Workday Prayers: When You’ve Turned Away from God

By Mark D. Roberts

November 4, 2021

Scripture Reading: Psalm 80:3 (NRSV)

Restore us, O God;
+++let your face shine, that we may be saved.


Three times in Psalm 80 we hear the same basic refrain:

Restore us, O God;
+++let your face shine, that we may be saved. (80:3)

Restore us, O God of hosts;
+++let your face shine, that we may be saved. (80:7)

Restore us, O LORD God of hosts;
+++let your face shine, that we may be saved. (80:19)

The rest of the psalm does not tell us exactly why restoration is needed, though we do learn that God has been angry with his people and has disciplined them in a painful way.

The Hebrew verb translated as “restore” is a form of the basic verb meaning “turn.” It could be rendered, “Cause us to turn back to you, O God,” or as the New Living Translation puts it, “Turn us again to yourself, O God.” Though we don’t know the details, we rightly surmise that Israel had turned away from God and had paid a heavy price. The psalmist cries out, not just for restoration, but for repentance that leads to restoration.


Sometimes when we turn away from God, we pay a heavy price. In such times we need God to help us to turn around, to leave behind our sin and seek God and God’s righteousness. We are saved, not by our own efforts, but by God’s shining face, God’s loving presence, God’s grace and mercy.


Gracious God, how I need your help today! Not that I deserve it. I have turned my back to you, going my own way. I have failed to heed your warnings, preferring my wisdom. The result has been bitter. I can feel the pain that my actions have caused. I am reminded in a powerful way of how much I need you.

O God, help me to turn away from my sin and to return to you. And may this turning be more than a momentary adjustment, a step I take until things get a little better. Help me, I pray, to continue to seek you and your righteousness. By your grace, may I truly and fully leave behind the way of sin and shame.

Gracious God, let your face shine upon me. Help me to sense your presence, your power, your persistent love. May I be drawn to you. May I be restored, not only in the details of my life, but most of all in my relationship with you. Amen.

Ponder Throughout the Day

The God who loves you seeks an intimate, restorative relationship with you.

For Further Reflection

Read all of Psalm 80.

Read also 2 Corinthians 4:1-18.

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: Turn Us Again!

Subscribe to Life for Leaders

Sign up to receive a Life for Leaders devotional each day in your inbox. It’s free to subscribe and you can unsubscribe at any time.

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,...

More on Mark

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Learn Learn Learn Learn

the Life for Leaders newsletter

Learn Learn Learn Learn