By Amber Kinloch
Our need for prayer is tremendous. We glance about at the people around us or look into our own souls and are immediately confronted by the reality of how desperately we are in need of God. Even those who don’t recognize or acknowledge this reality can’t escape it. As St. Augustine writes in his Confessions: “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”
Still, the majority of the Church’s sons and daughters are laypeople like you and me. Most of us lead busy lives where the greater part of our time is devoted to work. We struggle, perhaps, to be strong in purposefully blocking out time for prayer. There’s just so much to do.
Take heart! The issue isn’t a tug-of-war between time for prayer vs. work. Rather, it’s a matter of transforming our work into a prayer.
Working for God
The basic goal we’re shooting for is to do our work for God and bring Him into it. We not only want to offer it to Him, we want Him present there with us.
Picture St. Joseph working in his carpentry shop. Joseph is absorbed in sawing a board or conversing with a customer. The task demands his full attention. Jesus is playing close by in the doorway of the shop. Joseph doesn’t look at Jesus because he’s engrossed in his business. But he’s aware of Jesus’ Presence, and his heart and mind are attuned towards Him.
This what it means to maintain a sense of God’s presence and to pray while working. It’s not so much a matter of talking to God as simply being with Him.
How We Attain This
Catholics customarily begin their day with a morning offering as a way of focusing on God and orienting everything towards Him. Before you begin work is a good time to renew this offering. Offer your work and associated crosses for some person or intention, and make a small resolution to practice virtue in a specific way.
These are short prayers (“flying prayers” I like to call them) that help you keep in the presence of God and not lose sight of Him amidst the hustle and bustle of work. There are countless ones you might use. One current favorite of mine is, “Through Him, with Him, in Him,” from the Doxology before the Great Amen at Mass.
Carry a Rosary in your pocket and touch it occasionally as a silent prayer. Glance at a Crucifix or another religious image on your wall or desk. Think of Joseph casting a glance at Jesus and do the same. No words are needed. A look of love is enough to fan the flame of love within you.
Amber writes from the bunker of her living room. There she hunkers down with her laptop and a blanket while keeping an eye and ear tuned in to the activity of family life. Music set on loop keeps her energy flowing as she muses on the deeper happenings of ordinary life and what food to restock the fridge with.