Prayers at the Pump

From Faith is Not a Dirty Word


I didn’t get a speeding ticket yesterday. I could say that any day, really, because in a quarter century of driving I have never been issued a speeding ticket. But yesterday I didn’t either… despite getting pulled over for speeding.

Let me start at the beginning. This is going to seem like a meandering story, but it’s all relevant. Promise.

I was chatting with a friend of mine about my recent writing projects and random stuff about my shiny new publishing company. (Did you know I’ve partnered up with another author and we opened an indie publishing house? Yeah, Mannison Press, LLC! How cool is that?! Story for another time.) Well, I was saying to her that I needed to pray more about this stuff. Do you forget to pray about your work? Because I forget to pray about my work.

I had to cut our conversation short, though, to go pick up my groceries. My online grocery order earlier that morning had timed out and I lost my reservation, so I got stuck with a later time slot. I knew I’d be cutting it close to school pickup time.

I bustled out of the house and — dang it! Of course I needed gas. You always need gas when you’re in a hurry.

I headed for my usual gas station, and as I pulled up to a pump I found myself rolling in nose-to-nose with another vehicle. I saw her looking at me through her windshield and thought for a moment maybe she was miffed that I’d taken away her pull-through opportunity. Sorry, friend! At least we both still got a pump. I got out, locked my doors, processed my payment, tucked my card away, and then in my peripheral vision I saw her approaching me.

Oh no, I thought. I’m no good at this! Ohhhh gosh oh gosh, what does she want? I hate telling people that I don’t carry cash…

“Hi there!” she bubbled. “I saw you when you pulled in”–oh gosh, oh gosh–“and I was wondering…can I pray for you?”

*Blink, blink*

For a very brief moment, I thought she said “pay.” Well that’s an awesome gesture, but I’ve already paid. Then I put together that she had said “pray” and, well…wow!! What a bold and amazing act of faith!

Now, I’m no fool, so I instantly became wary of my surroundings. I (subtly) checked over my shoulder, through the van windows, and paid special attention to the other vehicles around me. But as it turned out she was genuine.

We chatted for a minute while I pumped. Her name was Natalie. Cute little thing, with sparkling brown eyes and tight curly hair. I told her I had recently opened my own publishing company and was just saying I needed to pray more about that. I then asked how I could pray for her, and she mentioned her studies.

And we prayed for each other!

We prayed for each other right there, standing outside at the gas station with the pump still hanging out of my van.

Well! Not only did I roll out with my vehicle tanked up on fuel, but my spirit was tanked up on God! MAN was that cool to me! I love that despite the divisiveness of our country these days, we can still freely express and exercise our faith. I got caught at the next stop light, and even though I was now running even further behind I was feeling great! Yay God!!

The light turned green. When I hit the gas there was a great big grin on my face, a wide open road ahead of me, and…

…a motorcycle cop tagging speeders.

Doh! “Too fast, too fast, too fast,” I muttered out loud, easing up on the gas, but it was too late. His lights came on and I knew it was over. No excuses.

Crap crap crap crap crap.

I rolled down my window with a tight-lipped smile and bobbed my head in tacit admission.

“I clocked you going 60 in a 45, ma’am. Any reason you were going so fast?”

“I’m so sorry, officer! This — oh gosh, this is going to sound so dumb, but — I was riding a spiritual high!”

This visibly caught him off guard. It was subtle and quick, but I could tell it was unexpected, so I briefly described my encounter with the girl at the gas station just moments prior. He requested my license and went back to his motorcycle to check it out. Meanwhile, I sat in my van with trembling hands and chuckling to myself incredulously.

He came back only a few minutes later, handed me back my license, then shared something that caught ME off guard. The same girl had recently approached him to offer prayer, too!!! He said she’s been around praying for others as well, which is why he 100% believed my story. He advised I slow down and sent me on my way. I thanked him and then closed with something well-meaning but awkward like, “God bless your work” (because I’m Deidre and I make things awkward).

So to summarize:

  • I told a friend I needed to pray more for my work.
  • Minutes later, gas station stranger asks if she can pray for me.
  • All jazzed up, I was driving too fast and got pulled over for speeding.
  • The officer had been offered prayer by the same girl.
  • Officer issued no penalty, citing that driver was full of good godly goodness.

(Okay, I made up that last part.)

Despite my delays, I still managed to pick up my groceries, boogie home (going the speed limit), deposit my shopping, and bike up to the school just in the nick of time. Whew! What a Monday.

It was a Monday full of Good Godly Goodness.

Thanks for reading.


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