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Workday Prayers: Two Sides of Remembering

October 15, 2021 • Life for Leaders

Scripture Reading: Psalm 77:4-12 (NRSV)

You keep my eyelids from closing;
+++I am so troubled that I cannot speak.
I consider the days of old,
+++and remember the years of long ago.
I commune with my heart in the night;
+++I meditate and search my spirit:
“Will the Lord spurn forever,
+++and never again be favorable?
Has his steadfast love ceased forever?
+++Are his promises at an end for all time?
Has God forgotten to be gracious?
+++Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” Selah
And I say, “It is my grief
+++that the right hand of the Most High has changed.”
I will call to mind the deeds of the LORD;
+++I will remember your wonders of old.
I will meditate on all your work,
+++and muse on your mighty deeds.

Prelude

When we think about our past work experiences, we can remember good times and bad times, times of blessing and times of pain, times of hope and times of despair. How we feel about our memories can vary according to our present experience. If, for example, we’re in a difficult stretch at work, remembering good times in the past might encourage us. Or it might discourage us because the contrast between present and past is so great.

In Psalm 77, the psalm writer is in a “day of trouble” (77:2). In fact, he is so troubled that he cannot speak (Psalm 77:4). When he remembers what God has done in the past, he is at first discouraged. He wonders if God’s steadfast love has ceased forever (77:8). Yet, as the psalmist continues to remember, he brings to mind the greatness of God’s “wonders of old,” especially his deliverance of Israel through the Red Sea (77:11, 15-20). Thus, he experiences both sides of remembering, both the sorrow and the joy.

Focus

Sometimes when we remember God’s blessing in the past, we might wonder why God isn’t blessing us now in the ways we desire. Yet, when we recall God’s saving grace, when we think back to how God has redeemed us through Christ, then we find reassurance and hope.

Prayer

Gracious God, when my work is difficult and discouraging, memory can be a strange thing. I think back to happier times, times when work was going so well. I wonder why things are different now. I can even fear that you have withdrawn your favor from me. That’s a scary thought, Lord.

Yet, if I let my memory go back further, if I remember how you have saved your people in the past, then I am delivered from my funk. I picture how you saved your people from bondage in Egypt, guiding them through the Red Sea. Most of all, I remember what you did through Jesus, saving us by his death and resurrection.

O Lord, sometimes I really can’t figure out what you’re doing . . . and what you’re not doing. I ask that you’d give me the grace to trust you in all things and all times. As I remember your saving works, may my heart be confident in you, no matter what is happening in the moment. Amen.

Ponder Throughout the Day

Remembering God’s works of salvation brings confidence and hope even in hard times.

For Further Reflection

You may wish to read all of Psalm 77.

Psalm 107 encourages us to remember ways in which God has been gracious to us.

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: A Psalm for Those of Us Who Are in Process


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