5 Easy Ways to Pray in the Car

If you are like me, you spend a lot of time in the car. Sometimes I pray the rosary, although I can’t say that I do much meditating on the mysteries while navigating through traffic. Time spent in the car, either by yourself or with your family, can be a great time to increase your prayer time, teach your kids about our faith, and grow closer to God.

  1. Before leaving the house (or starting the car), say the Guardian Angel prayer together. God has provided each of us a guardian angel to watch over us. “For he will give his angels charge of you to guard you in all your ways” (Ps. 91:11). We need to remember these heavenly helpers and rely on their protection.
  2. Make the sign of the cross when passing a Catholic church. We believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. What a blessing to be able to visit Jesus in the tabernacle! By making the sign of the cross, we acknowledge his presence, thank him for his sacrifice, and proclaim our faith.
  3. Say a Hail Mary (or other prayer) every time you hear or see emergency vehicles. We make the sign of the cross and pray for whomever is in danger when we hear the sirens of a police car, fire engine, or ambulance. “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interest of others” (Phil. 2:4). As a part of the Body of Christ and to participate in the love of our neighbor, we pray for those around us no matter what the circumstance.
  4. Sing along with Christian music. You can find songs in all genres from traditional to rock and everything in between. “I will praise the name of God with song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving” (Ps. 69:30). Singing engages multiple senses, and when you are in the car, no one can hear you if you are off key! Unless, of course, you are carpooling.
  5. Thank God when you reach your destination. By showing gratitude in small or everyday situations, we grow in love of and trust in God. We turn our hearts toward God more frequently. Gratitude helps us be peaceful. “And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful” (Col. 3:15).

What are your favorite ways to pray when you are in the car?

5 Easy Ways to Pray in the Car

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Lenten Journey: Walking the Via Dolorosa

 

Several years ago, I was blessed to be in the Holy Land, walking the Via Dolorosa with my husband and fellow pilgrims. When we returned, the Stations of the Cross and indeed the whole Bible took on a new, very vivid meaning that remains alive and well.

Via Dolorosa - carrying crossToday, as I prayed the Stations of the Cross with a small group of ladies, I saw again the places along the Way. I remember it all: Mass in the Chapel of Christ’s Condemnation, stopping at each station, truly trying to understand the pain and suffering that Jesus experienced. Each pilgrim took a turn carrying a large wooden cross. Mind you, this cross was no where near the weight of the cross that Jesus carried.

You realize a little (a very little) what it must have been like: loud, pushing crowds in narrow streets, perhaps a wet and cold day making the cobblestones slippery. At one point, we had to push our way through a blockade that soldiers had set up, much to the anger of others who were not let though. Only minutes later, the crowd was dispersed with tear gas.

Holy Sepulcher - Mass in tomb The Way of the Cross ends in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, my favorite church in the world (granted, with limited travel experience). I felt the closest to Jesus there. I could live there! In fact, there is a man, American I think, that spends his days in the church, dressed in “Jesus” clothes and no shoes. Takes your breath away for a second when you come around a winding Jerusalem street corner and see him.

Visiting the Holy Land and walking where Jesus walked is truly an amazing experience. It’s a journey that I never thought I’d take but am so thankful for the opportunity.

 

Photos: (1) Stations of the Cross detail, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Israel, (2) Carrying a cross along the Via Dolorosa, Israel, (3) Mass inside the tomb, Church of the Holy Sepulcher, Israel

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Lenten Journey: The Sorrowful Mysteries

As we start Lent, I’m drawn to reflect on the Sorrowful Mysteries of the Rosary. There are so many ways to meditate on these mysteries: how Jesus must have suffered tremendously, or that through our sins we have caused his suffering.

“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me.” (Matt 16: 24)

But one comforting way to pray is to reflect on how, while Jesus asks us to take up our crosses and follow him, we do not walk alone. “I am with you always.” (Matt. 28:20)

First Sorrowful Mystery: The Agony in the Garden

After withdrawing about a stone’s throw from them and kneeling, he prayed, saying, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” (Luke 22: 41-42)

Israel, stone, rock of agony

In the First Sorrowful Mystery, we meet Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane. Though in agony about what he knows is to come, Jesus smoothes the rocks for us. He sits with us throughout the night as we live our own agony, disappointed in the past and worried about the future. While he wants us to trust in him, he never tells us that our fears and sufferings are nothing compared to what he suffered. He wants us to know that he will not fall asleep like the disciples and assures us that he is with us always.

Second Sorrowful Mystery: The Scourging at the Pillar

Then Pilate took Jesus and had him scourged. (John 19:1)

Jesus received undeserved lashes for our sins. He did so willingly and obediently. Despite the pain that the scourging caused him, he shields us from eternal lashes. He holds us forever in his arms, covering us like a parent protecting his child.

Third Sorrowful Mystery: The Crowning with Thorns

They clothed him in purple and, weaving a crown of thorns, placed it on him. They began to salute him with, “Hail, King of the Jews!”(Mark 15:17-18)

The crown of thorns was really more like a helmet of piercing, unyielding spikes. But Jesus transforms our crown of thorns into a heavenly tiara waiting for us. The worldly robes, however rich we think they are, cannot compare to the pure white garments that he has prepared for us in his kingdom. Through our baptism, we all become priests, prophets and kings. But our kingship is not of this world. Through Christ’s example, we see a king who is first a servant to all.

Fourth Sorrowful Mystery: The Carrying of the Cross

Via Dolorosa - Aaron carrying crossAs they were going out, they met a Cyrenian named Simon; this man they pressed into service to carry his cross. (Matt 27:32)

Jesus stumbled and fell carrying his cross, assisted only by Simon of Cyrene. He knows all too well how heavy a cross can be. And yet, we are still called to carry our crosses. But, while Jesus struggled under the weight of an unjust burden, he is there with us as we carry ours. He wants us to turn to him, to ask for his help. And in doing so, our cross becomes lighter. “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matt 11:28)

Fifth Sorrowful Mystery: The Crucifixion

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him. (Luke 23:33)

On the cross, Jesus looks down on us with love, mercy and compassion. We only have to look up into his eyes to see and understand. The blood that flows from his side transforms into golden rays, purifying us beyond human ability. The water that gushes from his side becomes drops of perfect diamonds, adorning us in a heavenly glow incomparable to any human design.

And may we all be forever grateful!

Photos: (1) Stone of Agony, Israel, (2) Via Via Dolorosa, Israel

 

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