For the first time that I can remember I didn’t get stuck at the red light on the corner of Eau Gallie Boulevard and South Patrick.  It was such a remarkable event that as I whizzed through the stopped traffic at 45 miles an hour, I determined to mark the occasion with a blog entry.  My speeding through the light may not seem exceptional, except that we’ve lived here for 45 years, and I’ve loitered at that light for at least two times each day.  The light has been described by my husband as a “pack your lunch light.”  Of course, he means that the wait is so long that you might miss a meal if you don’t have a lunch in the vehicle.  It is, at the minimum, a two-minute light. 

Calculating the time I’ve spent there,  it’s been approximately  four years and four months of thumb twittling, staring at the light, and waiting to be able to move forward.  Being conservative about my estimation, I’ll take off the four months and round it down to a simple four years.  That is the time it takes to go from the end of eighth grade to graduation from high school.  You can easily get a college degree in four years.  Graduate school is only three years.  It only took me six months of stress and grief for my hair to turn gray.  If I got pregnant…no, let me rephrase that.  If you or your wife got pregnant, your baby would be three years old at the end of four years.

While sitting at that light, I once heard a radio preacher speak about using light-sitting times for prayer.  I must tell you that I really did not take this advice as seriously as I could have until I ran the numbers, calculating the time stolen from my life.  In fact, my brain is screaming, “FOUR YEARS!  What were you thinking?”

There is a small book I read many years ago, entitled The Practice of the Presence of God  by Brother Lawrence.  It revolutionized my prayer life and, therefore, me.  Brother Lawrence was a disabled monk who worked in the kitchen in a monastery in Paris.  He learned–and continued to practice his entire life–the simple ability to practice God’s presence.  Even though he shunned public life, his godly reputation grew to a point that the Pope once paid a visit to his kitchen requesting prayer.  By clicking on the link above, you can download a copy of Brother Lawrence’s book for free.  It’s only 20 pages.

Turning the simple acts of life, such as shaving, bathing and sitting at a red light into altars of prayer could be a world-transforming exercise.  I plan to make a list of my members and program prospects privately transforming the driver’s seat of my minivan into a chapel of prayer during the time I wait at this red light.  

What are other ways that you can utilize Brother Lawrence’s discipline of prayer into your life?  What about when you are shaving or wiping off the kitchen cabinets or cleaning the bathroom?  Vaccuming the car and commuting to work?  Moments of idle stillness can be transformed from a curse to a blessing which spreads throughout the world when I take the time and discipline to pray.