You might not think of your job as something holy, but the time you spend working can be a time of prayer.
Your job might not immediately jump to mind as something holy, but as Christians we can sanctify our work along with the rest of our lives.
It’s kind of amazing when you stop to consider that work existed in the Garden of Eden, even before the fall. Work is something inherent to our nature, something that was created to be good for us.
Sure enough, the Catechism tells us,
Human work proceeds directly from persons created in the image of God … Work honors the Creator’s gifts and the talents received from him (2427).
Whether you labor in a boardroom or a kitchen, an operating room or a garden, your daily duties can be an offering to God, right where you are.
So how can we sanctify the time we spend working? Here are 4 little ways to remember to offer tasks to God.
1Say a prayer before beginning
There are some lovely ideas here for prayers to say before beginning a task. Here’s a short and beautiful prayer:
Direct, we beg you, O Lord, our actions by your holy inspirations, and grant that we may carry them out with your gracious assistance, that every prayer and work of ours may begin always with you, and through you be happily ended. Amen.
2Offer up your work as a sacrifice to God
Work offered to God can be a prayer and a way of growing closer to Jesus.
St. Josemaria Escriva once wrote that “An hour of study, for a modern apostle, is an hour of prayer,” and no doubt an hour of work can also be an hour of prayer.
Of course, this calls us to give our best efforts, imitating the sacrifice of Abel who gave God his best.
3Place a holy image next to you
Glancing at a small holy image from time to time can recall your mind to the spiritual purpose of your responsibilities and remind you to offer up this time.
Perhaps you have handy a small cross or holy card (which can double as a bookmark!). You can even pull up an image on your phone.
In a professional setting, you might add subtle Catholic art, like this striking Divine Mercy abstract painting.
4When it’s time to stop work, take time to really rest
The Catechism reminds us that “Work is for man, not man for work” (2428). When it’s time to stop working, we benefit so much from real rest.
Rest isn’t just good for the soul. It’s also good for the mind and actually makes us better at fulfilling our obligations.
A study found that the most productive employees take effective breaks. Yes, taking strategic time off to rest actually boosts your productivity.
Of course, that does mean really resting, not just doomscrolling on our phones. Enjoy a short walk, read a book, pray or meditate, talk to a colleague, or grab a snack.
These periods of restful leisure mixed into our work bring purpose to the whole day.