Saturday, June 30, 2012

Waiting--Torture or Treasure? by Lori Hatcher

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 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 excruciating 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 use that time to pray." Perhaps because I placed an x-ray holder into his mouth, or perhaps 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 I am forced to wait. Instead of chafing at delays, I choose to 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 interceding through prayer for my missionary friends in Spain. I am waiting in the checkout line at the grocery store and praying for my daughter's 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 what you can accomplish!
Copyright 2011 by Lori Hatcher

Lori Hatcher is a freelance writer, dental hygienist, and youth minister’s wife. Read more about her and her new book on the "Lead Writer's" page.


  1. Great challenge Lori! I'll take you up on it.

  2. Lori,
    What a beautiful reminder!

    1. Instead of time wasted, it's time INVESTED!!

  3. Thanks for the great suggestion. I have been trying to find ways to remind myself to pray throughout the day.

    1. I am always amazed at how those little bits of time add up to a vibrant prayer life. . . praying throughout the day keeps those precious lines of communication going between me and God, so I'm reminded often that he's only a prayer away.

  4. Wow - this is excellent. Thank you so much for sharing this. I needed to read this. Hopping over from Homemaking. Blessings from Zagreb - A Little R R & (

  5. Rosilind, thanks so much for visiting. While I won't pray that you'll have lots of time to wait, I will pray that you'll discover the joy of redeeming the time :)


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