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Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Start:Stop - A prayer for our busy working lives

Bible reading

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff — they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long. [Psalm 23]


In reflecting on this Psalm I simply want to share with you two rewritings of the Psalm. The first, by Marcia K. Hornok,  is the antithesis of Psalm 23 outlining all the ways in which our working lives do not align with the Psalm. The second, which was composed by Toki Miyashina and broadcast by Rev. Eric Frost on 4th May 1965, which re-translates the Psalm as a prayer for our busy working lives. As we think about both, may we reflect on ways to draw on the wisdom of this Psalm in the midst of our busy working lives.

The clock is my dictator, I shall not rest.
It makes me lie down only when exhausted.
It leads me to deep depression. It hounds my soul.
It leads me in circles of frenzy for activity’s sake.
Even though I run frantically from task to task,
I will never get it done,
For my “ideal” is with me.
Deadlines and my need for approval, they drive me.
They demand performance from me,
beyond the limits of my schedule.
They anoint my head with migraines.
My in-box overflows.
Surely fatigue and time pressure shall follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the bonds of frustration forever.

Psalm 23 - Japanese version

The Lord is my Pace-setter, I shall not rush;
He makes me stop and rest for quiet intervals.
He provides me with images of stillness, which restore my serenity;
He leads me in ways of efficiency through calmness of mind,
And His guidance is peace.
Even though I have a great many things to accomplish each day,
I will not fret, for His presence is here.
His timelessness, His all importance, will keep me in balance.
He prepares refreshment and renewal in the midst of my activity
By anointing my mind with His oils of tranquillity.
Surely harmony and effectiveness shall be the fruits of my hours,
For I shall walk in the peace of my Lord, and dwell in His house for ever.


The Lord is our shepherd. We have all that we need. We pray for those who feel overwhelmed and alone in the darkness of depression, illness, loss or anxiety. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

He lets us rest in green meadows. We pray for refugees and asylum seekers who have given up everything, for survivors of natural disasters who have nothing left, and for all who are homeless. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

He leads us beside peaceful streams. We pray for people who have only dirty water to drink, and those for whom hunger is not a choice. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

He renews our strength. He guides us along right paths, bringing honour to his name. We pray for those whose faith is new or fragile, for those burdened by doubts. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Even when we walk through the darkest valley, we will not be afraid, for you are close beside us.
We pray for those who struggle with temptation or addiction, for those who feel invisible or
voiceless. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

You prepare a feast for us in the presence of our enemies. We pray for Christians who live in countries where it is dangerous or illegal be a Christian. For those who face persecution, imprisonment, and death, as a direct consequence of their faith. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Our cup overflows with blessings. We pray for people who have hurt us, for people we find it hard to forgive, for people we find it difficult to love. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Surely, your goodness and unfailing love will pursue us all the days of our lives, and we will live in your house for ever. We pray that the time will not be far off when your Kingdom will come, and the earth will be filled with the knowledge of your glory. Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.


Go now with your trust in the good shepherd, and let us love, not just in words, but in truth and action. Believe in the name of Jesus Christ, and love one another, just as he has commanded us.
And may God be at your side, even in valleys of death. May Christ Jesus be the cornerstone of your life. And may the Holy Spirit abide in you and tend you with love and mercy all the days of your life. Amen.



11:59 - To Thy Holy Name.