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What do you do when you have to wait a long time for something to happen? With the quarantine over Covid19 many of us are finding more time on our hands than ever before. Waiting can be difficult, almost painful. Many years ago, I served as a student summer missionary in Uganda. Possibly the most striking difference between the East African culture and the one I grew up in, was that people had little concept of hurry. I used to joke that I sometimes needed to get off alone and just hurry.

However, God has been teaching me that my inability to slow down and wait in the Lord is a major hindrance to my spiritual life. This is a common problem in the west. We can remedy this by devoting wait-time and more to prayer. 

In the garden before the cross Jesus asked some of His disciples if they could not even watch with Him for one hour. He wasn’t talking about binge-watching TV. He told them and us to watch and pray. As you develop the change of temperament required to stay in God’s presence, you may find yourself seeking opportunities to “be still” in prayer. Let me suggest some ways to pray when you are waiting that may develop into greater spiritual discipline.

Begin prayer on the majesty of God. 
Jesus began the model prayer with praise⁠—Hallowed be Thy Name. Nothing transforms an anxious spirit or boredom into joy like praise.

Pray for the Kingdom of God. 
From praise Jesus shifted His prayer to the kingdom. You can make arrangements to pray for missionaries or unreached people groups while you are waiting in a long line at the store or elsewhere. On your smartphone you can carry lists of mission needs to pray for regularly.

Pray for yourself.
Jesus told us to pray for our daily bread. It is worthwhile to try to discern what your needs really are. One of those needs is spiritual growth. Seeking spiritual growth will surely involve examining yourself and confessing sins. In the Lord's prayer Jesus told us to ask for forgiveness as we also forgive those who have sinned against us. You will need God to work in your heart to love and forgive people who hate or misuse you. Are you asking God to work in your heart?

Focus on other people.
You can pray for others around you, maybe in the grocery store line. You could develop the habit of praying for everyone around you wherever you go. That is sometimes easiest when you have to wait with nothing else to do. 

You may not need a smartphone or a written list to pray for those in your extended family. You can also pray for the members of your Bible class or your entire church roll when you are forced to wait.

Your most valuable praying may come in the word of God. 
One of the ways to pray for a full hour is to pray through the Lord's Prayer. As you pray, “Hallowed be Thy name,” spend time lifting the wonder and Majesty of God. Then pray for His Kingdom in your life and across the Earth. Go through the whole prayer expanding on every part. You can do this with many Scriptures. 

I recommend Scripture memory as a prayer discipline. This is a great way to fill wait time with powerful prayer. Three kinds of prayer come automatically when we are memorizing scripture. Ask God to help you memorize. Then ask Him to plant His word in your heart to transform your life. And while memorizing, God will often bring people and needs to mind. Take time to pray for each of them. 

Your quarantine can become a wonderful time when you spend each moment of it in prayer.

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Comment by David Young on April 6, 2020 at 7:36pm
Amen, Malva. God bless you.
Comment by Malva Birch on April 6, 2020 at 2:19pm
May God transform our lives through His Spirit, Word and prayer in Jesus' Name.

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