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On the Journey
By Rick Hamlin

Hospital Waiting Room Prayers

Sometimes prayer takes you and finds you in expected places.

The email came unexpectedly. I just looked at the name, Suzanne, and thought, “Gosh, I hope everything is OK.” She and her husband, Bob, were both college classmates and not long ago, they were on the top of my prayer list when Bob was in the hospital with a very serious and difficult-to-treat cancer.

Bob came through with flying colors. I saw him not long ago at a gathering of friends and he seemed in fine form, and Suzanne was warm and caring as always, full of enthusiasm. Prayers answered. Prayers answered all around.

But that was then and this was now. The heading on the email said something about a hospital waiting room and “pre-op.” My mind headed the wrong directions. Worries. A bad test for Bob? Another surgery? More treatment? Isn’t it amazing how fast our minds can go to worry? My wife suggests you can turn the worries into a prayer. I’ve pretty much said as much myself. Easier said than done.

With some trepidation I opened the email. I read quickly... and sighed with some relief. Yes, Suzanne was in a hospital waiting room, but it wasn’t Bob this time. It was her daughter, who only needed minor surgery. I shouldn’t have worried so much. Should have trusted a bit. Or at least waited to read the whole message.

And the message indeed was sweet. While waiting, Suzanne was looking for something to read and she came upon a copy of Daily Guideposts, a 2013 edition, so it wasn’t exactly current but it was full of the usual inspiring stories, Bible verses and Prayers. And there were even some contributions from me in there.

“Glad your daughter’s surgery is minor,” I wrote. “Glad to know the family is all well. And glad to know that I was there in the waiting room with you.”

Prayer and writing about prayer is a wonder, isn’t it? You end up in just the right places.

As for worry, I’m going to work on turning worries into prayer. Good for Lent. And here’s another prayer tip for Lent.

Rick Hamlin is the executive editor of Guideposts magazine and the author of 10 Prayers You Can't Live Without. To learn more about the book and explore your own prayer journey, watch this video.