Prayer at Work? The Caribbean Connundrum

At Work Do You Call on a higher Power?

Having a hectic work day? Some drink coffee. Others snack. Some take a walk. Me? I drink water *gulp* and say a prayer. Question is, if I invited others to a group prayer at, let’s say lunch time, would it cause a stir? In the Caribbean, not likely.

Whether it is Jah, Jahjah, Allah, Krishnah, God, Jesus, Spiritual Father, Buddah or (insert name of spiritual higher power here), in the Caribbean, prayer has a place in the workplace. Case in point? In a recent post about how to deal with the loss of a coworker, the need to give colleagues time to Grieve and Breathe was discussed. How does that translate to us in the Caribbean, for many, into a spiritual gathering. A recent one I attended included prayer,  verbal tributes and hymns – in the lunch room of a Corporate Office. We communicate our reverence differently in the Caribbean but our respect and love for each other seems to override the differences that make prayer in the workplace so taboo in many North American workplaces.

Prayer groups and religious groups are par for the course in the Caribbean. Trinidad is still “Rainbow Country” a place where Christians join their Muslim brothers in the month of Ramadan fast. Where it is not unexpected to see a person with a cross pendant light deyas for Divali and where Muslims attend Hindu and Protestant weddings. Does that mean we are less pious? Nope. It means we respect differences. Need proof? See and large company’s celebration calendar.

In Trinidad and Tobago every major institution has celebrations for Divali and Christmas – usually within two months of each other! For Indian Arrival Day, we see people of all races in Saris and for Carnival even the most religious can be found tapping a foot to an upbeat soca played during an office lunch hour.

Prayer at work in the Caribbean happens because we respect each others differences. Whether equity in celebration occurs is another matter but at the very least we respect each other’s right to congregate to say a few words of praise.

So when you’re stressed today or when you need a “hand” as we say in the Caribbean, I hope you have a spiritual colleague you can share a moment of prayer with and, guess what? Once it does not take away from your work productivity and expected working hours, chances are, a good leader (boss) may encourage same. Lord knows we all need help – right? 🙂

Weigh in. I know religion can be contraversial but let’s hear how your workplaces embrace (or don’t) display of religion.


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