Worship Resources about Faith and Work

In worship we can speak to God about our work, pray that our daily work may be pleasing to God, and respond to God's continual call to live lives worthy of the calling. The following are songs, hymns, prayers, and readings that give voice to the living out of faith that we call our work or our vocation.

People with different occupations

“Our work is a calling from God.
We work for more than wages
and manage for more than profit
so that mutual respect
and the just use of goods and skills
may shape the workplace.
While we earn or profit,
we love our neighbors by providing
useful products and services.
In our global economy
we advocate meaningful work
and fair wages for all.
Out of the Lord’s generosity to us,
we give freely and gladly
of our money and time.” (source information)

By faith, we are called, as generations have before and generations will be to come—called to live out our faith through our work. As Hebrews 11 says, “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And so, like Abel and Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Moses and so many other heroes of the faith, we are called to live our lives based on the calling of God—even when we cannot see what is promised to us. Our vocations are the living out of this faith.

In worship, therefore, we can speak to God about our work, pray that our daily work may be pleasing to God, and respond to God's continual call to live lives worthy of the calling. The following are songs, hymns, prayers, and readings that give voice to the living out of faith that we call our work or our vocation.

A Prayer for Our Work

Lord God,
We pray for all
who work in business and industry,
who work in homemaking,
who work in medicine,
who work in education,
who work in agriculture,
who work in government,
who work in service to others,
who are beginning a new career,
who struggle in their work,
who are seeking new or different jobs,
who are retired or anticipating retirement,
who are unemployed or underemployed.

[Add other categories as appropriate]

Give us joy in our work, and in using gifts and talents we receive from you.
Give us joy in doing all our work to your honor and glory.
Equip us to labor in ways that promote justice and peace.
Equip us to be ministers of your peace in a world that cries for peace.

Through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Prayers and Readings

A Prayer for Discipleship in Home and Family (LUYH 308) [see * below for abbreviation key]
Using a refrain from “The Servant Song”  this prayer speaks of a variety of different institutions, communities, and places of work, asking God to equip everyone for service in the kingdom.

A Prayer for Our Work (LUYH 272)
By naming a wide range of places of work, this prayer uniquely prays to God for work and for God’s working through our work. (see text box)

A Prayer for Workers
This prayer is written for Labor Day asks God for the courage and strength that it takes to live in the world.

A Responsive Prayer for Justice
While some have jobs, we are called to be aware of those in our congregation, city, and country that are unemployed or underemployed; this prayer “prays harder” for those who frequently struggle to make ends meet.

A Litany of Labor
From Worship and Daily Life: A Resource for Worship Planners

Beatitude for Workers
Based on Matthew 5:3-6 and Luke 6:20-21, this responsive reading or prayer remembers those who have no work or too little income—through this prayer we eagerly await God’s reign of justice and peace when we shall never hunger or thirst.

Songs of Thanks and Praise

All Is Done for the Glory of God – Abel Nkuinji, tr. S.T. Kimbrough Jr (LUYH 273)
The opening line says it all—“all is done for the glory of God”—a stirring way to frame all of life.

As Those of Old Their Firstfruits Brought – Frank von Christierson (GtG 712)
We are called like those “of old,” to offer the first fruits of our labor to God as a sacrifice and thanksgiving for all that God gives us.

Before You I Kneel (A Worker's Prayer) – Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Jeff Taylor, Stuart Townend
A prayer to God, offering the work of our hands as offering and praise to bring glory to God's name. 

For the Fruit of All Creation – Fred Pratt Green (ELW 679, GtG 36, LUYH 396, UM 97, WOR 562)
“In the just reward of labor” we recognize that God’s will prevails, and for this and the harvests in every area of our work, we can give thanks.

Songs of Petition

All Our Work and All Our Being – Michael Morgan
Whatever we do and wherever we do it, we can ask that God's will to be done in our work.

