Workday Prayers: When We Turn Away from God

By Mark D. Roberts

October 21, 2021

Scripture Reading: Psalm 78:56-57 (NRSV)

Yet they tested the Most High God,
+++and rebelled against him.
+++They did not observe his decrees,
but turned away and were faithless like their ancestors;
+++they twisted like a treacherous bow.


Psalm 78 tells a sad story. It begins with God setting up a system whereby the Israelites would pass on to future generations all that God had done for them and taught them. But, time and again God’s people failed. They were not faithful. They rebelled against the Lord. So time and again God disciplined them, and then was gracious. But even after God delivered his people so miraculously from Egypt, they did not walk in his ways.

The story of Israel’s faithlessness can feel very familiar. Those of us who have received God’s grace through Christ can point to times when we have been unfaithful. This can happen in our workplaces. Perhaps we joined in petty gossip. Or maybe we weren’t fully honest in a report. Or we might have treated one of our colleagues unfairly. Or . . . you name it.

When we acknowledge the times we turn away from God, we are able to confess, to seek forgiveness, and to ask for the grace to live for the praise of God’s glory (Ephesians 1:11-14).


When we turn our backs against God, we easily act in ways that dishonor him. This can happen at home, at church, in our neighborhood, and in our workplace. Recognizing our lack of faithfulness is the first step in turning back to God. We tell God honestly where we have fallen short, ready to receive the forgiveness God gives us through Christ.


Gracious God, as I reflect honestly on my life, I recognize that I have not been pleasing you in my work. I’ve turned away from you. I’ve regarded my work as somehow separate from your area of concern. I’ve said or done things that I should not have. I’ve been more focused on myself and my reputation than on you and your glory. Forgive me, Lord.

What makes it worse is that you have been so gracious to me in the past. You have rescued me, forgiven me, guided me, and blessed me. You would think I would be ready to live my whole life for you. But then I fail. I put myself first, I turn my back on you. Forgive me, Lord.

Help me, I pray, to live faithfully in every part of life, including my daily work. Help me to live with gratitude, remembering your goodness to me. Help me to live with humility, seeking your glory above all. Help me to live with love, loving you and my neighbor through my work.

To you be all the glory! Amen.

Ponder Throughout the Day

God has been so good to you. Will you work today with faithfulness and gratitude?

For Further Reflection

You may wish to read all of Psalm 78.

Also, you might read and reflect on Lamentations 3:19-24.

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: Telling the Next Generation

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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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