I want to share with you a secret weapon that I learned about years ago. I will give you one hint- it’s parked outside in your driveway. Whether you drive a Subaru hatchback or a 14 passenger monster van, it makes no difference. Either one can be transformed into an evangelizing, faith sharing, scripture teaching prayer center on wheels.
That hunk of metal is your own private classroom and/or retaining cell, whichever way you choose to look at it. As your family climbs inside, don’t make the mistake of allowing the screens to be turned on. Satan would love it if each miniature human was mindlessly distracted by flashing images for the entire ride. When the screen is on, with games or videos, the disengagement is complete and you have lost them.
The beauty of an automobile is that when those little bodies are clicked safely into place there is nowhere for them to go. You now have their full attention. Even if your children are 6 feet away in the back of a 14 passenger cargo van, they can still hear your voice. Now let the fun begin!
Make your time together happy and light. Regardless of how much tension there may have been while getting ready, once the wheels start turning, begin anew. Put on your liveliest sing-song voice and lead everyone in prayer with, “Good morning! We are going to thank the Lord for this beautiful day! Who has something they want to thank Jesus for?” You can begin and let everyone else chime in.
Then say something like, “OK everyone, who has something they want to pray about this morning?” Let each person add their own intentions out loud.
Perhaps you have a lesson that you’re going over in your faith formation class or something you want to teach. Other options might include learning the St. Michael Prayer, the books of the Bible, talking about what Father spoke about on Sunday in his homily, or putting on a Christian song to sing. Laugh and enjoy the time learning together.
These are the moments you want to seize. These are the times that you don’t want to be filled with crabbiness and rushing to get from one place to another. Don’t zone out when you get in the car! Use this time to get your children’s attention and introduce them to new topics in the faith.
Be ready, plan ahead, and try to prepare with things you can discuss or learn in the car together. Most importantly- talk, talk and talk! Focus on praying for other people. Teach intercessory prayer or try praying to a different saint each day. The options are endless.
While driving, if you see a police car or ambulance with the siren on, take a moment and pray together for peace within that situation. Pray for God to be with them. Give your children the opportunity to think about the Lord even in these everyday circumstances. Spark those flames of faith. Ignite those feelings of love for Jesus and the idea that He is with us each moment of every day. Use your vehicle as a vehicle to bring your kids closer to the Lord and closer to heaven.