader, you have the privilege and responsibility to care for the whole life of people you shepherd. After you give the benediction on Sundays, people walk out of church to the rest of life which can shape them spiritually more than the Sunday service. This includes their work life -- where they spend the bulk of their mental and physical energy between Sundays.
In addition to praying privately for your congregation at work, consider what it can mean to people when they hear you pray publicly for them and their work.
Here are some suggestions and guidelines for publicly praying for your people’s spiritual welfare at work.
Include the workplace in a pastoral prayer.
Most church services have a prayer time when a church leader lifts up the needs of the congregation and community. A subtle way to remind people that God cares about their work is to include workplace challenges and opportunities in the prayer.
Offer an inspiring benediction.
Dr. Dick Halverson, former pastor of Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda Maryland and Chaplain of the U.S. Senate from 1981 to 1994, closed worship services with this benediction:
Wherever you go, God is sending you, wherever you are, God has put you there; He has a purpose in your being there. Christ who indwells you has something He wants to do through you where you are. Believe this and go in His grace and love and power.
Remind people of their opportunity for influence where they work.
Pray that non-Christians will see Jesus in them and be attracted by their competence, character, concern and wise communication. Pray that the Holy Spirit would open doors for conversations about Christ.
Give thanks for particular professions and workplaces.
When specific professions or workplaces are in the news or on people’s minds, include a prayer of thanks for that particular kind of work in your worship service. And don't forget the work of managing a home and family. Homes are a workplace as well.
Pray for workers in specific workplaces at specific times of the year.
Pray for teachers and schools at the beginning of the school year. Pray for accountants, bookkeepers and IRS workers during tax season. Pray for retailers at the beginning of the holiday season. Pray for healthcare providers during flu season. Pray for politicians at election time.
Invite people to submit workplace prayers to church leaders.
Create an easy way people can submit prayers for their workplace. Remind them that you are eager to pray for their work, both blessings and challenges.
Ask how you can pray.
In conversation ask people how you can specifically pray for them -- and specifically for their work. Learn about unique challenges and opportunities in their workplace and what they want God to do in them and through them at work.
Guidelines for Prayer
Don't just pray about negative things people face in the workplace. It’s easy to convey unintentionally the idea that the workplace is Satan’s domain and an enemy of people’s spiritual life.
Make it personal.
When praying privately with people about their work, pray as specifically as you can about their concerns.
Always keep confidential prayer requests private.
When praying publicly, be sure not to single out individuals or tempt people to think of specific persons in your congregation that might be the subject of your prayer.
Make it frequent.
Regular mention of work in prayer will go a long way to remind people that God loves and cares about their work.
Share your ideas.
Please take a moment and tells us about how you pray for your church at work.