Your daily commute is one way God transforms you

When you commute to work, you likely take a similar route each day. To implement a liturgy of commute, you can use the landmarks and cross streets of your route as a trigger for engaging with God. Praying for something specific at given cross streets, confessing as you drive by assigned landmarks, surrendering the workday to God at particular stoplights or freeway exits, and listening for what God might have you hear about your work and the people with whom you work, can make up the liturgy of your daily commute.

A daily liturgy of commute might also involve connecting the inner landscape of your heart with the outer physical landscape as you travel. Are there dark places in your heart? Then dark areas where you drive, walk, or bike might prompt you to reflect on what you may need to confess. Are there peaks or hills in your life or work for which you are grateful? Then when you crest a hill, thank God for them. What about the flat areas or long stretches that are relatively monotonous and unchanging? How might these areas prompt you to pray through the ordinariness of your work today? What other features of the landscape might provoke thoughtful reflection for you?

God can transform your commute

One friend’s office is at the end of a long bridge. Each day as she commutes she uses the time driving over the bridge to remind herself of God’s calling for her to be a bridge at work — a connection and conduit to share God’s love with her colleagues. She found the experience to be particularly useful compared with other practices she had tried, because as she put it, “I was fresh and undistracted when I went over the bridge, so it was a great way to set up the day.”

God can transform your commute — whether it is mundane or stressful, short or long — into an experience of worship and attentiveness to the Holy Spirit. You can be intentional about how you are shaped, and it begins with your commute. Even people who commute with others can participate in this practice. It may take some creativity, but it can be done. For instance, parents dropping their kids off at school can use this time to engage with them, discussing what they are thankful for, listening to a worship song, and praying for the day ahead out loud together. You could even do this if you are picking up other people’s children by asking how you might pray for their day before you drop them off. If you carpool with coworkers, be intentional about listening to them. Ask about their concerns for the day, and if they are open to it, ask them how you might pray for them in the hours ahead. If you travel on public transportation, observe those around you and ask God to meet their needs.

If you travel to work alone, your commute may be the only time during the day when you have quiet and solitude. By entering into a liturgy of commute, you are being intentional about using this quiet time and space to begin the day “with” God as you travel to your place of work.

The practice of a liturgy of commute

Think about your commute. You most likely go the same way every day or have a couple of routes you might use depending on traffic. Now think through the streets you take and the landmarks along the way. Do you pass a school, a particular store, or a certain street sign? Think about the topography of your commute. Do you see water, mountains, or farmland on your commute? Are there train tracks you cross or a hill you go up or down? Is there a particular house you pass that is interesting or unique?

Now begin mentally taking note of what you remember along the way on your commute. Use these landmarks as prompts to enter into different types of prayer for your commute. For instance, from your house to the first landmark, spend time praising God for the blessing of a new workday. After you cross the second landmark, move into a time of offering the day to the Lord. At landmark three, you may begin asking for God’s help in your work; and then after passing landmark four, begin praying for others in your life who need it. After passing the last landmark on your commute, use the rest of the time to ask God what he desires you to be attentive to at work that day.

Perhaps part of your commute is spent on public transportation and the noise of your surroundings makes it difficult for you to sustain attention on interacting with God. In this situation, you might use the time to read or listen to Scripture or a podcast (with headphones of course!). Perhaps you can listen to music that focuses your time and attention on God’s goodness and purposes. One of the tools we have found quite valuable for ourselves is “Pray as You Go,”[1] a daily ten- to fifteen-minute podcast devotional that includes music, a Scripture reading, and a time of reflection.

Using liturgies as tools for transformation

How you craft your own liturgy of commute is up to you, but you may want to start with identifying the components of worship in which you want to engage: praising God, confessing sin, thanking God for his blessings, listening to Scripture, reflecting on the attributes of God, interceding for others, requesting God’s direction and guidance, and so on. Then consider the landmarks you encounter on your commute and connect each one to a different aspect of your desired liturgy. This will help your mind not to wander as you travel.

After a time, you may have the liturgy memorized, but at the beginning you may want to write down your intentions to help you remember it. Creating a new habit while commuting may seem clunky at first, but stick with it. Be creative about it. Experiment with it. If something isn’t working, change it. Find what works for you in this liturgy, so that your commute can be a tool God uses to transform you in your work. Remember, this is something you are practicing, not something to be perfected. This liturgy is about relationship with God, and you can view your commute as a tool to prompt an experience of conversation with the Lord.

One way to create a liturgy of commute is to write down a list of things you want to surrender to God, people for whom you want to pray, and things for which you want to thank God. Take this list with you and start going through it as you pass your commute’s landmarks. Over time, engaging in this practice consistently will direct your mind, heart, and body toward a posture of worship, surrender, and attention on your drive, ride, or walk.

Editor’s note: This article is an adapted chapter from Working in the Presence of God: Spiritual Practices for Everyday Work by Denise Daniels and Shannon Vandewarker, copyright 2019 by Hendrickson Publishers, Peabody, Massachusetts. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

[1] Pray as You Go,

Topics: Christian Life, Prayer, Spiritual Formation Practices

About the Author

Denise is the inaugural Hudson T. Harrison Endowed Chair of Entrepreneurship at Wheaton College. Previously she was professor of management at Seattle Pacific University. She earned a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior from the University of Washington. Her scholarly interests include meaningful work, Sabbath, leadership, gender, and motivation. Denise is the co-Principal Investigator on a $1.5M research project funded by the Lilly Endowment examining how Christians in the United States understand and engage their faith at work.

About the Author