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Monday, January 2, 2017

Priorities, Prayer, and Adventure

How do you start your work day? Better phrased, how do you prepare for your work day? It is relatively easy to conclude that the first hour or two of your day can set the tone for the rest of it.

We have just welcomed in a new year. It’s a great time to review priorities and create new ones if needed. Some adjustments may be in order. For many years when my children were growing up, I would ask my beloved Rhonda and my children, annually, if they believed they were priorities in my life. I didn’t want to be an absent father or husband.

Later in life, I needed to re-prioritize the start of my day with exercise and spiritual development. So after making my morning coffee, I get on my exercise bike each day for thirty minutes. Then it’s to my desk for Bible reading, prayer, and some quiet meditation. This is a tone setter for my day.

Part of my prayer time is spent in my own version of a “prayer journal.” I have developed specific prayer statements that help on those many mornings when my mind is not as clear as I’d like. Some of these are worship based. Several are about work preparation. A few are lists of people for whom I pray.

Some people struggle with words to communicate to a powerful God. If that is you, I believe you can best be served by finding meaningful verses already written. Select material that resonates with your soul and can be spoken in sincerity.

No doubt, Jesus’ disciples had their own issues with learning to pray. They had heard the long, extravagant pleas from seemingly insincere people. Jesus told them it was much simpler.

“When you pray, do not use a lot of meaningless words…Your Father already knows what you need before you ask him. This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven: May your holy name be honored; may your Kingdom come; may your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need. Forgive us the wrongs we have done, as we forgive the wrongs that others have done to us. Do not bring us to hard testing, but keep us safe from the Evil One.’” Matthew 6:7-13 (Good News Translation)

I’d like to offer you some recommended wording of a work related prayer. It actually comes from a song titled, “Before You I Kneel (A Worker’s Prayer),” recorded by Keith and Kristyn Getty. It can just as easily be spoken.

Before You I kneel, my Master and Maker,
To offer the work of my hands.
For this is the day You’ve given Your servant;
I will rejoice and be glad
For the strength I have to live and breathe;
For each skill Your grace has given me;
For the needs and opportunities
That will glorify Your great Name.

Before You I kneel and ask for Your goodness
To cover the work of my hands.
For patience and peace to shape all my labor,
Your grace for thorns in my path.
Flow within me like a living stream,
Wear away the stones of pride and greed
till Your ways are dwelling deep in me
And a harvest of life is grown.

Before You we kneel, Our Master and Maker;
Establish the work of our hands.
And order our steps to seek first Your kingdom
In every small and great task.
May we live the gospel of Your grace,
Serve Your purpose in our fleeting days,
Then our lives will bring eternal praise
And all glory to Your Name.


*Audio of this song is available at:

Making prayer a priority will change you and your life circumstances in positive and remarkable ways. It’s worth the time and effort.

Welcome to 2017! Adventure awaits you.

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Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app. 

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