I was well into my fourth year as a high school special education teacher when the looming cloud of burnout began drifting uncomfortably close.
Determined not to fall into the statistic of special education teachers who leave the profession within the first five years, I needed a fresh wave of encouragement to wash over me and breathe life into my weary soul.
Part of my discouragement stemmed from the fact that I was a devoted Christ-follower in a secular system – a system with strict rules that prohibited me from sharing my faith in the classroom.
I was wrestling with my calling when an older woman from my church suggested I use the verses of Colossians 1:9-12 as a prayer guide for my students and coworkers.
What I discovered in the months that followed changed my experience at work in notable ways.
I began praying over my students, their parents, my coworkers, the custodians, and the district administration on a daily basis.
As I lifted these prayers before the throne, I noticed my heart shifted and softened toward those for whom I prayed.
God granted me his patience and compassion for my students, and instead of harboring a critical spirit when the administration made choices with which I disagreed, I was peaceful and unshaken.
In the midst of the season of faithful prayer, parent meetings became opportunities to encourage weary caretakers.
Behavioral issues with students were invitations to dig deeper and uncover the reasons behind explosive outbursts.
Sharp remarks from other teachers on my team were occasions to ask questions about what was really happening in their lives and classrooms.
My eyes were opened to God in my midst in a way that my prayerless seasons did not afford.
If you’re feeling uncertain of how to pray for your coworkers, administrators, or clients, here are some helpful suggestions to get you started…
Pray for those in your workplace to be filled with the knowledge of God’s will (Colossians 1:9)
Differing opinions often lead to heated conversations in the workplace.
Praying that you will know God’s will, and praying that those with whom you work will know God’s will breaks up the ground for softened hearts.
Simply praying these words over your coworkers will also soften your heart if you pray with the right motives.
Praying that we would know and follow God’s will is the highest calling when it comes to our decisions. This is an important prayer to align your heart with God’s heart.
Pray for those in your workplace grow in spiritual wisdom and understanding (Colossians 1:9)
While some of us work in environments where we’re free to share our faith openly, many of us walk the delicate balance of working in secular environments with a wide variety of individuals.
My coworkers included those who practiced Native American spirituality, atheists, Baptists, Catholics, and Pentecostals. The demographic among my students was even more diverse.
Praying for these people individually, and praying for them to encounter the One True God, opened my eyes for opportunities to speak spiritual truth.
Pray for those in your workplace to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord and please Him in all respects (Colossians 1:10)
It’s difficult to watch people we care about when they turn to destructive lifestyle decisions.
Whether it was the student who habitually fell to self-harm, the paraprofessional who obviously abused alcohol in the evenings, or the coworker who admitted to cheating on her husband, we honor God when we pray for others to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord.
We don’t pray this with simple hopes for behavior modification. We pray for heart-change, and we pray for change because we know that the Lord’s way is the most fruitful, fulfilling, and abundant way.
Pray for those in your workplace to bear fruit (Colossians 1:10)
Most jobs exist with a spoken expectation that puts a high priority on getting things done. We work in order to accomplish the tasks required by our jobs.
The accountant crunches numbers.
The server delivers hot food.
The minister pastors hurting hearts and speaks words of truth.
Regardless of where we work, there is an expectation for fruit. When we pray for those in our workplaces to bear fruit, we are praying God’s will.
We are praying they will produce good things from the work of their hands. We are praying for their encouragement when we pray that their work will bear fruit.
Pray for those in your workplace to be strengthened with God’s power (Colossians 1:11)
God’s power equips us for the long haul. His power enables us to do what we couldn’t otherwise accomplish.
Praying for those in our workplaces to have God’s power in and through them is a platform for them to encounter him in new and riveting ways.
It’s an invitation to carry out their work until completion, serve with Christ-like motives, and honor God at work. Most of us would welcome a fresh wave of power at work.
Let’s bless our coworkers by praying that God will provide this fresh wave of power.
Remarkable changes took place when I started praying for my workplace regularly.
The greatest change was the shift in my heart. I was reminded that my calling in a secular education system was filled with opportunities to make an eternal impact for the kingdom of God.
The part of me that was burning out was changed through my prayers for others.
My weary soul was revitalized, and I’m convinced I’ll see the fruit of my prayers in the years to come.