Pray and work

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"Ora et labora" redirects here. For album by Croatian singer Marko Perković Thompson, see Ora et labora (album).
Relief with the motto (in gold) Ora et labora

In Christian mysticism, the phrase pray and work (or "pray and labor", in Latin ora et labora) refers to the monastic practice of working and praying, generally associated with its use in the Rule of St. Benedict.[1]

Benedict viewed prayer and work as partners, and believed in combining contemplation with action.[2] The phrase expresses the need to balance prayer and work in monastic settings and has been used in many religious communities from the Middle Ages onwards.

Wesley College, Colombo, a high school in Sri Lanka founded by Methodist missionaries in 1874, has been using Ora Et Labora as the motto since its inception.

Some orders (such as the Cistercians) applied the concept directly to farm work and became an element in the movement towards land reclamation from rot and agricultural development in Western Europe. Other orders such as the Humiliati applied the concept to the production of woolen cloth using wheels in the period prior to the industrial revolution.

The motto of the religious Zionist organisation Bnei Akiva is torah v'avodah, "Torah and work".

In 1862, near the town of present-day Pigeon, Michigan, German Christians led by Emil Baur founded the short-lived Christian community of Ora Labora. Designed along the lines of socialist, communal living, the town had failed by the early 1870s.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Benedict of Nursia Anselm Grün, Linda M. Maloney 2006 ISBN 0-8146-2910-5 page 30
  2. ^ Benedict's Way: An Ancient Monk's Insights for a Balanced Life by Lonni Collins Pratt, Daniel Homan, OSB 2001 ISBN 0-8294-1787-7 page 47


  • Ora et labora: prayer and action as cooperation with God by Robert Field, University of the South, 1993