In the hustle of leaving for vacation, some forget to pack one of the most important things: prayer. Prayer can make a difference anytime, including when we’re traveling. Here are five things to remember–five ways prayer can make a difference on your vacation this year:
1. Prayer Can Draw You Close to God
For as long as I can remember, we prayed a special prayer to God as our family headed out for vacation. Whether our travels took us to the breezy California beaches, the cool, Colorado mountains, or the hot Arizona desert, we read Psalm 91, asking God for His protection and safety. Our children have since left home, but my husband and I still meditate on that Psalm on every trip. That simple prayer practice has drawn us into God’s presence and helped us to focus on Him throughout our journey.
2. Prayer Can Be a Testimony to Others
Crazy schedules may interfere at times, but prayer can make a difference when we give thanks together at mealtime. Whether we’re enjoying a roadside picnic or a nice restaurant dinner, this familiar habit says to God, “You are too important to leave at home. And we are too grateful to forget.” Jesus set the example of offering thanks to His heavenly Father.
Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish (John 6:11 NIV).
And we are not the only ones blessed as we pray. I will never forget the time a couple stopped by our table while we were eating. Their words underlined how a simple prayer can be a testimony to others even though we never pray to be noticed: “We just wanted to let you know how much that meant to us to see your family praying together.”
Maybe this is a good rule to remember:
“Pray like no one is watching, but be aware that someone usually is.”
3. Prayer Can Make a Difference in Others
Wanna get away? Jesus often retreated to quiet places alone with His heavenly Father. But He never abandoned His love and concern for others. That time only strengthened Him to help and encourage others. Often as we get away into different settings, God will open our eyes to a bigger world, and to greater needs than our own.
Pray for God to show you ways to bless others as you travel. We have asked a waiter or waitress on many occasions, “How can we pray for you today?” God may prompt you to speak an encouraging word, share a helpful Scripture, pay a meal forward for someone, or leave an extravagant tip, but your simple gestures of love can truly make a difference in the lives of those you encounter on your vacation.
Even on vacation, life is not all about us.
Do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others (Philippians 2:4 NAS).
4. Prayer Can Teach Life Lessons and Gratitude
In the past, our children can testify to some “challenges” while on vacation. On one of our more serious car breakdowns years ago, we all joined hands and thanked God for the situation, then asked Him to please lead us to a solution. We walked to a nearby trailer, where a woman told us her son-in-law might could help. He checked out the problem but didn’t have the needed parts for our old Chevy.
Thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you who belong to Christ Jesus to live (1 Thessalonians 5:18 MSG).
While the woman fed the girls and me tuna sandwiches, the two men drove into town via the son-in-law’s beat-up pickup looking for the car parts and a place that might be open. But it was near dark, and all the stores had closed. When they returned, the woman fed Larry, and her son-in-law retreated to the back.
A few minutes later he popped through the back door grinning. In his hand were the exact two parts that fit our car. As it turned out, he checked out his brother’s garage and found an old junked engine with one of the parts we needed. Hanging on a nail above that junked engine was the other needed part–brand new.
During their drive around town, Larry discovered there were other needed parts in this encounter–like the need for spiritual renewal for this young man. As a result of our prayers and their time together, God truly did a miracle. The young man, his faith now recharged, charged us nothing to fix our car. Before we left, both families held hands in a parting prayer of blessing and gratitude to the One who orchestrated it all.
We now have roadside assistance, of course, but we’ll always remember how prayer made such a powerful difference in our vacation that year. It truly strengthened our faith and trust in God.
Praying and giving thanks in all things, even in situations over which we can’t control on our vacations will not only open the door for God’s blessing, but it will also teach life lessons of gratitude to all of us.
5. Prayer Releases the Heart’s Cry for Beauty and Contentment
Hopefully, delayed flights, petty bickering, or tired bodies won’t prevent you from focusing on your goal for a great vacation. Inside all of us is the desire to experience something beautiful, something extraordinary, something special. As we release our cares to God, be still, and ask Him to quiet our hearts and minds, He will open our eyes to the beauty He has prepared for us to experience.
Your vacation may include a simple adventure or the raw beauty of nature, but when you remember to make prayer a priority, praise and contentment usually follow. Prayer can turn the most ordinary experience into an extraordinary adventure.
LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! (Psalm 8:1 NIV).
My Personal Prayer for You
Lord, whether we are on vacation or simply traveling to another destination, help us take You and prayer along as our constant companions. We pray for Your protection and guidance, and look forward to time away from normal schedules. Guard our hearts and minds, and keep us focused on You. Teach us Your lessons and open our eyes to the needs of others even as we enjoy the fellowship of one another. Thank You that no matter what happens, You are in control and we can find contentment and joy in you. We look forward to the extraordinary adventures You have prepared for us during these special times, and we praise You because of all You have done.
You might also enjoy this post I wrote called, A Prayer for God’s Protection.
It’s Your Turn
How has prayer made a difference for you on vacation? What has He taught you in your travels? You can always write me through my contact page and fill out the basic name and address info; then the email will come to me. Your name or info will never be shared with anyone without your permission.
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