Workday Prayers: When Goodness is Gone from Work

By Mark D. Roberts

January 22, 2021

Scripture – Psalm 53:2-3 (NRSV)

God looks down from heaven on humankind
+++to see if there are any who are wise,
+++who seek after God.
They have all fallen away, they are all alike perverse;
+++there is no one who does good,
+++no, not one.


Psalm 53 reveals a stark, negative estimate of human behavior and human nature. According to this psalm, “there is no one who does good, no, not one.” There are times when we experience this reality in our work, sometimes even in ourselves at work. We are reminded of how much we need a Savior in every part of life, including our daily work.


Gracious God, I thank you for the times when I sense genuine goodness at work: people with good hearts, actions that are kind, company goals that serve others and not just the bottom line. Those are special times, Lord, for which I am grateful.

But now is not one of them, not at all. I am so disappointed by what I have seen, by the deceit of my colleagues, by leadership decisions that deny justice. To be honest, I’m unhappy with my own behavior, my reactions and inactions. I have not helped my workplace to be any better. This is one of those times, Lord, when my thoughts and feelings echo what I read in the psalm: “They have all fallen away, they are all alike perverse; there is no one who does good, no, not one.”

As disappointed as I am in my colleagues and, indeed, myself, I am reminded, Lord, that we are broken and warped people because of sin. Even apparent goodness is marred by self-interest. We are not the people you created us to be. We need help, your help. We need your restoring power, not just in our private lives, not just at church or home, but everywhere, including the places in which we work.

Look upon us in mercy, O God. Help us to hate the sin that binds us. Help us to turn from the evil we do. Restore in us hearts that seek you, humble hearts, repentant hearts.

All praise be to you, God of immeasurable grace. Amen.

Ponder Throughout the Day

Evil is real and pervasive. God is real and pervasive . . . and the Savior who is on our side.

For Further Reflection

Read all of Psalm 53, reflecting on how God is speaking to you through this psalm.

You may also choose to read Romans 3:9-26, including:

[S]ince all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; they are now justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:23-24).

P.S. from Mark

Friends, next fall I will begin another D.Min. cohort focusing on Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation. This degree program includes three years of course work plus a doctoral project. It’s intended for pastors and other leaders with a theological master’s degree. If you are interested, you can learn more here. Or you can reach out to me personally if you have questions. Alternatively, you might know somebody for whom this would be a great opportunity. Please let them know. Thanks so much.

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Find all Life for Leaders devotions here. Explore what the Bible has to say about work at the unique website of our partners, the High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project. Reflection on today’s Life for Leaders theme can be found here: Best of Daily Reflections: Does Anyone Really Do Good?

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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