One of our core values and key practices as Unhurried Living is learning to live and lead from the intersection of deep-rooted inner life and more-fruitful outer life. Prayer and work are not separate menu items you have to choose between. They are not a swing on which you go back and forth between two extremes.
They are, instead, an integrated, organic, living reality. They are not two things. They are one thing. We pray in the midst of our work. Our work is a way of living in prayerful communion with the God we serve (whether our jobs are in churches or not).
Prayer is the soul of good work. Work is the outward expression of good prayer.
The challenge Gem and I experience when we rush in our work is that a fruitful, rooted awareness of God-with-us gets squeezed out. We’re just going too fast to notice that God is right there with us. Instead of peaceful, we’re anxious. Instead of hopeful, we’re discouraged. Instead of energized, we’re drained.
When we slow down, we remember that our work is a small part of his previously started work. This awareness can lighten my load. I’m not starting things and asking God to bless them. I’m learning to slow down enough to notice what God is doing, and learning to cooperate with that work with him.
On Monday, our latest podcast episode aired, “Floating Trees and Rooted Stumps: How Work and Prayer Cooperate.” Gem and I talked about these two odd images that represent when we turn prayer and work into an either/or proposition.
A floating tree is when our work is not rooted in the soil of God’s grace, God’s love, God’s empowering presence. Rooted stumps are the attempt to have deep lives of prayer without letting that life express itself in good, hard, loving work. You may enjoy listening to that episode if you haven’t already.
In our current webinar series in An Unhurried Community, we’ve been taking a look under the hood of our hurry, identifying cultural, relational and personal values that have a way of accelerating our lives. It really is possible to live and lead unhurried, and to discover that this is actually a more productive way to do it.