Who’s The Boss? Balancing Prayer and Work In Ministry

Monday (middle school Sunday night) and Friday (high school Thursday night) mornings I feel like I’ve been hit by a train.  And as each year passes that train starts to get bigger because I’m getting older…I used to associate to how I feel like a hangover but now it’s more like a post operation rehabilitation.  I realize that part of the solution is to make sure I get plenty of sleep and maintain a healthy diet (all tips I’ve learned from running) but I think we rarely attribute our fatigue to where we are spiritually.  I don’t know about you but I spend most of my work day nose deep in scripture, talking about spirituality, mentoring and working to grow God’s kingdom you would think a job like this would be uplifting, motivating, constantly filling me with energy, but it isn’t.  Why is that?
Because I’m letting my job dictate my spiritual life instead of my spiritual life dictate my job.  There are so many times where I’m reading scripture thinking, “This would be a great lesson plan.” or “Let me see how I can relate this to students.” when I should be asking, “God what are you asking me to do today?”  And it’s good to ask those questions but it’s also like being married and the only thing you talk to your spouse about is work.  God wants to get into our personal lives, He cares about our work, but He wants to make you a better spouse, parent, child, not just a better youth worker.  That’s why it’s important that we try to turn it around and have our faith influence or job.  Here are a few steps to help you do that:

  1. Give Thanks – I don’t know about you but I’ve noticed a lot of prayer by default is asking God for something.  It’s not bad to ask God for things; however, we need remember that giving glory to God is the most important thing we can do.  So how do you give thanks?  Is it every time you hit a green light on the way to work?  Is it when your favorite song is on the radio? Is it when you wake up with a family you love?  When we give thanks to God, we are reminded of how blessed we are to have a job that brings others closer to Him.
  2. Interrupt Your Life – One thing I use to do that I need to get back into the habit of is spending a day with God.  I use to take the first Wednesday of every month to be quiet with God.  I would literally go to a chapel (off campus), or to some outside sanctuary and pray.  It was tough to do a whole day at first, but the more I did it the more I realized how refreshed I felt afterward.  Now this was a work day, not my day off and that made it a challenge, but my pastor was okay with that.  I realize that not all of us can take a whole day off, but find some time to interrupt where you can be with God (10min, 30min, 1 hr) and just know that when you are with Him, it’s all okay just because you are taking a break to be with Him doesn’t mean He’s taking a break of being in control. 
  3. Celebrate The Sabbath – I’m a big violator of this, I use to be a lot better but how are you spending your day off?  For some of us that’s two days, others that’s one but what are you doing to make sure you are being refilled and refreshed by the Lord?  For me I look at doing things or activities that will only fuel me, such as baking, running, sleeping, praying or just hanging out with family.  I try to avoid chores, errands and work related activities, which can be a challenge considering our weeks are not always standard.  
I’m sure there are more things we can do to bring God to the forefront of our lives, that’s why if you have suggestions please share them here.  It’s important that we remember that even though our jobs might be faith related we still need to work on our relationship with Christ.