5 Ways to Pray While Waiting to Board Your Flight

How to turn any airport experience into a holy moment.

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Posted in , Apr 3, 2022

Airport prayers

With the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic behind us for now (Lord, hear our prayer), people are flying again. Many airports are returning to full schedules, long lines and crowded terminals. Passengers are waiting. Then hurrying. Then waiting. And waiting some more. 

That’s how the process works, right? It can be a frustrating and stressful experience. But it doesn’t have to be—especially if we learn to seize those moments as opportunities for prayer.

Prayer? In an airport? While waiting in line? While hurrying to my gate?

Yes, absolutely. A relatively small shift in perspective can turn almost any airport experience into a holy moment. Here are five suggestions to try:  

1)  Surrender control.

I used to get so frustrated by complications and delays when I had to fly somewhere. I tend to be a control freak, which is tough for any air traveler because there’s almost nothing you can control at the airport—not the weather, crew shortages, mechanical problems, gate changes, lost luggage or canceled flights. Years ago, however, I made a conscious effort to surrender my agenda, schedule and comfort to God when I leave on a trip. I tell Him that I’ll look for His hand in any change or challenge that comes my way. That little prayer makes a huge difference, a reminder that I’m not in control.  

2)  Find the chapel.

Many airports have interfaith chapels—even services. Some airports have more than one chapel (Dallas-Fort Worth, for example, has five!). They can be islands of serenity in the hustle-and-bustle of flying, but they’re sometimes out of the way. It’s worth the trouble of asking directions and taking the extra time and effort to visit. I’ve often spent a few moments of quiet meditation in an airport chapel while waiting for a flight or during a layover. 

3)  Pray for your trip.

There’s so much to do when packing and preparing for a trip. I often forget to pray as I’m getting ready. So, when I find myself in line at the ticket counter or security checkpoint, I correct that oversight. I pray for safe travel, on-time departure and arrival, successful connections, smooth transfers at my destination and “God moments” along the way.

4)  Pray for strangers.

So many people. All kinds of people are pressed together in airports and airplanes. I try to consciously look up from my laptop or device occasionally to notice the people around me. I especially pray for those who are obviously stressed as well as overwhelmed parents, exhausted travelers and people who may be dealing with linguistic obstacles. When I dash into a store or restaurant, I like to pray for the cashiers and servers and always offer a generous tip and encouraging words. I’ve even offered to pray “a 10-second prayer” for someone on the spot—an offer that’s frequently accepted.

5)  Pray for your crew.

I like to get to my gate as early as possible so I don’t have to worry about missing the boarding call or the plane leaving without me. Once there, I pray for my fellow passengers, gate agents and especially for the crew, long before they arrive. I pray selfishly for pilots to be at their best and for flight attendants to be having a good day. But I also pray, more or less selflessly, for them to have a good flight, a safe arrival and a warm welcome wherever their day’s journey concludes.

Turning a flight itinerary into a prayer exercise changes attitudes and opens doors to blessings all along the route. Sure, it also helps the time to pass more quickly, but the best part is enjoying a sense of God’s presence and activity all along the way. And that makes for a good trip, wherever I’m going.

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