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Honda Prayers

Five minutes before arriving at church this past Sunday, I turned off the too–loud worship music (it was a sunny day that demanded volume) and had a conversation with God.

It had been one of those mornings. When I'd put on my pants, five minutes after I'd meant to leave for church, I remembered that my left pant–leg hem had ripped out the last time I'd worn them. I chuckled when I saw the oh–so–elegant duct tape holding the hem in place. I grabbed a shirt from the take-these-to-the-dry-cleaners pile, finished dressing quickly, and dashed out the door.

Now, almost to church with a blessed five minutes to spare, I thanked God for the rare appearance of the sun, then added, "I feel a bit like my clothes this morning. A little messy and discombobulated. I wish I had something better to offer, but this is the best I can muster today. But I give it all to you. And I ask you to meet me here in my messiness. On your day. In this gathering of your body." And with that I parked my car, and me and my messy clothes went to church.

I've been doing that a lot while driving lately, turning off the music and having a heart–to–heart with God—usually about the place or person to which I'm en route. Some people have a prayer closet; I have a prayer Civic.

Funny thing is, I used to think it was a bit lonely driving alone to and from church, parties, and work functions. Alone in the car, I'd muster up courage to enter these places solo. I'd pray for someone to sit with, to talk to. Oh sure, I could have carpooled. But that's not always logistically feasible. So, when friends weren't in tow, I'd cart myself there. Alone. Me and the three empty seats about me. Me and the too–loud music drowning out my occasional insecurities.

Driving home alone was sometimes the worst. After the warm glow of a gathering of friends or a worship service, my empty car seemed especially silent. The disparity sometimes felt like social whiplash. I wanted to discuss, debrief, dissect.

But lately that empty space has filled up with prayer.

As one who often rushes out the door to church ten minutes later than I meant to, I've found that time alone in my car a great space to center myself. To prepare my heart to worship my Savior. To give my concerns, petty thoughts, and distractions to God. To remind myself why I'm headed there in the first place—to meet with my Father in the presence of my brothers and sisters.

On the way to meet my friend Melody for dinner this past Friday night, I asked for God to join us there in the Macaroni Grill booth. To give me wise words and protect me from foolish ones. To grant us encouragement, wisdom, and accountability through each other. I asked for the privilege to be God's hands and feet, mouthpiece and arms blessing this friend. And I humbly asked him to do the same through Melody.

After dinner out with another friend recently, I lifted her in prayer on the way home. She's just shared about some work stress and relationship woes. Before the details got lost in the hectic–ness of life, I prayed over them all. Filling my empty car with thanks for this dear sister as well as pleas for God's wisdom in how to handle the tough situations she faced.

On the way home from a date a while ago, I started wondering aloud about this detail, that comment, this trait, that awkward silence. Before I could become a neurotic mess, I told God to take it all. I said aloud, more for my benefit than for his, that I wanted his best—for me and for this guy. That if this pairing was his best—either for now or for good—then could he please help orchestrate all the details and interactions? And if it wasn't, could he let me down easy?

On the way home from a recent party, details of the night fresh in my mind, I asked forgiveness for wayward words and petty thoughts.

I know if there were others in my car, I wouldn't be offering these prayers. I wouldn't be handing these people and situations to God so deliberately. I wouldn't be book–ending these events with the prayerful knowledge that God's in control of it all. And frankly, I need that reminder as much as I can get it. Without these prayers, I'd be rushing to each place and person—not taking the time to appreciate and process, to surrender and repent, to prepare and reflect.

So the silence, I've come to see, is a gift. The empty space to process and pray aloud is a blessing.

In my years as a singleton, I've alternately drawn comfort and confusion from the truth that God is always with us, that as his children we're never truly alone. I get that on a cerebral level, but on a feelings level, the one where I usually live, it doesn't always seem true. I've sometimes wondered what Jesus' omnipresence looks and feels and tastes like in my practical, day–to–day reality.

In my Honda prayers, I start to get it. I feel him there with me. Listening, correcting, cleansing, and encouraging. And I realize he's been there all along, I just needed to turn off the noise—both within and without. And I love finding him not just on the mountaintops of life, but in the grocery store run. On the way to a date. On the drive home from work.

I think it's altogether fitting that these prayers take place en route. This is where I need God most. As I go. It's such a tangible reminder that after the "amen" in my church sanctuary or my bedroom, God doesn't just stay there while I go out to slog through the adventure alone. Rather, he's there—occupying and hopefully guiding each step, each mile, on this life journey.

Read more articles that highlight writing by Christian women at ChristianityToday.com/Women

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