52 Workday Prayers: Psalm 23 - Lord, Lead Me in Right PathsPrayer / Produced by partner of TOW
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.
In Psalm 23, God is our shepherd, the one who cares for us in tangible ways. Twice the psalm writer says that the Lord “leads” him, using two different Hebrew verbs with similar meaning. God leads him “beside still waters” so that he might be refreshed and restored (23:2). God also leads him “in right paths for his name’s sake.”
The “right paths” are not limited to what we might call the “religious” or the “personal” spheres of life. Rather, they are all-inclusive. The promise of Psalm 23 is that God will lead us in “the right direction” in every part of life (following the wording of The Message). Thus, the “right paths” of this psalm have everything to do with our daily work: the actions we take, the decisions we make, the words we speak.
Notice also that the Lord leads us in right paths “for his name’s sake.” In Scripture God’s name often stands in for God’s own identity. It can also represent God’s reputation or honor. The point here is that God leads us in the right direction, not only because he cares for us, but also to glorify himself. When we do what’s right, when we act in ways consistent with God’s own righteousness, then God’s will is done and God’s glory is celebrated.
Gracious God, thank you for being my shepherd. Because you care for me, I what I need. I can be rested and refreshed. I can follow your trustworthy lead. I don’t have to worry even in the darkest valley. You provide for me in marvelous ways and fill my life with your goodness and mercy. Because of your grace, I will live in relationship with you my whole life long. Thank you for being my good shepherd.
Today, Lord, I ask you to shepherd me in a very particular way. Please lead me in right paths in my work. Help me make wise decisions at all times, but especially when my human wisdom is inadequate. Teach me to seek your justice in all my relationships as well as in the systems of my workplace. Help me to develop right relationships with my colleagues and all others with whom I interact at work.
May the way I work bring honor to your name. May all of my choices, actions, and words be consistent with your will. May those who work with me see evidence of your guidance and grace in my life. May the fruit of my labor glorify you. Amen.
Ponder Throughout the Day
The Lord is your Good Shepherd, who will lead you in right paths as you work.
For Further Reflection
Read all of Psalm 23, paying attention to what the Spirit of God is stirring up in your heart, especially in relationship to your work. Talk with God about what you are thinking and feeling.
You might also reflect on the following passage from John:
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, who is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and runs away—and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. The hired hand runs away because a hired hand does not care for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father. And I lay down my life for the sheep.” - John 10:11-15
This prayer is part of a collection: 52 Workday Prayers: Learn from the Psalms How to Pray through Your Work. To purchase this devotional and small group guide, visit the De Pree Center store.