Waiting —Torture or Treasure?

As I brought John back into the operatory and seated him in my dental chair, I held out my hands 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.”

“I agree,” I said emphatically, “there’s nothing worse than being stuck somewhere with nothing to do. It’s such a waste of 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’m forced to wait somewhere,” I told him, “I use that time to pray.” Perhaps because I placed an X-ray holder into his mouth—or maybe because he had nothing to say—John didn’t respond.

Not wasting time is a biblical principle. Ephesians 5:16 encourages us to be redeeming the time, because the days are evil (NKJV). One way we can redeem the time is to capture those potentially wasted moments when we’re waiting. Instead of chafing at delays, we can look at them as opportunities to pray. In this way, we’re multi-tasking.

We can wait to have our eyes checked and intercede for missionary friends in Spain. We can wait in line at the grocery store and pray for our children’s health and safety. We can wait for the lady to slice our deli meat and pray for our husband’s business. It’s a win/win situation. We go about our daily duties and accomplish great things through the vehicle of prayer.

An additional benefit to praying while waiting is having less of a tendency to become impatient and irritable. Instead of feeling as though someone is wasting our time, we can choose to feel we’ve been given a gift—precious time in our busy day to talk to our heavenly Father on behalf of those we love.

I didn’t have the opportunity to say all of this to John as he sat in the chair while I cleaned his teeth. I wondered, though, as he waited for me to finish, if he realized he had lots of time to pray.

I challenge you: the next time you’re waiting, redeem the time through prayer. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.

… redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:16, NKJV

Your Turn

Join the conversation by adding your comments below!

How do you react when you have to wait?


by Lori Hatcher

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Lori is an author, blogger, and women’s ministry speaker. She shares an empty nest in Columbia, South Carolina, with her ministry and marriage partner, David, and best dog ever, Winston. She’s the editor of Reach Out, Columbia magazine, and has authored two devotional books. You’ll find her pondering the marvelous and the mundane on her blog, Hungry for God. . . Starving for Time . Connect with her on Facebook (Hungry for God), Twitter (@lorihatcher2) or by email (LoriAHatcher@gmail.com).

About Be the Light Editor

Martin Wiles is a minister, author, freelance editor, and English teacher who lives in Greenwood, SC. He is the founder of Love Lines from God and is the author of Grits & Grace and God and Grits, Gumbo and Going to Church. He serves as Managing Editor for Christian Devotions (www.christiandevotions.us) and Assistant Editor for Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of three.