Praying at Traffic Lights

A simple, easy, way to “pray always”

Praying at Traffic Lights

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Traffic lights are a way of life for anyone in or near an urban area. They seem to be lurking on almost every street corner. I know they are there for our protection and to regulate traffic, but sometimes they just get to be too much. And I don’t know about you, but I have an uncanny ability to hit light after light just as it turns red.

I’ve never counted the minutes I wait at lights on any given day, but I if I added them up and multiplied by 365, the amount of time I sit waiting for the green glow in a year could easily be a hundred hours or more. And I also don’t know about you, but I’d always fidgeted, stewed, daydreamed, you name it, while waiting for a light to change. Until a few months ago.

One November day, I was doing my usual waiting routine when I glanced over and noticed the rosary that I always keep spread out on the passenger seat beside me as a sort of guardian angel while I drive. As I sat at the light that day, I said to myself, Why not pray a few beads of the rosary while I sit here and wait? And so I did.

Since then, driving has not been the same. Whenever I hit a red light, I take my rosary and begin praying. Sometimes I am able to pray only one bead before the light changes. Sometimes I pray several, or even more. But the number doesn’t matter. The act does.

What do I pray for? Anyone’s prayer list probably is endless, but mine includes:

  • Jobs or health for family members or friends.

  •  Peace for the homeless I know, pass by anonymously, or have never met.

  •  Comfort for the lonely.

  •  Food for the starving in our country and around the world.

  •  Peace wherever it is absent.

  •  Thanks to God for health restored or job found for someone I love or know.

  •  Thanks to God for personal blessings.

At times I say the prayers and ask God to bestow them as he will.

Certainly we should not be praying only while stuck in traffic. But making use of that idle time is a wonderful habit to get into.

So, if you are wondering what to buy a loved one, friend, or colleague for Christmas, birthday, anniversary, or no occasion at all, consider buying him or her a rosary and enclose a note: Pray at Red Traffic Lights. While that may not sound as uplifting as Saint Paul’s urging in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing,” I think it adds a nice modern-day dimension.

I never thought I’d say this, but I actually welcome red lights now.

Bob Drews lives in Northern California with his family and loves and praises our Lord always for his blessings.