11950324_1017834181580914_5330433931992338422_oA prayer for labor, for the loves and the longings woven into the very work of our work.

“O Lord and Maker of all things, from whose creative power the first light came forth, who looked upon the world’s first morning and saw that it was good, I praise you now for this light that streams through my windows to rouse me to another day.

I praise you for the life that stirs within me, I praise you for the bright and beautiful world into which I go, I praise you for the work you have given me to do….

But you who are everlasting mercy, give me a tender heart towards all those to whom the morning light brings less joy than it brings to me.

Those in whom the pulse of life grows weak, Those who must lie abed through the all the sunny hours, The overworked, who have no joy of leisure, The unemployed, who have no joy of labor.”

And John Baillie’s prayer goes on, remembering more, pleading for more. But one more day I am grateful for the guidance of a good man like this 20th-century Scottish Presbyterian who reminds us of the world in which we live and labor. For prayer to matter, for it to be for and about things that matter, sometimes it must address that to which we give most of our time and energy. That we somehow imagine vocations and occupations as incidental to the missio Dei is a perpetual perplexity to me. Always and everywhere, who we are and what we do, our vocations and occupations, are integral to what God is doing in the world, even even in our frailty, especially in our stumbling and yearning. How could that not be?

This is his prayer for the morning of the seventh day of the month, Labor Day as it is this year, 2015.

(The Accotink Trail, a bike ride away from our door.)


Steven Garber is the Senior Fellow for Vocation and the Common Good for the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust. A teacher of many people in many places, he continues to serve as a consultant to colleges and corporations, facilitating both individual and institutional vocation. A husband, a father and a grandfather, a he has long lived in Washington DC, living a life among family, friends, and flowers.

Meet Steve