Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple


21 Ways to Pray: Connecting with God in my Car

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Prayer doesn’t always require lofty language in a sacred space. It can be richest when it’s simple and spontaneous.  All I need to do is see our ordinary moments as the occasions for communicating with God. One of those simple spaces is my car. A few years ago someone challenged me to begin praying while driving. It might sound crazy, but it’s been one of the most profound changes I’ve ever made in my life. I love praying on the move.

And I love my car, though it’s dying fast. It’s served me well for 138k miles, but last week I got the grim diagnosis for my mechanic that it’s terminal. The transmission is in the process of eating itself into tiny pieces and the engine is making the kinds of noises indicative of pending disaster. These problems are fixable, but only at a cost well beyond the bluebook value of the old beast.  I’m weighing that cost/benefit tension. Is it time to dump her?

The problem for me is emotional. I admit it. I love my car, with the kind of affection the Greeks called “storge” – a fond attachment which comes from associating something with precious memories and experiences. My car is familiar and comfortable and (until now) dependable. Change at this point means losing these simple comforts and “starting over” with a new relationship with yet another box of bolts. The real matter is not the car itself but the value I place on it, and that in large part comes from the rich experiences I have alone IN the car.

My life is filled with people, and the mostly good but taxing encounters people bring into my life. I value times alone because I’m at root an introvert. My car is one of the few places where I can be utterly alone. It’s my private little closet where I can think by myself, talk to myself, sing along with the radio, or hide. I really value my solitary drive times before and after a day filled with people-encounters. My car in fact is my best and most sacred “prayer closet.” I’ve had some of my most profound spiritual moments in my car. God meets me there, when I’m otherwise alone and undistracted.

Over the years I’ve developed certain patterns talking to God in my car. I drive a series of similar routes to work, to pick up my kids at their schools, to go to the store, to visit my mom. Along these familiar highways I pass familiar landmarks the repeatedly trigger familiar thoughts. Instead of letting those thoughts happen randomly, I’ve “installed” those places as triggers to remind me to pray about certain things. My car therefore takes me on both practical and spiritual journeys.

I don’t always have time to sit alone in my home office to pray. But on my way to work each morning I drive past the baseball field where my boys play each summer. I use that familiar image to remind me to pray for my boys. I pass the street where my wife’s parents live. I sometimes breath a short prayer for them. On my way to pick up my son at school in the afternoon I pass the home of a good friend who is struggling with Parkinson’s disease. That prompts me to pray for him and others I know who are ill. I pass City Hall and that triggers me to pray for government leaders and our country. Sometime I even play a kind of “game” praying for strangers in other cars. My drive time has becomes more than routine; it’s become a routine for my spiritual development.

I’m not always perfect with this, but it is a growing practice that has connected me more deeply with God, with the people in my life, and I suppose with me old car as well. When I reluctantly go buy a new one – soon – I have to remind myself that it too can and will become a “space” for moving prayer!    

This month I’m blogging about  a meditation I’ve writing called “21 Ways to Pray.” Check it out. And of course, dive in and offer your own experiences and insights.



  • Your Name

    Our God will supply our every need and keep us in perfect peace

  • angelia

    I pray in my car also. sometimes i ask God if people see me talking think im crazy. but somehow i guess his answer is keep praying and smile when they look and say GOD BLESS YOU . that is my time to myself to my praying to

  • Nina S

    It was great to read this and found out that I am not the only one who does these “crazy” kind of things and feels like you do about them. For me too my Car has become one of my spiritual vechiles/vessels. It is one of the place that I have grown spiritually too and pray often in.:) It was such a delight to read this and be connected to you and car. We do tend to “believe” that we have to a sorten way in a specific place to make it an effective and answered pray, but this is not so as I can testify and have my testimony that it is all that and more! Important is that we do pray and believe in God have him in our heart all the time and show him and thank him and give him the glory. I have even sat down in the room where kings and queens go by themselves, when I have been in most pain/not felt good and asked for healing. Thank you for your post/artical !! It was great spiritually up lifting as I have wondered about that myself, ’cause people in general has put me down onthe matter in one way or the other. I am also inthe same situation as you are that I need to buy a new car as it has over 115,000 miles on it and coughing and pain etc.:) Thanks again. Nina S

  • Your Name

    Wow…So I am not the only one…LOL
    I can’t wait to get in my car and pray everyday on the way to work and on my way home from work and that is a good 45 minute drive each way God.
    Just like a few of you I am in the same boat, my car has 154,000 miles 1991 car. I thank God everyday that I can still get to my job. I would love to have a new car or just a newer car…but it is not in the cards for me yet… I have the feeling this one won’t last me much longer…It is always something I need to fix or worry about.
    I just pray and so glad that I have God ride with me everyday! I just like to say God Bless you all. I hope everyone has a Very Merry Christmas!

  • http://www.bestillknowgod.com Communicating With God

    I have only a 15 minute drive to work but it’s going to be 15 minutes of prayer now!
    I’ve practiced many different ways of being still to communicate with God but for some reason never thought of using the time in the car – and yet as you say it’s one place where I’m really alone for a while.
    I’m ashamed to say I’ve felt like travel time was wasted – it is if I choose to waste it.
    Blessings,
    Robert

  • Stefan Schmid

    Dear Friend!
    I like the slide show of 12 ways of prayer. I was woundering if I can down load that . Because i would like to use it in my teaching about prayer that I give in our mission training programm.
    Let me now if that is possible.
    Thank you !

