Among the most common excuses for not doing many of life’s most important things is a lack of time. Why don’t many of us have personal devotions (quiet time)? Not enough time. Why do good books just pile up on our shelves unread? Not enough time.

Are you wondering where your time goes? Let’s start with this question: How much time do you spend in your car?

In addition to driving to and from work, we often spend a lot of time in the car doing errands, going to church, and taking children to different activities. According to Time Power, a book by Brian Tracy, the average American car owner spends between 500 and 1,000 hours per year behind the wheel.

If you’ve ever wondered where all the time went, now you have a clue. If you’re anything like me, you waste many of the hours you spend in a car. My natural tendency is to immediately turn on the radio. It doesn’t matter much what is on…noise is filling my mind the entire drive. Then I reach my destination wondering where the time went.

Below are some ideas to help you use car time wisely. Instead of wasting time in your car, invest it.

Listen to

Good teaching. In addition to Christian radio, CD series are available from many pastors and Bible teachers. You can order broadcasts of “FamilyLife Today” on CD. Many ministries even offer their teaching on podcasts. There are countless hours of good, solid content captured in a format perfect for your car.

Solid music artists. Admittedly, there are a number of Christian musicians and recording artists whose music is not very different from listening to secular music. But there are many who write and record music that is good for the soul. Find one or two that you especially like, purchase their CDs, and listen regularly.

Books on tape. Reading while driving can be hazardous, but have you considered listening to books? There are a vast array of options available in the form of audio books. You could consider classics like Moby Dick, Gulliver’s Travels or Little Women. Or you could listen to contemporary novels or to non-fiction audio books intended to help you with your spiritual growth. This is a great way to help reduce that ever-growing pile of books you’d love to read…if you had the time.

Pray for

Your spouse. Pray for your spouse’s daily needs. But don’t stop there—pray for ongoing issues you know your spouse is dealing with. Pray for his or her personal and spiritual growth.

Your children. They have needs, desires, and issues—no matter what age they are. Pray for their health and for their intellectual and spiritual growth. Devote one day’s driving time to pray for one of your children. Then, another child on another day. Ask God to bring specifics to your mind and invest your time in praying for your children.

Your pastor. Pastors carry a burden that only other pastors fully understand. It comes with the position and there is little you can do to change that. You can, however, pray for his success and his protection. You can pray for his wife and children. Pray that he would remain faithful to the Word. Pray that he would have wisdom as he leads your church.

Issues of the kingdom. In the model prayer from Matthew 6:9-13, Christ suggests we pray: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” So, pray for the Kingdom. Pray that God’s will would be done, not just in your life and the life of your family, but also in your nation, in your office, in other countries, and in churches. Pray for the return of Christ. Pray that nations would turn to God and that He would receive praise from the earth.

Look for

God’s fingerprints in creation. We can find God’s fingerprints in a sunrise or a sunset. We can see them in a tree fully blooming. His creativity can be seen in the circling hawk, the growing grass, and the rain that hits your windshield. When we drive by the same things at the same time of day, we may tend to overlook them and not appreciate them. Invest your drive time in appreciating God’s creation.

Those in need. Take notice of ambulances and fire trucks. Take notice of law enforcement. These vehicles are on the road for a reason. They are traveling to people who are having a much harder day than you are. Pray for their well-being. Pray for the protection of the emergency workers.

Surprises. God may want you to pray for something very specific at a very specific time. Perhaps a name, place, or issue will suddenly come to mind and you are not quite sure where it came from. Consider that God may be prompting you to pray for it. Of course, you’ll need to be listening and looking for it. So, look for surprises. You may be very surprised when you see what God would have you pray.

When all is said and done, there may be very little you can do about the amount of time you are required to spend in your car. However, you can control what you do while you are driving. Consider these ideas. Create some of your own. In any case, do what you can to make the most of the time you have.

Copyright © 2008 by FamilyLife. All rights reserved.