Rush hour traffic on Oahu is the epitome of mundane. While living in Hawaii, I frequently spent two or more hours sitting in traffic on my way to work in the morning and on my way home in the evening. Being the clever woman that I am, however, I came up with a brilliant strategy to beat the bumper to bumper traffic in the mornings! I decided to leave for work by 4:00 am or earlier. Much to my dismay, I quickly discovered that Oahu is home to many bright individuals who had the same plan as me. The first day I put my strategy to the test, I literally yelled at all of those clever folks, “Why are you awake? I left early to avoid you!!” Those drivers never noticed me yelling in my car, of course, in part because they were too busy putting on their make-up and checking their Facebook accounts. For the most part, however, my early departure typically enabled me to reach my destination in about an hour instead of two.
Sheer boredom became a close friend as I sat in traffic hoping I had enough gas to survive the delays. Thankfully, God showed me how to use that time for good. My morning drives became a time of prayer. I must admit, the first prayer I typically uttered was that I would not have to use the bathroom while crawling my way to work. Following that most important request, I went on to pray over myself, family, friends, pastors, ministries, and more. I literally prayed from the time I left my house until I arrived at work each morning.
Although the amount of time spent in prayer was far more extensive while being parked in Honolulu traffic, praying in the car was a habit I started when the kids were very young. You see, unlike all of you amazing moms out there who spend countless hours with your kids praying and reading before bed, my kids got none of that. I was likely more tired than my children when I sent them to bed with a kiss, a hug, an “I love you,” and a “don’t get up” order. To make up for a lack of bedtime prayer, we prayed in the car. Every time we got in the car, we took turns praying protection and so much more. The kids often giggled as they watched to see how far we drove before I finished my prayers. Interestingly enough, this is a habit they often continue now with their own families. I was tickled when my mother-in-law once thought Carter believed her to be a bad driver because he prayed protection when she started down the road. I love that this habit, born of necessity, has continued and grown.
During the last few months on Oahu, I truly saw the power of prayer. On one occasion, a man on a motorcycle had an accident and went into a skid right in front of me. Thankfully, I was going slow and had enough distance to quickly come to a stop. Miraculously, I didn’t run over him, nobody ran into me, and he was able to get up and walk himself and his motorcycle off the road. On another occasion, I was walking to my car in our condominium parking lot just before 4:00 am. Hearing a noise, I turned around to see a man walking right behind me. Startled, I stopped, stepped aside, and he walked past and then ran down the street. Our condominium complex was relatively small and I knew he was not a resident. Nevertheless, I was able to get to my car safely and head off to work.
As I reflected on these incidents I could see how God directly answered specific prayers. On a daily basis I prayed protection on the roads. I would ask God to protect me from harmful situations that could occur. I also asked that God would not allow me to bring harm to myself or others. When
Mr. Motorcyclist plowed the roadway in front of me, God answered both of those prayers. I didn’t hurt him, nobody hurt me, and he safely walked away. In addition, I also prayed daily for protection when walking to my car. Although I still have no idea what that man was doing walking around our complex in the wee hours of the morning, God didn’t allow him to harm me.
Prayer is an essential and powerful part our of walk with the Lord. Nevertheless, based on our frequent how-to beliefs, it can seem incredibly inconvenient. Each of our lives and ways of doing things are different, but God can give us strategies for prayer and Bible study, if we simply ask Him. I mean, let’s be honest, some people have their best quiet times with God in the bathroom each day. That’s great! I hope that you and I can show ourselves and others some grace and learn how to find time with God in whatever ways He guides.
Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.