Scripture: Matthew 9:35 CEB
“Jesus traveled among all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, announcing the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and every sickness.”
I will remember the path we traveled as long as I live. We were driven to a very small village market where just about everything you could imagine was being sold. Little stands lined the street with their goods in the open air for would be customers to see. It was a busy place and a lot of people were buying goods and walking the street. We made our way down to the river at the end of the street. At the river bank were boats. They were small boats and some of them looked like they were homemade. The boats were the only way to get across the river. The river was a very fast moving river and the water was pretty high this day. Once we made it across the river, we walked a narrow path with handmade huts and buildings on either side. Once we arrived at our destination we were surrounded by a sea of people, mostly children, welcoming us to their village. Our time was spent learning from the health educators and kids and showing them how to make the prepackaged meals we would give them. Then we said our goodbyes and made the trek back to our vehicle and back to the mission. It was a journey I will never forget.
All of this took place in Zambia, Africa as a small group of leaders from St. Andrew’s traveled to the small village known as Mufuchani. The thing I remember most about this trip is praying every minute of the journey. As we walked through the market place I prayed for the people selling their goods because this was how they fed their family. As we boarded the boats I prayed for our safe crossing and for the guides who would spend all day taking people back and forth across the river. By the way, did I mention that the Kafue River was crocodile infested? As we walked the narrow path to the school house in the village I prayed for the people in the small huts along the way. When we gathered with the children and their families I prayed for their health, for God’s provision of food, for their future. Of course, the same prayers were offered on the way back. I know that all of us who were traveling the path that day were offering similar prayers. It was a profound experience and one that helped shape our understanding of praying on the way.
How many times are we moved to pray like this as we journey through our day? We see so many things in the course of a day and we are not always paying attention enough to pray. We may have become oblivious to the homeless person walking down the street, the parent who is struggling to get their kids to school before they head to work, or the person in the car next to us who is already having a bad day. A part of the journey in life is noticing the other people on the journey with us. Traveling isn’t just what we do on vacation, it is what we do every day. Jesus traveled to many different places and interacted with many different people every day of his ministry. The amazing thing is what he noticed and who he noticed. Jesus was moved to help those who no one else really seemed to notice. He healed the sick, gave sight to the blind, cleansed the lepers, and challenged the authorities. Jesus prayed with and for those who were most in need. Jesus gave us an example of what we should be looking for on our daily travels.
The challenge for all of us today is to pray on the way. Will you be more alert today to those around you? Will you allow the Holy Spirit to move you to pray for the people you might normally overlook? We don’t have to travel to Africa to notice people who need our prayer. We have the opportunity to pray on the way today. God will allow you to see more people today who need your prayer if you will commit to being more aware. You never know who you will see on your travels today. So invite the Holy Spirit to open your eyes today. Seek people and places along your travels today for whom you will pray. As you do this you will find more divine opportunities, unexpected blessings, Holy Spirit moments, and new possibilities. Just open yourself today to pray on the way.
Prayer: Holy God, I am excited about who you will place in my path today. Open my eyes and allow me to see the people I may normally overlook. Move me to pray for whoever and whatever you want. Empower me through your Holy Spirit to all you would have for me as I pray on the way this day. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.