Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV)
There are two different routes that I can take to work; one goes through a dangerous, busy intersection and the other is the same distance but goes by a tent-community of homeless people. For months, I drove the route by the homeless community and watched it grow and spread out taking up a whole block.
As the numbers grew, there seemed to be an increase in police presence and arrests, and a few people began to stand in plain view as they did drug deals. In fact, their behavior became more and more bizarre and brazen. Knowing my angst, my husband encouraged me to take the other route. So I did for a few days.
But then one day when I was looking out the window of my office and saw a few police cars with lights going making yet another arrest, I had a thought. Those people were somebody’s kids – not just the homeless but the police officers too. And, how many of them didn’t have praying parents?
So with that thought I made the choice to take the route that took me by their tents and instead of looking the other way, I would purposely pray for them. This new way of driving has begun to impact all of my drives now as I am learning (a work in progress) to pray for those who would cut me off or drive distracted on their cell phones . . . for pedestrians as they cross the roads . . . for elderly couples out walking their dogs.
No matter who crosses our paths, we don’t have to pull over or do any formal ritual; we can just speak out loud in our cars and ask the Lord to help them. We don’t know their stories or if they even have one person in their life who prays for them, but what a privilege to bring them to the cross! He knows their needs and it’s our hearts that are changed when we pray without ceasing.
Father, thank You for opening our eyes to the world around us. Help us to be obedient – to rejoice always, pray without ceasing, giving thanks in all circumstances . . . even when we seem to be stuck at red lights. Amen.