Home > Love & Grow > Mary Hartbarger: Praying her way to work

“Spiritual disciplines” are things we do to stay in love with God and grow in faith.  They can be things we do alone or together; they can be ways to spend time with God or to serve others.  As the people of Sylva First UMC share one of their spiritual disciplines with you each week, we hope it will inspire you to new ways of loving God and growing in faith.

Hello everyone! My name is Mary Hartbarger. I have been a part of Sylva FUMC since 1996 when I joined the church officially. I am originally from Lumberton, North Carolina. I graduated from Western Carolina University in 1986 and became a full-time resident of Sylva in 1992.

A spiritual discipline I have been practicing is to pray for people in the mornings on my way to work. I use the quiet time I have in the mornings to spend time with God and send positive thoughts and prayers to people I think about along the drive. A particular time I pray and speak to God is when I am driving down the road and hear the “MAMA” helicopter coming in or out of the hospital. I always pray for the staff, pilot, patient and the family involved. On my way to work I also make sure to say prayers for my family, friends and other individuals that cross my mind during my drive. I have been practicing this since 2014 when I began teaching at Cherokee High School. Teaching at Cherokee and living in Sylva means I have about 35 minutes to spend with God talking to him about my worries for other people every morning during the week.

Doing this during my morning commute makes me feel closer to God and helps give me some peace of mind when I know that I am asking God to reach out his hand to these individuals I am praying for and thinking about.