Waiting In Line; praying

Gratitude: Waiting In Line

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Gratitude isn’t always easy. Waiting in line is sometimes harder. Can we put the two together? Can the solution be in the problem here?

According to an article in the Washington Post, an estimate given by MIT Professor Richard Larson, some people spend a year or two of their lives waiting in line. That’s a lot of ‘wasted’ time according to many. Businesses spend a lot of time (and money) trying to figure out how to get lines shorter and moving more quickly. In the meantime, what can WE do? Again, maybe the solution is in the problem. Maybe it’s putting gratitude in line with us.


Gratitude isn’t always easy. But don’t we have opportunities to make it easier?

M. J. Ryan, author of Attitudes of Gratitude: How to Give and Receive Joy Every Day of Your Life, believes that the solution can be in the problem. The author writes about how she hates to “waste” time and she always saw standing in line as one of those wasteful moments. One day she finally decided to change her approach to this tedious annoyance and make it an opportunity to slow down and release tension rather than creating more.

I want to go further here.

I want to take that moment of waiting in line and think: What else can I do here? And when I took a moment to think about it, I realized there is SO MUCH we CAN do. I can take this time to slow down and breathe. I can add gratitude to that time as well. Gratitude isn’t always easy, but we are given opportunities that we can allow our anxiety to soar or we can choose the moments of ‘waiting’ as the chance to give thanks and do the things we don’t always make time to do.

Let’s just list here the TWO opportunities we COULD be taking advantage of while in.

Give Thanks While Waiting In Line

This is an opportunity to take a few minutes to give thanks. Thanks for what?


Look at the things in your cart. There’s so much right there. There’s an abundance there and I don’t just mean the price tags. Give thanks for the items that are there- offering you nourishment, enjoyment, and provisions to make a meal. And while you are at it: Give thanks you have the money to buy it.


Look at the people in the store. All around you are people that do all sorts of things. There are cashiers who assist you to make your purchase. There are managers to help the store run smoothly (we hope!). The customers are an assortment of parents, teachers, postal workers, counselors, construction workers- people that make our lives easier. Humankind, regardless of who they are or what they contribute in life, are all children of God who He put on this earth to share life with one another.

Things and Events

Think over your day, your week, your life. Think about the things that make your smile. The things that make you laugh. The things that give your nourishment. The things that give you meaning to life. Think about God. Thank him for all you have to give thanks for. Which leads me to the next opportunity.


Sure, you could text and check up on the kids or work, but that’s not what I’m thinking here. I’m still thinking about Gratitude while waiting in line. So…… why not send a few gratitude texts? “Hey I just wanted to let you know I really appreciate….

…you cleaning up after dinner last night.”

…how hard you’ve been working on your new job.”

…you meeting me for coffee the other day.”

…you sharing that new recipe with me!”

…your text the other day.”

Prayer While Waiting In Line

Prayer can be it’s own opportunity of what to do while waiting in line. Of course, it can be combined with gratitude and giving thanks.

We have so many excuses as to why we have not the time to pray during the day. Um, actually…. standing in line is the prefect time. We don’t have to be in church to pray. We don’t have to be in quiet solitude to pray. We can have gratitude for 5 minutes standing in line simply talking to God (not necessarily out loud of course) or saying the Jesus Prayer or another prayer of choice. This is an opportunity to focus on gratitude and God. This is the chance to thank HIM for the abundance, humankind, favorite things, events, and the people he put in your life and even the phone in your pocket you use to text them 😉

It can be simple. Of course it can be much more if the line is really that long. But take the opportunity to really give thanks to another human being and be a brighter part of their day, making your own day a little brighter too.

Gratitude can really change your mindset. And mindset affects your overall health! Do You Need More Ways to Practice Gratitude? Check out the March post on Ten Ways To Practice Gratitude!


So how do you want to spend that year waiting in line? Anxiously or with gratitude? Take the next week and each time you are waiting in line, try one of the ideas listed above. Do you have ideas of your own that could be added here? Come back and let me know what worked or what didn’t.

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  1. Wow! This post really resonated with me. I just went to Disney World, and I wish I had read it before standing in all of those lines. I would have spent my time a little differently. Thank you for sharing!

  2. The power of gratitude is real. I have kept a gratitude journal for nearly five years and I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s changed my life.

    Thank you for sharing

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