How a Road Trip Led to a New, Short Prayer

During a long drive through the desert, finding words of comfort for stranded travelers.

Posted in , May 12, 2022

Driving through the desert

Every five or six weeks, my wife and I traverse a lonely and mostly desolate stretch of highway between our house and our daughter and son-in-law’s home. It’s usually a three-and-a-half-hour drive, and while the scenery on the drive through the Mojave Desert can be striking, it can also be monotonous. It doesn’t change much from one trip to the next. 

To break up the monotony of the drive, we talk, of course. And listen to music, podcasts or audiobooks. My wife invariably naps. And I sometimes make a phone call or two. But on a recent drive, I discovered a new purpose and blessing in prayer.

My wife, the lovely Robin, was asleep, as was our granddaughter, who was making the trip with us. And, as often happens, I was struck by the frequent appearance of a disabled or abandoned car by the side of the road (I always pray as I start the trip, asking God to guide us and, particularly, to help us avoid a flat tire or breakdown in the unforgiving desert). 

I’ve prayed for stranded travelers before and have sometimes stopped to offer help. But on this occasion, driven by a desire to keep the trip as short as possible and arrive as soon as possible, I drove past each time. But as I did so, I prayed. And almost immediately, a succinct prayer took shape: “Lord, have mercy. Send the help they need and get them safely to their destination. Amen.”

Simple, right?

“Lord, have mercy. Send the help they need and get them safely to their destination. Amen.”

I prayed those words every time I saw a vehicle by the roadside, and it seemed that there were many more stopped travelers and abandoned vehicles than usual, though of course that impression may have just been due to my heightened awareness. Or it may have been by God’s design somehow, for some reason.

In any case, those 16 words instilled a new purpose into my drive and turned it into a prayer meeting. And, though I will almost certainly never know how God answered my road-trip prayers, I have enough faith to believe that He did—and that my prayers made a difference, however small, for the dozen or more travelers for whom I prayed.

Tags: Prayer,Travel
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