Make it a great wait – improve your health while twiddling thumbs

article top

Unless you enjoy uninterrupted minutes of Angry BirdsDraw Something, or Scramble on your smartphone, you may be finding wait periods in doctors’ offices frustrating.

In a world where most of us are in super, hyper motion, slamming on the brakes and just twiddling thumbs is emotionally painful.


A recent look at data from over 700,000 physicians’ offices revealed that patients in the US spend significant time in a room their physicians almost never enter. The national average is 21 minutes, but some wait for hours.

However, a delay in the waiting room is not necessarily the physician’s fault. Most doctors are being forced to see more patients in less time. They are loaded down with ever-increasing paperwork and administrative responsibilities assigned with each patients’ care. Probably, most doctors would enjoy spending more time with their patients; however, they are financially forced to move promptly to the next patient.

Because most us are now accustomed to quick access and instant rewards, waiting is irritating. Not only do we wait in doctors’ offices, we also wait in traffic and in bank and grocery lines. We anxiously wait to hear about job and housing opportunities and, as well, we wait for apologies and I love you’s.

Yet, while we wait, shouldn’t we be utilizing our time wisely? Studies show there is something valuable and productive we could be doing, — something that will help us, even physically. Believe it or not, this beneficial activity is prayer.

Mitchell Krucoff, MD, a cardiovascular specialist at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, speaking about prayers possible impact on health, told WebMD, “[Today,] we’re seeing systematic investigations — clinical research — as well as position statements from professional societies supporting this research, federal subsidies from the [National Institute for Healthcare Research], [and] funding from Congress. All of these studies, all the reports, are remarkably consistent in suggesting the potential measurable health benefit associated with prayer or spiritual interventions.”

From a survey of American family physicians it was found that 99 percent of these physicians were convinced that spiritual beliefs could heal. 75 percent believed that the prayers of others could help a patient recover more quickly. And as well, a Pew Research survey recently revealed that 36 percent of Americans say they’ve experienced or seen healing through prayer.

Presuming we are intent on making good use of our time while waiting, it should be clear that there are various types of prayer for us to choose from.

Rabbi Marc Gellman once said, “There are four basic prayers. Gimme! Thanks! Oops! and Wow! …Wow! are prayers of praise and wonder at the creation. Oops! is asking for forgiveness. Gimme! is a request or a petition. Thanks! is expressing gratitude.”

Regardless of what kind of prayer we utilize, prayer can be likened to grabbing a cat by its tail.

Once we’ve got a cat by its tail, we get the whole cat. It doesn’t matter what kind of a cat we grab, we are going to experience everything that cat has to offer.

Just so, as we pray, no matter what kind of prayer we employ, it appears, we have the opportunity to experience everything the divine can supply. However, unlike grabbing a cat’s tail, prayer apparently leads to good things, as Dr. Krucoff and others are discovering.

Besides Gimme! Thanks! Oops! and Wow! there is another type of prayer. This prayer, a form of spiritual reasoning, can be considered a specific treatment that governs thought and therefore our experience.

When it comes to health, today the physical body and mind are being viewed as a continuum rather than as two separate entities linked in some mysterious way. Our health can be regarded as our thought manifest. Juan Mascaro, a professor and language translator, once wrote, “As the shadow follows the body, as we think, so we become.”

This style of prayer could also be likened to a lawyer defending his client who has been falsely charged based on bogus evidence. With divine authority, we can acknowledge the truth regarding our identity, our health, and our innocence as a spiritual being. This prayer can be a liberating revelation that rescues us from pain and disease.

The belief that suffering is in agreement with divine will or law can be mentally challenged. Didn’t Jesus prove that spiritual law, not divine whim, made the healing of lives and bodies possible, even predictable?

In a world full of emotional and physical pain, it seems that a majority of people are unaware of prayer’s ability to help. However, prayer does have a positive effect on us physically, mentally, emotionally, and socially.

So, the next time we are occupying a waiting room, waiting in line or stuck in traffic, we can utilize these minutes to prayerfully enrich our experience and improve our health.

– Keith Wommack is a Syndicated Columnist, Christian Science practitioner and teacher, husband, and step-dad. He has been described as a spiritual spur (since every horse needs a little nudge now and then). Keith’s columns originate at: