prayer and biking to work

biking to work covers alot of bases in one effort. it allows me to avoid paying gym fees for exercise. it allows me to delay the next time i fill the gas tank. it gets me fresh air. and it is another opportune time to pray. i'm not a hard core cyclist with an extremely funny blog like the fat cyclist in washington state. (as a mormon his humor is clean but can still make you laugh out loud at your desk.) so i'm no pro cyclist but going at a faster rate of speed than dog walking does require some more attention. take this morning's ride for example. it snowed in these parts a few days ago. but i presumed that the sidewalk, the only sidewalk that i need to use to cross over the Interstate 95 bridge, the one that's a mile long, the one that the state is responsible for plowing, would have been clear of snow and ice. it wasn't. it had a narrow track that put the rider mere inches away from the fence that keeps you from plunging a hundred feet to your death in the Thames River below...an aside for my non-local readers. i live in a little foggy city called new london which borders a little river called the Thames River, pronounced like its spelled, not like the british pronounce their river. aside over...so i had to pay attention even more tha normal. its better for me to have a prayer agenda before my ride. since i usually don't leave with a prayer agenda it becomes anything i see. so i'll thank God for the clouds and the river and the charismatic church i can see from the bridge. sometimes i'll see homeless encampments and i'll pray for them. i'll see the house i grew up in and i'll start praying for my parents and my brother and then my wife and children. there isn't much variety in the bike ride prayers. i would categorize these familiar prayers as maintenance prayers.

i want my children to live their whole lives in love with Father. i want my wife to have a productive day teaching the children. i want my parents to be light and salt in their condo complex. i want my brother and his wife to be healthy and be effective disciplers. all of those are things that can fall apart at any moment. daily prayer for those things is like asking for the daily bread.

why does Jesus tell us to ask for our daily bread? doesn't the sun shine on the just and the unjust? aren't we told not to worry about our clothes? aren't the hairs on our heads numbered? yet we are told to ask for our daily bread. don't i still get my daily caloric intake when i don't pray? aren't these concerns of mine for my family the same as Father's? yes, yes, yes. but if things work like i read in Job, there is an adversary who also comes to Father daily to oppose them. and i have an opportunity to stand with their advocate, Jesus, and oppose the one who would oppress them. Jesus doesn't need my help. it's kind of like my son helping me push the car off a patch of ice. the contribution is moral more than physical. but when the car is moved off the ice he and i give each other a high-five and a back slap. maintenance prayers don't usually see short term results. the preferable result is nothing terrible happening. are my prayers preventing something terrible from happening? i think i'll only know in heaven.

i have other routines that involve maintenance prayers. when i say goodnight to the kids i always tell them i love them and i give them a kiss. i also pray for them. I pray they will love Jesus and they will know his love, that they will love him and follow him with their whole hearts for their whole lives. then i'll tack on whatever is the issue for them that night, a good night's rest, an illness, a friend, a bad day to not be repeated tomorrow.  it's rote, it rolls off my tongue, i've been praying the same thing for them since they were infants, every night. it might not mean so much to them now, but i know my dad prays for me and my family every morning and that comforts me. i appreciate the maintenance. i'm glad for his routine.

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