Lord of All Hopefulness/Dios Anhelante – Jan Struther (ELW 765, GATH 560, GtG 683, LUYH 378, ORA 556, WOR 568)
A prayer whose verses refer to labor at all times of the day with an explicate reference to Jesus’ own apprenticeship and God’s abiding presence in our daily labors.

Songs of Commitment and Service

A Hymn of Calling – Laura Kelly Fanucci
A hymn of dedication to the calling that God places in our lives, to use our God-given gifts to make the world's needs known and to be a blessing to those that we are called to serve.

Called as Partners in Christ’s Service – Jane Parker Huber (GtG 761)
God's children have unique gifts and when we blend these gifts together, “gracious gifts from God unfold.”

How Clear Is Our Vocation, Lord – Fred Pratt Green (ELW 580, GtG 432, LUYH 856)
This hymn explicitly names the call to live our lives according to the word of the Lord, allowing God’s gracious presence to penetrate all of our lives so that our every being reflects the greatness of God and the sacrifice that Jesus made for us on the cross.

I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me – African American Spiritual (GtG 700, LUYH 854)
May this simple conviction, “I’m gonna work so God can use me” be always on our heart, soul, and lips, and be reflected in the working of our hands and feet, “anywhere and anytime.”

Songs that Refer to Specific Areas of Work

Earth and All Stars – Herbert Brokering (ELW 731, GtG 26, LUYH 271, WOR 517)
In a unique way, this hymn calls all areas of our daily labors—classrooms and labs, bands and orchestras, industry and construction, creation and classrooms—to praise the God who created everything absolutely marvelously.

Give Thanks, O Christian People – Mary Jackson Cathey (GtG 644)
A prayer of thanksgiving for those who are called to ministry for those who God places before us.

God, Whose Farm Is All Creation – John Arlott (ELW 734, WOR 683)
Farming is a task that requires a lot of thinking, planning, and waiting—a truth that is voiced in this hymn of gratitude for the crops that we grow.

Healer of Our Every Ill/Sanador de Todo Mal – Marty Haugen (ELW 612, GATH 854, GtG 795, LUYH 303, ORA 778) or The Servant Song/La Canción del Servido – Richard Gillard (ELW 659, GATH 661, GtG 727, LUYH 309, ORA 611)
While these two songs do not explicitly mention labor, they can be a beautiful way to pray for those who work to restore physical or mental health.

O God, Who Gives to Humankind – Edward J. Burns (LUYH 274)
This hymn is especially poignant as a prayer for teachers and learners, at every point in life.

Praise God for the Harvest of Orchard and Field – Brian Wren (LUYH 397)
This rare hymn text makes explicate reference to science and industry, food distribution, the mining of natural resources, and the role of human labor as stewards of creation.

We Plow the Fields and Scatter/Aramos Nuestros Campos – Matthias Claudius, tr. Jane M. Campbell (ELW 680, ORA 659)
A beautiful hymn about how human agricultural labor becomes an intricate part of what God is doing in the world.  


Other Information

We welcome other song or liturgical suggestions. To submit, please email worship@calvin.edu.

For biblical resources related to preaching, see TheologyofWork.org, especially their Bible Commentary.

*Hymnal Abbreviation Key (in alphabetical order):

ELW = Evangelical Lutheran Worship, 2006 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
GATH = Gather Comprehensive (2nd edition), 2004 GIA Publications, Inc.
GtG = Glory to God, 2013 Westminster John Knox Press
LUYH = Lift Up Your Hearts, 2013 Faith Alive Christian Resources
ORA = Oramos Cantando/We Pray in Song, 2013 GIA Publications, Inc.
UM = The United Methodist Hymnal, 1989 The United Methodist Publishing House
WOR = Worship: A Hymnal and Service Book for Roman Catholics (3rd edition), 1986 GIA Publications, Inc.


Source:
 
Our World Belongs to God, article 48 © 2008 Christian Reformed Church in North America, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. Our World Belongs to God is also available in Spanish and Korean.

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