Pray your rage away
Whether we engage in it or not, we are all almost daily witnesses to road rage and the related foolishness that comes from it. Signal lights too long, someone cutting into one’s lane too close, a sudden bad decision, an ill-advised attempt to gain an advantage in traffic—these are all very common motivators to strong feeling.
In America, we have a keen sense for our rights, which we are taught (correctly or not) from birth. The smallest incursion on those rights starts the outrage reaction in us as reliably as the bell starts Pavlov’s dogs to drooling.
I want to suggest a strategy for dealing with and managing road rage. It is highly effective, has long-term benefits, and can be taught at an early age: it is prayer. Praying can bring aid instantly. Praying focuses beneficial attention on the ethics of driving and other public conduct. Prayer is heard, and it comes with the highest possible recommendation.
What should one pray, then? Well, for those who need a little help in articulating an appropriate prayer, let me suggest the following.
For another driver overcome by impatience: “Lord, restore that driver to foresight and forbearance, so that all travelers may arrive at their destinations safely. Amen.”
For someone who cuts into one’s lane injudiciously: “Lord, send me a calm spirit to deal with road conditions promptly and safely, and grant that driver wisdom and perspicacity in the balance of his journey. Amen.”
For a driver behaving recklessly: “Lord, I ask that You immediately restore that driver to prudence. Grant that he and I shall be neither the victim nor the cause of any traveler’s misfortune. Amen.” (I am happy to provide further examples of prayer for more circumstances as needed.)
In view of the recent Global Day of Prayer, June 4, I urge prayer not merely for prayer’s sake. Though often therapeutic, prayer is not therapy. By prayer I mean only prayer to the One True God, the God of Scripture, Who alone is fit and powerful to answer prayer, and without Whom prayer is idle chatter. This definition may seem unnecessarily narrow, but I suggest that since there are at least 100 million people in the U.S. who profess belief in the God of Scripture (many of whom reside in my city, Dallas), it is an excellent starting point in the struggle against road rage. And what if everyone began praying on the road? So many people offering heart-felt prayer to God on an important issue could well be the start of Something Else.
Meanwhile, one final piece of advice: when you are driving on the expressway, by all means, pray; just don’t close your eyes.