THE daily commute is increasingly becoming a place of prayer. It
might seem like a nearly impossible place to be with God - given
the noise, the delays, and cramped conditions - but the creation of
devotional smartphone apps and websites is helping commuters to
make space for it.
Apps based on the lectionary and Daily Prayer enable
travellers to engage in the Offices without carrying Common
Worship with them. Websites such as Sacred Space (maintained
by a Jesuit community) invite the individual into God's presence,
wherever they may be, by providing written prayers, encouragement
to be conscious of one's relationship with God, a Bible passage,
and a time of conversation with God.
The hashtag #trainprayer appears regularly in my Twitter feed,
when commuters invite their followers to share prayer requests with
them. In the midst of the morning rush, it is possible to stop and
Here are some suggestions for possible structures for prayer in
this context. They draw on the environment in which we find
ourselves while travelling, using fellow passengers, maps,
announcements, and the view from the windows as inspirations for
Each point could be the focus of a morning's journey throughout
a working week, or used all together on a longer journey. The aim
is to let the context of the journey shape the prayers.
1. Dedicate this space to God as a place of prayer and
reflection. Pray for all those joining together in prayer at this
time of day - whether at home, at work, in church, or travelling.
Pray for those for whom their commute is a time of prayer: that God
would speak to them in this place, and that other travellers might
sense God's presence. Pray for all those who take this journey
2. Look around at your fellow passengers. Take a note of the
variety of life surrounding you - families, tourists, the range of
nationalities and cultures, faiths, and languages. Pray for all
those thrown together in one place and at one moment. You won't
know anything about those around you, but use the journey to be led
by God in prayer for them.
3. Think about all who work to keep the transport system running
- drivers, engineers, managers, cleaners, station staff, and many
others. Pray for those who may face changes or redundancy; those
who have been traumatised through events at work; and those who
endure abuse from the public. Check whether there are any issues,
such as delays, engineering works, or potential strikes. Ask God
for patience to cope with the stresses of travel.
4. Spend a moment thinking about the places at which your
transport stops. Perhaps there is a map or screen giving station
names that you could focus on.Do you know anything about these
places? Hold them in prayer as you travel.
5. Look out of the windows. You could look for indications of
church presence - buildings or posters, perhaps - and pray for
those worshipping communities. Take time to pray for the population
of the area you are travelling through. What challenges might face
those who live here?
These five themes can easily become a pattern for prayer,
regardless of the circumstances of the journey. There are few
better times to pray for your fellow travellers than when crammed
against them on a packed train or bus. We can all engage in prayer
with the part of God's creation that we travel through.
Rather than let your journey be lost to anger, frustration, or
reading another free newspaper, re-dedicate that time to prayer,
and let your journey be transformed.
Liz Clutterbuck is an ordinand at St Mellitus College, in