Benedict founded his Benedictine order as a reaction to the worldliness of the sixth-century church. His slogan was Ora Labora, from the Latin ora, “pray,” and labora, “work.” He taught his followers that to pray was to work, and to work was to pray. Following that rule, the Benedictine order broke down the artificial dichotomy between work and prayer. From there they also bridged the gap between the manual arts and the liberal arts, the physical and the intellectual, and the empirical and the speculative. A great tradition developed in which learning, science, agriculture, architecture, and art flourished. Much of what is considered beautiful “nature” in Europe today, particularly in France, was created by the Benedictine monks who drained swamps and cleared forests.
We must learn that prayer is our chief work. Only then can our work become prayer: real service, real satisfaction. This simple truth alone explains why so many people in the church find themselves exhausted, stretched to the breaking point, and burned out.
Ora Labora – Pray and Work (biblical support)
Col. 4:12-13 Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ Jesus, greets you, always struggling on your behalf in his prayers, that you may stand mature and fully assured in all the will of God. For I bear him witness that he has worked hard for you and for those in Laodicea and in Hierapolis.
Why do we pray?
Eph. 6:12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.
Eph. 6:18 Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Helpful pattern for prayer:
Col. 1:27 “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.”
Confession- Psalm 139:1-12; Psalm 32:1-2, 51:1-2
Petition- Col. 1:3-14 “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
Intercession- I Tim. 2:1 “ First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,”
Eph. 6:18 “Praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,
Thanksgiving- Psalm 145:1-5” I will extol thee, my God, O king; and I will bless thy name for ever and ever.
Every day will I bless thee; and I will praise thy name for ever and ever.
Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.
One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.
I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.”