Workday Prayers: When You’re Feeling Anxious at Work

By Mark D. Roberts

June 18, 2023

Scripture — Psalm 131:1-2 (NRSV)

 LORD, my heart is not lifted up;
    my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
    too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
    like a weaned child with its mother;
    my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.


There are times at work when the frenzy and worry rankle our souls. In those times we need to know God’s presence and comfort, to be with God as a young child with its mother.


When I was a child I had bad nightmares. Every month or so I’d wake up in the middle of the night crying hysterically. I can still remember the terror I felt. But, more importantly, I remember how it felt when my mother came in to get me. As she sat on a rocking chair, I’d sit on her lap, feeling her warm embrace and listening to the sweet songs she sang to me in her soft voice.

When things get crazy in our lives – yes, even at work – we need to stop thinking about the things we can’t control. Instead, we can make time to be quiet with God, to know God’s loving presence “like a weaned child with its mother” (Psalm 131:2).


Gracious God, I confess that at times my heart is lifted up. I do occupy myself with things too great and marvelous for me. I worry about things at work that happen far above my pay grade, things I cannot influence. Or I worry about national and global economic issues, fretting about how they will influence my work and even my family. Lord, I know these things matter. But when I get all stirred up with anxiety, I can’t do my part. I’m distracted and distressed. My work suffers. My relationships suffer.

So help me, I pray, to “occupy myself” with the things entrusted to me. May I focus on my part, my role, my contribution. And may I do this, not out of frantic anxiety, but with a calm and quiet soul.

Teach me, gracious God, to lean back into you as a child with its mother. May I know your strength, your warmth, your protection, your soothing voice. May I entrust to you the things I’m not supposed to carry.

Thank you, God, for holding me as a mother holds her child. Thank you for embracing me and never letting me go. Amen.

Ponder Throughout the Day

When your work gets crazy, God is there for you, to calm and quiet your soul.

For Further Reflection

Read all of Psalm 131.

You might also wish to read Isaiah 66:12-14.

Banner image by Raghavendra VKonkathi 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: Work’s Ultimate Meaning (Isaiah 60ff.).

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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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