AN ARTICLE RELEVANT TO THIS TOPIC SHOWS UP AT TitusOneNine.
Friday after Thanksgiving was "Black Friday", when many retailers reach profitability for the year.
Do you pray for commerce? If so, how?
I think that we are ambivalent about commerce, and not without reason. "Black Friday" can be seen as part of the pagan recapture of Christmas (which was at one time a Christian take-over of pagan winter festivities). And of course the Bible resounds with warnings about the temptations created by the quest for wealth.
I don't find a really good prayer for commerce in the Books of Common Prayer. There are prayers for success in agriculture, which I suppose we could adapt. And I've blessed businesses using adapted house blessing prayers (most fun was a pizzeria, although I was most uplifted by a family therapist who invited me to bless his new office).
The 1928 BCP has a prayer For Every Man in his Work. It is guarded, at best, in its attitude toward profit:
ALMIGHTY God, our heavenly Father, who declarest thy glory and showest forth thy handiwork in the heavens and in the earth; Deliver us, we beseech thee, in our several callings, from the service of mammon, that we may do the work which thou givest us to do, in truth, in beauty, and in righteousness, with singleness of heart as thy servants, and to the benefit of our fellow men; for the sake of him who came among us as one that serveth, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In this prayer, work reflects the Creator's image in our lives, but it also invites temptation to serve the false god of wealth. The prayer asks that we imitate the servanthood of Christ and never detach our wealth from the needs of those around us. But it almost makes one guilty for turning a profit.
The 1979 BCP offers a prayer For the Unemployed:
Heavenly Father, we remember before you those who suffer
want and anxiety from lack of work. Guide the people of this
land so to use our public and private wealth that all may find
suitable and fulfilling employment, and receive just payment
for their labor; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
This prayer also honors work and intercedes for those without it, but there is no real intention for the creation of wealth. Wealth seems to be a finite, pre-exisiting thing for redistribution.
So, what do you think? Should we pray for commerce? If so, how? (Here's your chance to write a Collect for Commerce).