Waiting -- Torture or Treasure?

As I brought John back into the operatory and seated him in my dental chair, I held my hands out for his glasses and newspaper.  "I'll set these over here on the counter for you," I told him.

"Be sure you give those back to me if you leave the room, and I have to wait," he said. "I hate waiting with nothing to do."

"I agree, " I said emphatically, "There is nothing worse than being stuck somewhere with nothing to do. I hate wasting time." 

We commiserated on the torture of long waits in doctors' offices and drive through lines, and then I introduced another thought.

"Often when I am forced to wait somewhere," I told him, "I just use that time to pray."  Perhaps because I place an x-ray holder into his mouth, or maybe because he had nothing to say, John did not respond to my remark.

I believe not wasting time is a biblical principle.  Ephesians 5:16 encourages us that we should be "redeeming the time, for the days are evil."  For me, one way to redeem the time is to capture those potentially wasted moments when we are forced to wait.  Instead of chafing at delays, I look at them as opportunities during my busy day to pray.  That way, I am multi-tasking -- I am waiting to have my eyes checked and interceeding in prayer for my missionary friends in Spain.  I am waiting in the check out line at the grocery store and praying for my daughters' safety and health.  I am waiting for the lady to slice my deli meat and praying for my husband's ministry.  It is a win/win situation.  I am going about my daily duties and accomplishing great things through the vehicle of prayer. 

An additional benefit to praying while waiting is that I have less of a tendency to get impatient and irritable.  Instead of feeling like someone is wasting my time, instead I feel like I have been given a gift -- precious time in my busy day during which I can talk to my heavenly Father on behalf of those I love.

I didn't have the opportunity to say all of this to my patient as he sat in the chair while I cleaned his teeth.  I wondered, though, if he was giving thought to the fact that while he was waiting for me to finish, he had lots of time to pray.

I challenge you, the next time you are waiting,  redeem the time through prayer.  Imagine the things you can accomplish!

This devotion is an excerpt from Lori’s new book, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women.

You want to connect with God, but in the craziness of life, it’s just not happening. You want practical, biblical answers to situations you face every day, but you don’t have hours to pore over Scripture.

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• If God already knows what he’s going to do, why bother to pray? 
• Why have you allowed this to happen to me? 
• No one appreciates what I do. Why shouldn’t I quit? 

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