Jeff Haanen

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The Prayer of Awareness


Several weeks ago I sat down to breakfast with my friend and spiritual mentor Barry. Since Barry is the CFO of a publicly traded company, I’m always wanting to talk business. Turn arounds, strategies, stock price, leadership. Yet he continually takes the conversation back to a moment-by-moment relationship with Christ.

“My spiritual director shared with me a practice that I’ve found very helpful,” Barry said. “And it centers on the concept of awareness. The first step in this prayer is just this: (1) Recognize that Jesus is aware of you in this moment.”

Awareness. Interesting thought. One of my unspoken barriers to prayer is that Jesus is high, far off, and mighty – and that I need to get in the right room, position, or posture to pray. But the truth is that Jesus, who is with us to the very end of the age, is aware of me right now. At a computer. On the way to the bathroom. In a meeting. In the car. Putting on my socks. That means he’s aware of my body, my feelings, and my innermost thoughts.

“From there,” Barry continued, “simply do this: (2) Say to him one thing that’s important to you.” For example, it could be an email you’re waiting on from a prospective client, the stress of your kids not listening to you, or the pain of an ongoing addiction. It could be anything. But it makes sense: if Jesus is aware of me right now, the first step in a simple conversation between friends would be to share one thing that’s important to me.

“Finally, after you’ve done this,” Barry said, “(3) Listen for one thing that’s important to Jesus that He wants you to know.” As I started to apply this to my own work day, this final step was surprisingly easy. “Trust me. I will provide,” was the answer I got to a lot of my own worries about money. I also felt like Scripture would pop into my mind from my time reading the Bible in the morning. “I am with you. Don’t be afraid. Bring your anxiety to me and I will give you peace.”

I’m just starting to practice the Prayer of Awareness. But there’s two reasons why I’m hopeful that this practice can grow my relationship with Christ:

(1) It only takes about 15 seconds. I can do it while pumping gas, nodding off on a conference call, or after a conflict with my wife. It works just as well walking to the bathroom at work as it does at home with my kids.

(2) It doesn’t require much holiness! Just honesty. Christ is aware of me right now, in this moment. I don’t have to do some kind of elaborate preparation for prayer nor find just the right words to pray. (Often, when I pray in groups, to be honest, only half of it is actual conversation with God. The other half is performance for others in the room.)

As I type this article, he sees, listens, and cares for me. Because this is true, I can share simply what’s important to me, and listen for what’s important to him, as anybody would do with a friend.

If you decide to practice this prayer this week, I’d like to hear from you. Contact me with your story, and, with your permission, I’ll share it here.

Photo: Walking to Work 

The Prayer of Awareness

  1. Recognize that Jesus is aware of you in this moment.
  2. Say to Him one thing that’s important to you.
  3. Listen for one thing that’s important to Jesus that He wants you to know.

A Prayer for Work


O Lord!

May all my work today be for you, and you alone!

Teach me to see my daily labor in the piercing light of your Truth. Open my ears to hear the great cloud of witnesses who have gone before me, that I might walk in paths of righteousness for your name’s sake.

Stir my heart to speak and embody your gospel of grace to all, employees and co-workers, bosses and clients, patients and students – to all that all might have life, life, eternal life!

O Christ of the cross, in the pain of my work, give me the courage to sacrifice for the good of others, all the while pointing to you, he who suffered and died, and overcame death! May I not turn back from the plow, but may the sweat of my brow bring the first fruits of new life!

O incarnate King of Heaven, show me where I might draw close to others as you draw close to us, that the human family might truly become a community, as you are Community, Triune Creator and Redeemer!

O Savior who has even called us the Body of Christ, may we too give our bodies, our very flesh for the life of the world!

When darkness and death overwhelm, may we be as bold as lions, and stand against evil in our work, and in our world! May sin not rule over us, but may you reign, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Lord of life!

Lord of all wisdom, teach us to be innocent as doves yet wise as serpents as we seek to solve intractable problems and unyielding difficulties. Fill our minds with your unsearchable wisdom!

Defender of the weak, open our eyes to the poor and marginalized in our midst. Teach us to not just to serve the poor, but to see the poor. And may we too become poor, as you became poor, that we all might be filled with the riches of heaven.

Lord of the Vine, I can bear no fruit apart from you. Draw near to me, Savior, as I draw near to you. And by your mercy, bring abundant fruit and everlasting life from my labor this day!

Lord, may each word, each email, each meeting, each idea, each product, each service, each goal – May all that I am and all that I have be consecrated to you, my sweet reward, my secret joy, my firm hope.

O Lord!

May all my work today be for you, and for you alone!

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