Prayer And Work
When I think about my life with God over the last few years, I am discovering that I tend to move between emphasizing two realities. I pray and I work. I work and I pray.
“Ora Et Labora” is a Latin phrase that means “Prayer and Work.” This was the motto for several monastic communities throughout Church history. St. Benedict viewed prayer and work as partners that cooperate together to build God’s Kingdom here on earth. These communities of Christ followers emphasized both the need for a vibrant relationship with God, and also the need to roll-up their sleeves and get their hands dirty.
Today work and human effort get a lot of attention in our culture. When we talk about growing the church we may focus on building leadership systems that will work the most efficiently. We might talk about combining the best programs, the best preaching, and the best worship teams as a recipe for a vibrant church. Yet without the power of the Spirit all of our human efforts fall flat. We cannot save ourselves. Only the shed blood of Jesus makes us right with God. We cannot build the church ourselves. We need the Spirit of God to lead and empower us. Work alone will not do the trick.
On the other hand, it is possible to emphasize praying for the church and forget the work of the church. Prayer is a catalyst that naturally leads us to invest physically. Pray for any person and you will want to serve them. Pray for a church and you will want to get busy in it! Prayer is essential for any church and for building the Kingdom, but if we become overly contemplative we may miss the mission. Healthy prayer patterns lead us to work.
I am so thankful to be part of a church like Bethel, which is true to its name and has become a place of encounter and meeting with God. In addition to being a vibrant community of prayer, we are also obeying God and doing great work for His Kingdom. May we corporately and personally hold these two practices of prayer and work in balance with one another. To be the Glory!
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