Almost everyone commutes. In Seattle, the “experts” say the average commute is 23.8 minutes, but anyone who works in the city will tell you that a twenty-four minute commute is a luxury that only happens on Sunday morning or sometime after midnight. However, even if you never leave your home to “go to work,” you commute from the bedroom to your desk, dining room table, or vacuum cleaner. For those of you who commute from the home to work and are ecologically minded (and with petrol at $3+, who isn’t?), commuting with others is an opportunity to deepen your spiritual walk through conversational prayer (if you don’t commute in the company of others, you can still find places to apply this prayer practice).
Commuting conversational prayer follows the general practices of conversation: (1) It takes two or more people; (2) Your focus moves from topic-to-topic; (3) Conversation builds on a single topic until the topic is changed; (4) Interruptions may be impolite, but they’re part-and-parcel of conversation. Oh, and you don’t tend to have conversations with your eyes closed.
To practice commuting conversational prayer simply have a conversation with your commuting partner and the Divine. Begin by visualizing Jesus sitting with you in the car (on the bus, in your living room, etc.) and begin a conversation as if he was sitting there with you (because he is!). This is what a conversational prayer might look like…
Me: “I’m really concerned about the meeting I have today with Chris.”
You: “Yes, Lord, Chris can really be difficult to work with at times.”
Me: “Like the last time we met, our meeting ended almost in a yelling match…”
You: “Yeah, we heard the two of you going at it all the way down the hall. Jesus, my friend here is going to need some real peace and clear-headedness when the two of them get together.”
Me: “And I need your help in not carrying what happened last time into our meeting today.”
You: “Did you know that I’ve been offered a job at T, B & J? But I’m not sure if I should take it.”
And so the conversation would continue as you share your thoughts, concerns, and life in prayer.
The beauty of practicing conversational prayer while you’re commuting is that you won’t feel out of place, my-faith-in-your-face, or just plan “odd.” There’s no kneeling, hand-holding, eyes closing, or even folded hands. Instead, it looks like you’re just having a conversation, which of course is exactly what you’re doing. But I’ve found that it’s an exciting and beneficial prayer practice.