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  • Rachel Richardson

Praying on Auto-Pilot Mode


My name is Rachel and I like to speed. I subscribe to the infamous words of Ricky Bobby from Taladega Nights, “I want to go fast.”

I accepted this fact about myself only recently, after being pulled over for doing 40 in a 25 mph school zone. “Do you know why I pulled you over?” asked the police officer. “Yes. I was speeding. I was jamming to a great song and wasn’t paying attention to my speed,” I confessed.

As I sat in my car reflecting on the why, I realized something pretty significant. I was driving on auto-pilot mode. After all I take that road a minimum of 6 times every single day as I drop off my 3 children at their 3 separate destinations. I know that road. I’ve driven it a million times. I know the curves, the bumps, the stop lights, where the crossing guards stand. Heck, if I could draw, I’d draw pictures of the crossing guard’s faces by sheer memory. That’s how often I take that road.

But danger was revealed that day as I accepted that being on auto-pilot mode only offered me the comfort of distraction. What a pitiful excuse that would be if ever I stopped short on someone else’s child. Or what a shame it would be to miss all that God would reveal on that road about my prayer-life.

You see, sometimes, much like my driving, my prayer life is on auto-pilot mode.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. – Matthew 6:9

Sometimes I start with this prayer when I don’t know what to pray for. And when I first studied the meaning of these words – Hallowed: to honor as holy; Forgive: cancel; Deliver: carry us – it meant so much to me. It meant exactly what my heart desired most. But when I’m auto-pilot mode, I don’t even know what I’m asking for. And it happens all too often.

Like when I’m ½ way through an incredible plate of food and stumble, realizing I forgot to pray in gratitude, and scramble a 10 second “Father thank you for this food. In Jesus name, Amen.” And proceed with gobbling up what’s left of it.

Or when I’m angry with my husband and start a prayer asking God into the situation and 20 minutes later realize I’ve only recited the argument to God…in prayer…. on auto-pilot mode…fueled with anger and resentment.

Or when I’m frustrated with my kids and ask Jesus to ‘handle these children’ before one of them mysteriously disappear. Jesus…and then there were two….

Here’s my point. Life is full of so many distractions that we give ourselves permission to live on auto-pilot mode. In our prayer life. With our families. While we drive. While we work. Yet, God called us to his Kingdom to do so much more!! Praying on auto-pilot mode blocks us from what God is speaking to our hearts.

And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast. – 1 Peter 5:10

In each of us lies a hidden glory that God wants to reveal. A glory that God prepared well in advance (Ephesians 2:10). A glory that is specific to each of us – our gifts, and our capabilities, and the way we love, and the way we laugh, and the we you think. It cannot be copied.

So, when the world temps us to shut down and live and pray on auto-pilot mode, I challenge us to rebuke comfort in the name of Jesus Christ. And trade in the comfort of distraction for stillness in prayer.


Heavenly Father, please, lead us in prayer. Help us to grow more and more intimate with you in our prayer life. Help us to rebuke the comfort of being on auto-pilot mode and bring all of ourselves to you, completely and unfiltered. Thank you for the glory you’ve bestowed upon us. Please father, Lead us deeper in your truth. In Jesus name, amen.

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