I spend a lot of time in my car. Working downtown, it takes me 55 minutes to get from my garage to my desk. Sometimes it takes longer. When the kids are in school, it includes 30 minutes with them and 30-40 minutes alone. That’s a lot of time each way!
So, about two years ago, I started a quest to redeem that time for the glory of God! Especially the morning commute, which can really determine the trajectory of the day overall! As the saying goes, “The morning hours have gold in them!” But, you really have to try to find the gold if you’re like me! (I am a bit of a night owl and need to be left alone until about 10 am!)
Here are a few things that have helped us make use of the time when the kids are commuting:
- My children are ages four and eight, so we use that time to review spelling words and talk about what we will do after school.
- We pray together aloud. Each person in the car takes a turn. They know they are not allowed to pray routine prayers, but must add new things specific to what’s going on at that time. We rotate who gets to go first. Sometimes it’s my four-year old. Sometimes it’s his eight-year old sister. Sometimes it’s me. This helps me model and teach the importance of prayer and that you can take absolutely anything to the Father! We talk about what prayers we’ve seen God answer, and we pray for the school, teachers, and students.
- We memorize scripture. My eight-year old has to memorize Bible verses each week for school, but even if it is not a requirement, it’s a great practice! The commute provides the perfect time to go over them! Even our four-year old memorizes verses that shock us in complexity and length. I view this as time to “hide the word in their hearts so that they might not sin against God” as it teaches in Psalm 119:11. We go back over the verses they’ve already learned because repetition helps them remember it longer. For longer verses, we start with just a phrase and say it over and over before adding more on the following day.
When the kids are dropped off, the car is quiet. It’s tempting to turn on music or listen to radio personalities as a means of entertainment. But, that’s when I take time to do some or all of the following:
- Pray. Now, because I’m very easily distracted, I have to pray out loud. I’m one of those weirdos talking to myself in an empty car. If I pray out loud, I find that the prayers stay focused and my thoughts don’t drift into what remains to be done, what awaits at work, and other random things.
- Listen to podcasts. I’m a HUGE fan of podcasts. The ones I listen to are FREE. It’s a joke of me that I attend churches in Birmingham, Seattle, and Minneapolis! I’m a regular listener of David Platt, Mark Driscoll, and John Piper. I also have Focus on the Family occasionally playing for practical advice in parenting and marriage. John MacArthur’s podcasts are very interesting if you want a detailed view of a passage or concept in Scripture. And, then there are the Chronological Bible sermons and Wednesday night lessons from Bellevue Baptist in Memphis that helped me in 2011. Long Hollow has all their sermons online as well, and there are even some podcasts from the youth if you want to know what your student has been taught!
- Play worship songs. Usually it’s an old hymn if it’s the morning and a contemporary Christian song if it’s the second commute of the day.
- Call and check on someone. This is typically something I do on my evening commute rather than the morning.
So, I leave you with these questions: What do you fill your mind with when sitting in your car? What do you demonstrate to your kids in that time?