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Don’t Waste Time. Pray!

Stuck on line in the grocery store, at a traffic light, in a waiting room? Spend this time with God.

Don't waste time. Pray instead.
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The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. James 5:16

Have you ever sat fuming in a doctor’s waiting room long past your appointment time? Or looked in vain for a tardy friend in a restaurant? Or paced the floor in an airport waiting for a flight, hours overdue? On such occasions, I’m sure one exasperated phrase keeps running through your mind: “What a waste of time!”

But what if I told you that we never have to waste time like that again?

I had a friend named Frank Laubach, one of the saintliest men I ever met. Frank was a missionary who became famous for his success in teaching illiterate people to read. But he also was a man who took literally the line in the Bible that says “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and accomplished this by using what he called “fractional prayers.”

By that he meant that every day he used little blocks of time, which could have been frittered away otherwise, as prayer periods. While waiting for a bus, for example, instead of standing aimlessly at the bus stop, he filled those moments with prayer. He prayed for others gathered at the bus stop. He prayed that the purpose of the forthcoming bus ride might be blessed. In a taxi, slowly making its way through traffic, he spent the time thanking God for as many things as he could think of.

Frank estimated that his “fractional prayers” added up to a total of two or three hours daily. And when I made up my mind to follow his example, I found that the total duration of the short prayers that I offer during a day was quite similar.

What an easy and satisfactory way to keep from wasting time! I started this prayer practice by setting aside one day in the week to try it. I can assure you that I found it so good that I have never wanted to stop!

Keep me aware of all the little blocks of free time during my day, Lord, and let me learn to fill them with thoughts of You.

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