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Workday Prayers: Your Workplace as God’s Temple

January 27, 2022 • Life for Leaders

Scripture Reading: Psalm 84:1-2 (NRSV)

How lovely is your dwelling place,
+++O LORD of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints
+++for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
+++to the living God.

Focus

Because God is with us, we can worship and engage with God in the midst of our daily work.

Prelude

When the Israelites spoke of God’s dwelling place, they had a particular, tangible place in mind: the temple in Jerusalem. Psalm 84 celebrates this temple and the chance to encounter God there. Thus the psalm writer exults, “For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere” (Psalm 84:10).

We may wonder how this psalm relates to us, since we do not have a physical temple in which to worship. We may also wonder how this psalm relates to our daily work, since it’s mainly about worshiping God in the temple. Let me respond to these wonderings briefly.

First, it’s true that Christians do not have a physical temple. But temple imagery does help us to understand crucial truths about Jesus, the church, and ourselves. Jesus is for us what the temple was for the Israelites. We receive forgiveness of our sins through Jesus, who serves as temple, high priest, and sacrificial lamb. The Apostle Paul uses temple imagery in 1 Corinthians to describe the church, which is “God’s temple” indwelt by the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 3:16). Later in that same letter, Paul says that our bodies are also temples because the Holy Spirit dwells within each one of us (1 Corinthians 6:19).

Second, Psalm 84 relates to our daily work in several ways. It encourages us to be in touch with our longing for God’s presence, even when we’re working. But the fact that the Holy Spirit dwells within us means we don’t have to wait until we can go to church to engage with God. Rather, God is with us wherever we are, even when we’re working. We can communicate with and worship God right where we are at work. Moreover, we can offer our work to God as worship, turning our workplace into a sort of temple for God.

Prayer

How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! Wherever you are, O God, is filled with your radiance and grace.

How lovely is the presence of Jesus, the Word of God incarnate. Thank you, God, for living among us, for dwelling among us in Jesus. He was, indeed, your ultimate dwelling place.

How lovely is the gathering of your people for worship, especially when we are united in love and with our hearts joined together before you. Thank you, Lord, for the church, your body, your dwelling place on earth.

How lovely, Lord, is your presence with me. Thank you for the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for choosing to live in me, thus making my body a kind of temple. Thank you that this is true, not just when I’m in church, but also when I’m at work.

May I use my body today to honor you in my work. Let my body praise you as I do whatever is required of me. Yet may I do it not just for my boss, and not just for my thriving at work, but for you, for your glory.

All praise, glory, and honor be to you, God who dwells with us! Amen.

Ponder Throughout the Day

God is present with you as you work today.

For Further Reflection

Read all of Psalm 84. You might also read 1 Corinthians 3:16-17; 6:19-20.

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: One Day in God’s Courts Might Be Better Than Thousands Elsewhere: What Does This Really Mean?


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