My family was headed home. One week in Minnesota last week was quite precious. Seeing family, exploring nature, celebrating the 4th… It was all quite surreal. But when you’re gone for an entire week, sometimes the thought of sleeping in your own bed sounds rather inviting. That was me at least.
We hit the road about 7:30 am and were off, my wife taking the first stretch at the wheel. And rightfully so! She knew the roads better than me up North. It was once we hit the highway that I realized I forgot to pray for our family. Safe travels. Protection. Kind words in the car. Yeah, speaking of kind words, my two little ones were already squabbling about who knows what in the back seat.
So, I prayed. Quietly and in my head.
It gave me a little peace, and it wasn’t surprising that my attitude improved. I was gracious with the boys. I smiled a little more. And I was ready to relieve my wife when she needed it. Morning is my time! I was ready to tackle the day, and God must have known that because my wife immediately told me she was about to fade. Pit stop time. She found the nearest gas station, and we switched.
“Boys, time to go to the bathroom!” I called.
My five-year-old spoke up, “But, Daddy, I don’t need to go.”
Could have predicted that one. God must have been watching over me because with a little positive coaxing they both did their business, we switched at the wheel, and I took a deep breath in the parking lot.
“Boys, we were in such a rush earlier that Daddy forgot to pray,” I humbly admitted. “I want to pray for our family, so quiet your hearts.”
And I prayed. Again. Aloud this time.
The results, once again, were not surprising. Not just my attitude but ALL our attitudes improved. The whines of the boys decreased. My wife was able to shut her eyes in the passenger seat to get some much-needed rest. And I was slowly beginning to realize the importance of praying without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Or at least my own little version of it. The remainder of our trip I prayed at each rest stop. It was like morphine to a wounded soldier, numbing all the negativity and calming my soul.
The best prayer of the trip took place once we reached town when downtown traffic on I-35 led us to take backroads home. Talk about frustrating! When a nine-hour drive is so close to complete and this happens … sheesh! I whispered quiet prayers all through the stoplights of Metcalf. My wife was quick to explain how she needed rest when she got home. I didn’t blame her at all.
“We’re unpacking tomorrow,” she mumbled.
I smiled and prayed for her. Quietly again.
It is amazing what prayer checkpoints do to your day. It got me thinking … How often do I pray only with my coffee in hand at the crack of dawn or at meal time? Why don’t I take advantage of prayer more often? What if I found logical breaking points throughout my day to pray when I return to work in the fall? I can already tell you what the results will be. Less anger, more patience, and more enthusiasm. It is a no-brainer.
Pastor Matt Chandler calls these middle of the day prayers “rifle shot prayers.” They are quick. Deadly to Satan. He attacks you, and your rifle shot prayer sends him cowering away. It was almost laughable to see how Satan hid from me once we rolled in the driveway from our trip. God had refreshed my soul so much that I unpacked the car, put all the suitcases away, cooked supper, allowed my beautiful wife to sleep, AND volunteered to do bedtime.
Alright, so supper was Pappa Murphy’s take-n-bake pizza, but hey, it was supper!
My gameplan is already brewing in my head. I am already mapping out logical rifle shot moments throughout my work day come August—when I arrive at work, team plan, lunch, plan hour, between classes—and my “Don’t Forget to Pray” note below my keyboard at my desk will be there to remind me (see picture above). Mark 11:24 states, “I tell you, you can pray for anything, and if you believed that you received it, it will be yours.” Make those moments yours in the classroom.
Father, thank you so much for the opportunity to communicate with you any time of day. Remind me constantly to use prayer as a weapon to take down the enemy, especially at work. Amen.