  • Keeping HIM Close

    This is an eye opening article. Never really thought about it this way, huh. I mean I have prayed in my car before. I always pray before taking off asking God to safely deliver me and my family to our final destination and when we do arrive safely I remember it was God who got us there and I say “thank you.” there have been times when people drive so crazy endangering themselves and others and instead of becoming upset, I quickly ask God to watch over them and others who cross their path and get them to their destination safely. Now that it is winter here and temperatures reach below zero I have found myself, when approaching my car, praying more that God watches over those who are without shelter, food, and water. I will definitely make this a habit now.

  • Melody G.

    I pray in my car as well,I also pray for people that I see walking. I would ask god if he would keep them safe from danger,especially kids. I listen to gospel music in my car on my way going to work, sometimes I would feel the spirit and just start praising god in the gar with tears falling down my face, sometimes I ask myself if I’m crazy,but you know what it’s just god working on me. I love the feeling wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world.

  • Lori B.

    Wow! You know I thought I was the only person who prayed in their car. My car to me is my “Prayer Closet” it’s where I can go and sit for hours at a time and just read my bible, pray and just sit quietly and wait to hear from God. There are days that I long to get in my car and drive to a sunny secluded place, where I can just ‘talk’ to Him. It’s as if He is sitting next to me and just such a warm, fuzzy feeling comes over me….a peace. It’s where I feel the closest to him in our own private sanctuary. Like Mel, said above “I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world.” I feel you Mel, I do!!!!

  • http://www.ds-cartes.com ds cartes

    Really good nice

  • Jami

    Hey my name is Jami. Have had similar experiences in my car too. i’ve cried so hard in my car before and listen only to christian music. my email is trowbridgejami@yahoo.com feel free to e-mail I am in need of other christian friends. God Bless you Richly. P.s. My ministry is Gospel For Asia. Blessings!

  • S.H.

    Hi , I too pray in my car to and from work, I find it peaceful and my quiet time with God.
    S.H. >>

  • Your Name

    OMG! I too pray in my car and am so glad to hear that so many are doing the same… I call it my “daily drive in with God”. After doing this I generally have a good day; and when tradgedy hits I pray for those that are affected; mostly I just love to give HIM the thanks and praise that we so often forget to do cause we are always asking HIM for whatever our needs may be that day or week. I too won’t give this part of my day up for anything. Thanks for sharing your stories with all of us. God Gless always!

  • Queen PW

    I have often experienced quiet time with GOD driving in my car too. I listen to my gospel music and just find myself praising God, thanking him for being so kind and merciful. I have learned to Trust him as James Fortune says!! I am sitting here now with tears streaming down my face, just thanking GOD for another day. Be blessed !

  • Your Name

    I also pray in my car. I keep my One Day at a Time (AA book) on the lower dash and read the thought of the day while I wait for the car to warm up. I read it at red lights-the thought of the day is only a sentence and I find that I do not always remember it, I feel better when I can remember it. I have been sober for 14 years, one month, and 18 days and I contribute this solely to God and the good people he sent to me in my time of need to become sober. I think of God while I drive and as I pass beautiful scenery I sing his praises-no one can hear me. I pray for his intervention when I see an accident or hear of one. I have found that my car has become our niche, I was happy to see someone else has the same experience.

  • LOUISE

    THIS IS TRUELY A BLESSING TO HAVE FOUNDED THIS PAGE I HAVE BEEN PRAYING IN MY CAR FOR YEAYS OM MY WAY TO WORK AND ON MY WAY HOME THIS IS THE BEST TIME FOR ME TO CRY OUT TO MY GOD WHO EVER READ THIS I WANT YOU TO PRAY FOR ME AND MY FAMILY AS WELL PLEASE KEEP ON PRAYING

  • Joycelyn

    As a single mom, prayer time would be on the way to drop the children to school. They would take turns to read a scripture then I would pray. All 4 of them memorized Psalm 91. To maintain my sanity I always pray especially as I drive around the city. I have been doing this for over 31 years.

  • Melvenia

    This is my first time coming across this website today and am thanking God as I am writing this for bringing me to it. I enjoy reading spiritual comments from people and their experiences. I too pray in my car, as well as in my special place at home. I acknowledge God on the way to work, anytime, but mostly on my lunch hour when I leave the walls of my work and am alone, just me and God and my gospel music. When I’m praying, my radio is turned off and I can just feel God’s presence. I thank God and praise Him for so many things, especially my family, friends and loved ones, and of course, my car!!, my means of transportation, and for it being a place that I can feel His presence. God’s love and blessings are awesome!!!

  • Joanie

    I love these comments. I find when I drive to work each morning before I get to my office, God directs me on who I can bless each day. He guides me on how to speak, how to get through each day. What better way to start your day than spending time with God in your car? I also enjoy listening to my Joyce Meyer tapes on “Enjoying Every Day Life.” Joyce has great cd’s and I can enjoy them while driving.
    We are all so blessed for having a car to enjoy our time with God.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Diane

    I just came across this website. I believe came across it for a purpose. I nearly got into a car accident today. Shortly after I arrived home with my 3 year old from church, I googled “prayers for driving”. I got this webpage. It seems as though that people writing on this webpage pray in the car because they don’t make time to pray at another time. Sure, driving is peaceful. However, when you are on the road, the only question in your mind is “How do I arrive safely to my destination?”. I was looking for a special prayer for which I can say before I turn on the ignition. I thought I would point this out to the next person whom reads this post. It may save someone’s life.

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