Workday Prayers: A Prayer for Humility

By Mark D. Roberts

July 12, 2023

Scripture — Psalm 149:4 (NRSV)

For the LORD takes pleasure in his people;
    he adorns the humble with victory.


Psalm 149 reminds us how much God values our humility. According to this psalm, the Lord “adorns the humble with victory.” Centuries later, Jesus put it this way, “All who exalt themselves will be humbled, and all who humble themselves will be exalted” (Matt 23:13). Thus, we are encouraged to be humble in all of life, including our work. In humility, we seek to build up others and glorify God, rather than promoting ourselves and being puffed up with pride.


In our culture, sometimes it seems as if humility won’t get you very far. The way to get ahead in life, or so we are led to believe, involves being a person of prominence, even fame. If you want to be an influencer in social media, for example, you need to draw attention to yourself so you can have thousands or even millions of followers.

But there are exceptions to the “humility won’t get you very far close” rule. In his best-selling book, Good to Great, Jim Collins calls the most effective executive leaders “Level 5 Leaders.” These leaders have done an exceptional job of moving their companies from good to great. The simplest description of a Level 5 Leader is this: “Humility + Will = Level 5” (p. 22). Collins explains, “Level 5 leaders embody a paradoxical mix of personal humility and professional will. They are ambitious, to be sure, but ambitious first and foremost for the company, not themselves” (p. 38).

As I read about Level 5 Leaders, I’m struck by how much Collins’s definition could apply to Jesus. He was exceptionally humble, especially for one who was God in human flesh (see Phil 2:5-11). Yet Jesus also had extraordinary resilience and commitment when it came to fulfilling his mission. He could be seen as an archetype of the Level 5 Leader.

Psalm 149 is one of many passages in Scripture that encourage us to be humble. In this psalm, we are reminded that the Lord “adorns the humble with victory” (149:4). If we want to flourish in our work, we would do well to humble ourselves before the Lord, so that the Lord might lift us up (James 4:10).


Gracious God, thank you for the fact that you take pleasure in your people. It amazes me to think that I could somehow give you pleasure. Yet I embrace the truth of Psalm 149 with joy and gratitude. You take pleasure in your people, including me. I pray that I might live in such a way that what I do and say, how I work and rest, and how I love and serve might give you pleasure.

I am also struck today by the fact that you give victory to the humble. There is much in Scripture that calls me to humility. Most of all, I am to be humble before you, recognizing your matchless power and limitless sovereignty. I am blessed to be able to bow before you as King of kings and Lord of lords.

Yet I am also to be humble in my relationships with others. Help me, I pray, to be humble, not only before you but also in my work and leadership. If I have been given authority, may I use that authority with humility, seeking to build up others and not glorify myself. May I be deeply committed to the work you have given me but not obsessed with my success or influence. May I work and lead in such a way that you are exalted and the people around me are empowered and encouraged.

All praise, glory, and honor be to you, Sovereign Lord. Amen.

Ponder Throughout the Day

The Lord adorns the humble with victory.

For Further Reflection

Read all of Psalm 149.

You may also wish to read Philippians 2:1-11.

Banner image by Michaela Murphy on Unsplash.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project’s online commentary. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Psalm 149.

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Mark D. Roberts

Senior Strategist

Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders,...

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