Benedict’s Rule: Prayer-Saturated Travel

Chapter 67 reveals another dimension of life together among the monks.  When one or more of them are sent by the abbot on a journey, they are to be prayed for continuously until they return.

This might be the place where the tradition of praying for “traveling mercies” came from, but whether it is or not, the example is one for us to follow as our friends and loved ones travel.

The community understood that whenever a monk was away from the monastery, he actually put himself in harm’s way—perhaps literally, but also figuratively in the sense of vulnerability.  The monk was literally out of his element, and the brothers knew that this places a person in a position where Satan can find new ways to tempt him.

So, they prayed until the monk returned.  And upon his return, they had him lie prostrate before the altar, both thanking God for a safe return and asking forgiveness for any sins he might have committed while away.

We would all do well to seek the prayers of others when we travel, and offer it when those we know are away from their places of familiarity and safety.

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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