Workday Prayers: For Fruitfulness in Your Work

By Mark D. Roberts

June 14, 2023

Scripture — Psalm 129:5-7 (NRSV)

May all who hate Zion
    be put to shame and turned backward.
Let them be like the grass on the housetops
    that withers before it grows up,
with which reapers do not fill their hands
    or binders of sheaves their arms.


In our work, we don’t want to be like grass growing on housetops, which dies quickly because it has so little soil for its roots. Rather, we want our work to be productive, making a positive difference in the world.


Psalm 129 was written in response to the enemies of Israel who, as Israel might say, “attacked me from my youth” (129:1). The psalm writer prayers that those who “hate Zion be put to shame and turned backward” (129:5). Then he adds, “Let them be like the grass on the housetops that withers before it grows up, with which reapers do not fill their hands or binders of sheaves their arms” (129:6-7). This metaphor reflects the fact that roofs in ancient Israel were built in ways that allowed for grass to grow on them, but not to flourish because there wasn’t enough soil. The psalm writer wants those who “hate Zion” to be fruitless in their efforts.


Gracious God, today I’m inspired by Psalm 129 to pray that my work is not fruitless. I do not want to be like grass that springs up, only to wither and die off quickly. Rather, I want my work to be fruitful, lasting, and beautiful.

Help me, I pray, to work in ways that are wise and productive. But, even more than this, as I work may my roots grow down deep into the soil of your truth, love, and justice. May you bless my work so that it might be useful and so that you might be glorified.

Today I offer my work to you as worship. I also offer myself—that I might be, not like withering grass, but like a tree with roots that grow down deep into you. Amen.

Ponder Throughout the Day

Your work will be fruitful and lasting when your roots grow deep into God.

For Further Reflection

Read all of Psalm 129.

You may also wish to read Psalm 1.

Banner image by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the High Calling archive, hosted by the unique website of our partners, the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Grass on a Rooftop.

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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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