“Whatever it is that you need, ask God!” “God will heal you. Men cannot do this without God.” “Pray to God. He will always listen.”
These quotes came from two of my Uber pastors.
I travel around town by Uber. My wife asked me if I knew the names of my Uber drivers when I rode in the various cars with different drivers. “Of course. I have prayed with at least half of them.” She asked about how you go from getting in a car to praying with a stranger in less than twenty minutes.
Here is my quick answer- I don’t know.
I always talk to my Uber driver when I am riding. I usually ask “How long have you been driving? What do you like about it? What did you do before this? Do you have kids?” Somewhere in the conversation a little door opens up to talk about faith. That’s not accurate. I mean that a door opens up for me to listen to someone else and his or her faith.
The quotes I wrote at the top, from my Uber drivers? Both of those drivers are Muslim. They shared with me their beliefs, their strong faith in God and how much they loved driving for Uber because they met so many people. In our conversations, these two drivers particularly, but several others, we talked about Jesus. I told them early in our short conversations that I was a Christ-follower. One said, “It is good that we have the same God.” The other driver talked to me about a chapter in the Qu’ran devoted to Jesus and Mary. It referred to Jesus as “the Spirit of God.” I do not know the impact for my driver of this belief, but I do know that he does not accept Jesus as his savior. So, I jumped out of his moving car…
Ok, no I didn’t. I asked if I could pray for him when we pulled up to my destination. He said yes, so I did. I prayed for my new friend, his family and God’s continued provision. I praised God that there were two of us who loved Jesus and that God had given us this time to become friends. Muhammed, my driver, then prayed for me and my family and praising God through whom all things were possible.
The other muslim driver prayed for me without my asking. He said, “I will pray for you.” I figured that was it, I was going to get out of the car and give him a 5 star rating. Instead, he just started praying. He prayed, “God, heal my friend Tom because you can do all things.”
What was I supposed to do? Not pray with these men? I mean they are Muslim, right? so...I don't know. It didn't feel like heresy or sin to pray to the one true God on behalf of these men. During our time together we shared an understanding that we did not have the same religious belief and yet respected each other’s belief. I didn't know what to do. I decided the best thing I could do at the moment was to pray with and for them. Asking them if I could pray with them or for them was a little outside of my comfort zone, but I felt a nudge to do it. When the Holy Spirit nudges I have learned I should follow the nudge.
With Christian drivers it has always been easier. One of my Uber drivers was a deacon in his church. Another one was a pastor in a church-plant. One of my drivers had a son serving in the Marines in Okinawa and she told me that she prayed every day for him. Talking about Christ with them was more comfortable. At the end of each ride, I asked if I could pray for them and we did, right there in the car.
There are some Uber drivers who do not want to talk about anything, but not many. There are some drivers who shut down the conversation when it turns toward faith. I don’t push, we just talk about something else or I start to read my texts. I am surprised, however, how many of the rides become conversations about God and Jesus. It is encouraging. Everyone is on their path and a lot of these drivers are further along than me.
I have learned a lot from my Uber pastors and their walks with God. There is a bit of uncertainty for me in starting these conversations because I’m not sure if I am doing it right. I feel like I am supposed to be converting someone or blessing someone or maybe something else. For now, I am just praying with them, out loud, in their car.
I came across this scripture just as I started writing this-
He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.2 Corinthians 3:6
I do not feel competent. The only thing I know so far is to hear people’s stories and pray with them.