Lost on the backroads of life…try prayer

“How long has it been since I have slept?” I thought while driving between Denver and Tacoma. In the seat, next to me my partner was passed out. All I knew was that we were somewhere west of Boise, Idaho on highway 84 and needed to be in the union hall tomorrow morning if we wanted to get our ‘out money’ this week.
The work had petered out in Denver but the hall had a standing call for ‘rodbusters needed’ out of the Tacoma, Washington local. Two nuke plants being built side by side, near the town of Elma, wherever that was. The guy I had been teamed up with on the 54 story, we just topped off, wanted to go and I was in need of steady cash. So, we left our families in Denver and I was now driving my pickup truck west.
Our diet so far had been beer and speed. Unlike my friend snoring away I was dosed so heavy pills that sleep was not possible. But not the hallucinations that come from at least 30 hours without sleep. I certainly could drive but I was not sure I could navigate.
Reaching out to the dashboard, I grabbed my CB mike and said, “Breaker, this is T bird 1554, do any westward 18 wheelers on 84 have your ears on?” Nothing but static and I was ready to move down the dial when I heard, “10-4, this is Jimbo James, call me JJ, what can I do for you, good buddy?” I was not versed in the CB lingo of the 1980’s but I called back, “Hey, JJ, I am in need of getting to Tacoma by tomorrow and I have never been in this country before and am feeling lost.” JJ replied, “10-4, I am sliding past Tac, on my way into Seattle, what’s your 20, T bird?”
I told him my location and we were only miles apart, He slowed down enough for me to get back door, right behind him. For the rest of that night he guided me through the back roads of Washington state, on a route I would have never found without him.
Scared and lost. How often do we find ourselves there? I am not just talking about in the physical world. That can be scary enough. But I think even more of how many of us are lost and scared in our day-to-day life and do not seek daily guidance from the one who knows the way because He walked it before us, Jesus Christ.
Again today, I am thinking about prayer. The apostle Paul says this in his first letter to the Thessalonians, “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). Can we rejoice always and pray without ceasing? If so what would that look like. I mean, let’s be honest. Some days I don’t feel like rejoicing at all. And as for praying without ceasing, I don’t think so. But wait, I think when we read these verses that those first two lines just about stop us. But what about the idea in the last verse that this is God’s will in Jesus for us. Maybe when we understand that it changes everything.
The way I look at it is, it is God’s will for every one of us to live a joyful life. But to do that we need to be connected to Him always because all true joy comes from God. And how can we stay connected, the only answer is prayer. No, I don’t mean that you spend your whole day on your knees but commit and submit your whole day to God. When you are working and need to meet that next deadline, seeking the strength you need from He who can give it to you. When you are waiting in line at the grocery store, thanking God for the daily bread He provides. It goes on and on. Prayer without ceasing, a way of life.
But what about those days where you wish the alarm never went off. Nothing is right. I believe it is then when prayer is even more crucial. And it is then when the Word of God becomes the key. Maybe just praising God even if you don’t feel like it. Maybe Psalm 95, “For the Lord is the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In His hands are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is His, for He made it and His hands formed the dry land.” (Psalm 95:3-5) By just acknowledging Him and meditating a bit on the beauty of His creation, we can find brightness in the gloom.
The point is, when I accepted this way of life and accepted that it is truly the will of God in Jesus that I be joyful, prayer in all things just isn’t as impossible as I thought. And you know what? It is a game changer. Involving God in all facets of my life. It is powerful!
Back when I was traveling those back roads of Washington state, sleep deprived and lost. I knew I had a guide, someone I could trust was leading me. I followed JJ’s taillights all the way to Tacoma. Today I know I can follow the one who is the Way, the Truth and the Light and if I do not lose sight of Him I will come safe to a heavenly place. I want to pray without ceasing and give thanks, if I do, I can trust I will never be lost and neither will you!
Blessings John