In God’s Waiting Room

waiting room
Swirling ideas, wresting thoughts, and mixed-up emotions vie for my attention.

Come, Holy Spirit.

I sit still for what I hope will be a time of prayer. What will emerge?

I trust. I wait. I thank God in advance for what will be.

But my stillness leads to tangents.

I am preoccupied by a decision I need to make, and people are waiting to know my choice.

I’ve been invited to add one more good thing to my already full plate. Is it a really good thing? I want to do it, but is it the best thing at this juncture? Is it the magis?

I bring it before you, Divine Spirit, or as St. Ignatius would call you, Divine Majesty. I smile at the thought of you, and I wait. Like a patient in a doctor’s busy waiting room, I sit in the quiet, knowing the doctor will see me.

Around me are plenty of distractions. The child bouncing on a chair. Magazine headlines on a side table. I shut my eyes and wait for you to call my name. How long must I wait?

Where do I get this confidence that all this waiting will bear fruit? Previous experience.

Here is an example. I began to pray for the grace to do a daily Examen. Why is it so difficult to remember this prayer at the end of every day, or in the middle, or both—to check in with God and review where we have walked together? Maybe my distractions have something to do with it. For many days I’ve asked for this grace, and my success has been spotty.

Then today a present arrived in the mail—two books. I immediately began reading the thin book by Mark Thibodeaux, SJ. I was on page five before it hit me like a two-by-four. The book is called Reimagining the Ignatian Examen. God is answering my prayer using someone who had no idea of the grace I was requesting.


I suddenly remember I am in God’s waiting room. I’ve been called by a smiling intercessor with a clipboard. She opens a door for me. She guides me along the right hallway. Surely goodness and kindness await me, for the Lord is my doctor and there is no reason to fear the outcome.

At last I am placed alone in a quiet private room and invited to take off the layers that will prevent me from receiving the doctor’s examination. The outfit that I hide behind is shed.

It leaves me vulnerable in a paper-thin gown. The cold air distracts me in the silent room as I sit shoeless on a paper-covered table. Holy Spirit, come.

I rest in the silence and I wait for you, O, God. How long must I wait before I hear a knock at the door?

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Loretta Pehanich is a Catholic freelance writer and the author of 2022: A Book of Grace-Filled Days, Women in Conversation: Stand Up!, and Fleeting Moments: Praying When You Are Too Busy. A spiritual director since 2012, Loretta is trained in giving the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Her involvement in ministry and parish life includes 20 years in small faith-sharing groups and Christian Life Community. Loretta gives retreats and presentations on prayer and women’s spirituality and is commissioned as an extraordinary minister of the Eucharist. She and her husband Steve have four children and 10 grandchildren.


  1. God’s Waiting Room. That is where I feel I am ,at this late stage of my life. Although still living alone in my own home. I try to pray constantly, the Jesuits and their writers do a great job supplying so much “food for thought” . Decisions I need to make are very hard to do alone. Holy Spirit come to my aid. Thank you for readings, Retreats and the ability to go back through the Readings , even if they are not at the Season or year I am reading them. A.M.D.G.

  2. Kay,
    I feel the same way. I am distracted with thoughts of work and other worries when I pray. I believe God understands.

  3. Distractions in the waiting room! There are so many! I grow restless as the to-do list gathers steam. Why can’t I focus? What a failure I am.I wonder,will God still see me?

  4. Great analogy – which resounds with me today. Making up my bed in the morning I ‘wished’ just as you did that I would aware of God’s presence and do the Examen through the day 🙂 It’s my morning meditation time .. I am going to the waiting room now .. 🙂
    Thanks for this post.


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