This Thought for Today has been written by Dave Wilson.
I've got to be honest; patience isn't one of my virtues. I hate queueing and have been known to make detours of many miles just to avoid sitting in traffic. When I was commuting into Edinburgh and Glasgow, and there were no viable alternative routes, my attitude was mostly one of resignation rather than acceptance. In fact, if it was schoolwork, I would like to think it would come back marked Could Do Better, but I suspect it would be more likely to come back saying See Me After Class.
The other thing that's almost certain to drive me round the bend (or grinds my gears as the young people say) is having to queue in Supermarkets, and that's what this story is about.
I recently picked Callum up from work and popped into the Supermarket to get something for dinner. Callum's last words to me as I left the car were "please try and be quick", and I was very conscious that he was hot and tired after working, so I ran (or probably more precisely walked quite quickly) round the shop, picked up a few bits and pieces, and made for the tills. When I got there was a lady at the till in front of me who not only seemed to have bought one of every item in the shop but was quite happily chatting to the cashier about what she was going to do with each one of them. I hung back for a couple of minutes in the vain hope that another till would open, but eventually had to step forward and place my groceries on the belt. No sooner had I done so than an announcement came over the tannoy saying that till 3 was now opening. I looked over quickly, but it was already queued full of people.
I could feel the usual annoyance and tension starting to build up, when suddenly, I felt the gentle nudging of the Spirit, saying "Rather than being annoyed, why don't you use the extra time to bring Me in to the situation. You could pray for the lady in front, you could pray for the cashier, you could pray for all in the shop Who knows, you might be first person to pray in here all day!"
So that's what I did. I prayed just as God directed. I don't know if it made a difference to the lady, or the cashier, or the shop, but it made a difference in me. The annoyance and tension all just melted away in those few moments of not thinking about myself and how I wanted it to play out.
I think this partly what is meant by "praying without ceasing". It doesn't mean we never stop, but we have an attitude that is tuned to listening to what God wants us to bring to him and doing it, and by doing so it turns out hearts towards God, and away from ourselves.
I might even try it next time I get stuck in traffic!
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