How do you know when your work is finished?
When you’ve put in your 8 hours? When you’ve turned the project over to someone else? When you’ve met some deadline? When you’ve added your part and have nothing else to say or do?
I’ve turned in enough writing projects over the years and always wondered; could I have said it better, been more concise or descriptive or clear? Was it finished just because I hit SEND and didn’t have to face it the next day?
There’s a prayer for that feeling of wanting to know the relief and success of finished work. It comes from my favorite book of Philippians when Paul prayed one of his joy-prayers for his beloved friends.
I am certain that God, who began the good work within you,
will continue his work until it is finally finished
on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
Philippians 1:6, NLT
This prayer celebrates Jesus’ ongoing work of salvation in my life. It reminds me that I am still an unfinished project for Jesus but I am not in charge of the finishing work. I give him my constant surrender and immediate obedience and Jesus uses my teachability and cooperation to shape and grow me. I am not a box for him to check off or a deadline to meet. I am his creative pursuit. I am his passion. It is a mysteriously settling awareness.
I also use this prayer for life pursuits that contribute to the finishing work Jesus wants to accomplish in me. Whether it is writing or managing my home, or bringing to my marriage the partner that enhances our onefleshness, or investing myself in friendships or service; it is all part of the finishing work Jesus oversees. Everything I do is a part of God’s finishing work in me.
This prayer reminds me that I can’t say I’ve finished something, unless I have allowed it to complete some part of the finishing work of God. It’s not the prayer that finishes the work; it’s the work of the prayer that does the finishing. The prayer opens my awareness to whatever Jesus wants to accomplish in me by what I do and the way I do it.
What God began in me through salvation, he continues to work on with everything it means to be finished before God. It’s polishing work that painfully focuses on my rough edges, my quick tongue or slow obedience, my unnecessary insecurities or my misplaced confidence.
I pray this prayer often that I will not forget that life is more than a deadline or task list. Life is a journey to God. And one day I will celebrate what He has finally finished.
Prayer Prompts for the Week____________________________________
Wednesday What good work has God began in you? Thank God for it.
Thursday Are you blocking His finishing work in you? Ask God to help you
Friday How teachable are you if God says some activity, thought, goal or
relationship won’t finish you? Pray for teachability.
Saturday What overwhelms you, put it on God’s task list and let Him
delegate your next step. Pray for obedience not finishing.
Sunday Lay down your struggle to finish anything today. Take Sabbath
rest for you mind and heart. It is God’s gift. Just be who God loves today.
Monday As you start another week, don’t make any task list without God’s
input and sanction. Let your conversation with God about it be your Monday morning prayer.
Tuesday Do you see the connection between everything you do and the
work God is finishing in you? Keep praying this prayer and you will.