William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

Faith and Help at Work

Excerpted from Everyday Religion by C. H. Spurgeon

Secondly, faith leads a man to look to god for help in his ordinary avocation.
Here, again, it has a great influence over him. A believer may seek of God the
qualifications for his particular calling. "What," say you, "may we pray about
such things?" Yes. The labourer may appeal to God for strength; the artisan may
ask God for skill; the student may seek God for help to quicken his

David was a great warrior, and he attributed his valour to God who taught his
hands to war and his fingers to fight. We read of Bezaleel, and of the women
that were wise-hearted, that God had taught them, so that they made all manner
of embroidery and metal work for the house of the Lord. In those days they used
to reckon skill and invention to be the gifts of God; this wretched century has
grown too wise to honour any God but its own idolized self. If you pray over
your work I am persuaded you will be helped in it. If for your calling you are
as yet but slenderly qualified, you may every morning pray God to help you that
you may be careful and observant as an apprentice or a beginner; for has he not
promised that as your day your strength shall be? A mind which is trusting in
the Lord is in the best condition for acquiring knowledge, and getting

As to your behaviour also in your work, there is room for faith and prayer. For,
O brethren, whether qualified or not for any particular offices of this life,
our conduct is the most important matter. It is well to be clever, but it is
essential to be pure. I would have you masters of your trades, but I am even
more earnest that you should be honest, truthful, and holy. About this we may
confidently go to God and ask him to lead us in a plain path, and to hold up our
goings that we slip not, He can and will help us to behave ourselves wisely.
"Lead us not into temptation" is one sentence of our daily prayer, and we may
further ask that when we are in the temptation we may be delivered from the
evil. We need prudence, and faith remembers that if any lack wisdom he may ask
of God. Godliness teaches the young men prudence, the babes knowledge and
discretion. See how Joseph prospered in Egypt because the Lord was with him. He
was placed in very difficult positions, on one occasion in a position of the
most terrible danger, but he escaped by saying, "How can I do this great
wickedness and sin against God?" A sense of God's presence preserved him then
and at all other times. He was set over all the house of Potiphar because God
was with him. And so, dear friends, engaged in service or in business, you may
go to your heavenly Father and ask him to guide you with his counsel, and you
may rest assured that he will order all your way, so that your daily calling
shall not hinder your heavenly calling, nor your conduct belie your profession.
Faith bids you seek help from God as to the success of your daily calling. Know
ye not what David says, "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain
that build it. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the
bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep." It is a most pleasant
thing to be able by faith to consult the holy oracle about everything, whether
it arises in trade, or in the family, or in the church. We may say with
Abraham's servant, "O Lord, I pray thee send me good speed this day." You may
expect success if you thus seek it: and peradventure some of you would have
prospered more if you had more believingly sought the Lord. I say
"peradventure," because God does not always prosper even his own people in
outward things, since it is sometimes better for their souls that they should be
in adversity, and then the highest prosperity is a want of prosperity. Faith
quiets the heart in this matter by enabling us to leave results in the hand of

Faith acts also in reference to our surroundings. We are all very much
influenced by those about us. God can raise us up friends who will be eminently
helpful to us, and we may pray him to do so: he can put us into a circle of
society in which we shall find much assistance in this life's affairs, and also
in our progress towards heaven; and concerning this we know that "The steps of a
good man are ordered of the Lord." Faith will keep you clear of evil company,
and constrain you to seek the society of the excellent of this earth, and thus
it will colour your whole life. If there be no friends to help him, the
believer's dependence is so fixed upon God, that ho goes forward in cheerful
confidence knowing that the Lord alone is sufficient for him; yet, if he be
encouraged and assisted by friends, he looks upon it as God's doing, as much as
when David was strengthened by those who came to him in the cave.
Do you say, We see the connection of this with faith, but how with faith upon
the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for us? I answer,-Our Saviour as
the object of our faith is also the object of our imitation, and you know,
brethren, how in all things he rested upon God. Whenever he undertook a great
enterprise you find him spending a night in prayer. If anybody could have
dispensed with prayer it was our Lord Jesus; if any man that ever lived could
have found his own way without heavenly guidance it was Christ the Son of God.
If then he was as much in prayer and exercised faith in the great Father, much
more should you and I bring everything before God. We should live in the flesh
expecting that the Lord Jesus will be with us even to the end, and that we shall
be upheld and comforted by his sympathetic love and tenderness. Faith enables us
to follow Jesus as the great Shepherd of the sheep, and to expect to be led in a
right way, and daily upheld and sustained until the Redeemer shall come to
receive us unto himself.


Promoting a Greater Understanding of the Discovery of the Americas