Working, Praying

key of 'A' (also see key of 'Bb' version)

Music by Ron Klusmeier
Words by Walter Farquharson
Tune Name: MANLEY

Lyrics as Poetry

Working, praying,
We’re waiting for God’s Day,
when justice flows and kindness grows
and truth’s allowed its say.
When justice flows and kindness grows
and truth’s allowed its say.

Working, praying,
We’re waiting for God’s Day,
when food abounds and shelter’s found,
and children laugh and play.
When food abounds and shelter’s found,
and children laugh and play.

Working, praying,
We’re waiting for God’s Day,
when peace unfolds, love’s story’s told,
and all walk in God’s way.
When peace unfolds, love’s story’s told,
and all walk in God’s way.

Working, praying,
We’re waiting, God, today,
O speak your word, ’til all have heard,
and slave chains fall away.
O speak your word, ’til all have heard,
and slave chains fall away.

Working, praying,
We’re waiting, God, today,
Please write love’s part on every heart,
and teach us to obey.
Please write love’s part on every heart,
and let us love obey.


Words by
Walter FarquharsonCopyright © 1985 by Walter Farquharson
Administered by Hope Publishing Company
Carol Stream, Illinois • USA

Comments About Song

A Reflection by
WALTER FARQUHARSON


The essential rhythm of Christian discipleship is found in the balance and the interplay of prayer and working for God’s New Day. Life for the individual, the congregation, the human family quickly becomes distorted when one or another is neglected.

The “work” is not the work of business or busyness. The “work” is that which seeks justice for all but especially those who have been systematically denied it. It is the work and practice of forgiveness and mercy, which is different from sentimentality and pity. It is the work of building peaceful and peace-creating relationships, actively promoting works of reconciliation that rights wrongs and reaches out with the hand of mutual respect and honouring.

Jesus sent out his disciples to proclaim the good news of the kingdom, of God’s New Day. Proclaiming is not just preaching and teaching, it is essentially inaugurating!  That was why his sending out included healing, the driving out of demons (whatever separates the children of God from God and/or one another, whatever alienates from the earth and God’s good creation).  As all this was essential to Jesus’ commissioning of his disciples, it remains his commissioning to modern day followers.

This “working” is also “waiting”, or, more accurately, “awaiting”. It is a looking forward fueled by hope and a trust in the promises of God. It is never separated from the awareness that we live by, and within, grace, God’s self-giving.  Curiously, neither is it separated from community and the treasuring of community and the individuals who inhabit community. We celebrate engagement, commitment, persistence, patience. Perhaps we should name these gifts as fruits of the Spirit and guarantees of the living presence of a loving God who doesn’t give up. “Please write love’s part on every heart, and teach us to obey.”

Just as working for God’s New Day is essential to our lives as Jesus’ people, so prayer is the other indispensible ingredient. We may think of prayer primarily as words spoken. Prayers may be spoken, but more often they are not.  Prayer is listening, allowing ourselves to be drawn into God’s being, God’s nature, God’s intention. Prayer involves seeing, hearing, sensing God’s presence. This, God’s presence, means God’s love, God’s joy, God’s sorrow, God’s way of seeing us, seeing our neighbour, seeing the creation, seeing the unfolding human story with its tragedies and triumphs, its goodness and its enslavement.  

Much prayer begins with an awareness that God embraces us and our world. God breathes life, spirit, into us. God shapes and reshapes us into human beings. The old spiritual affirms, “He’s got the whole world in his hands… He’s got you and me …everybody.”

We envision that with joy, with comfort, with a sense of sharing in that. So we may pray by imagining that we hold ourselves, each other, the whole of humankind, the creation in our hands – we see as God sees and we see, as God sees, what needs to be done and what our share in that will be.

James writes very bluntly, “If a brother or sister is without clothing or food and one of you says to them ‘Go in peace; keep warm and eat your fill,’ and does not supply their needs, what good is that? … You believe God is one; you do well.  Even the demons believe and shudder. Faith without works is dead!”  

In Matthew’s gospel it is recorded that Jesus spoke harsh words for those who he said saw him hungry and did not feed him, in prison and did not visit him. When they protested indignantly he reminded them, “Inasmuch as you did not do this to one of those counted least important among my sisters and brothers, you failed to do it to me!” If we would pray for another we must be prepared to reach out to that person or to act on their behalf – as neighbour, as sister or brother , not just as an uninvolved observer or benefactor.  Praying for refugees is one thing, welcoming them into our country or neighbourhood quite another. Praying for the homeless is one thing, supporting public housing yet another. Praying for victims of domestic abuse and never raising a voice to insist that society has a responsibility, an urgent responsibility, to address the need for shelters and for victim support and protection is a contradiction.

When we pray for another, when we cry out to God about injustices or particular situations, we need to be ready to hear the word of the Lord come to us, “And who will I send? Who will go for us? Are you ready? Are you willing?”

A prayerful way of using this song would be to sing it, speak it, read it silently, verse by verse, and, at the end of each verse, to stop and ask, or allow God to ask, “And, so?”

Prayer is dangerous. It invites change. Change in me.

Consider the prayer Jesus taught. “Hallowed be your name, Your kingdom come, Your will be done.” Let’s expand it slightly, “Not my will, yours.  Not the kingdoms, empires, ideologies, infatuations and compulsions of our world, not all those other things that demand our loyalty and that ultimately enslave us, reducing our humanity and our capacity to care, to share, to know joy and to love deeply and truly. Your will be done.”

“God has told you, O mortal, what is good: and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness (mercy) and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8)

And, as John might have said, “…those who do not walk humbly with a brother or sister whom they have seen, cannot walk humbly with God whom they have not seen.  … Those who walk humbly with God must walk humbly with their brothers and sisters also.” (1 John 4:20-21)

Audio Sample: Piano

One verse played by Ron Klusmeier

Scripture References

  • Matthew 6:5-13
  • Matthew 25:41-45
  • Mark 9:1-5
  • Luke 4:1-12
  • John 15:1-12
  • Acts 1:14
  • Philippians 4:6
  • Colossians 4:2
  • James 2:14-19
  • James 5:13-16

Season, Theme
or Subject

  • Advent∶Themes∶ love
  • Advent∶Themes∶ peace
  • Advent∶ Year 'A'∶ Advent 2
  • Advent∶ Year 'C'∶ Advent 3
  • Free, Freedom
  • Justice, Human Rights
  • Love∶ God's
  • Love∶ living love
  • Peace

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