Sitting on the back deck, on the western side of the house, and the sun is just touching the tips of my neighbor’s trees. The stillness intimates the coming day’s heat. A few moments ago, a small bird sat on a branch just off to my left and sang me a couple of songs as I prayed, his body bouncing up and down with the force of his air. A split-second decision, and he was off. I followed his line of flight, and he stopped abruptly, landing in the neighbor’s tree. I wondered how, at that speed, he’d made up his mind about where to land. And then I realized he didn’t really think, of course…he just did what he was built to do.
Mornings like this make me think prayer is what we are meant to do. To commune with God in ways that are particular to us, and yet centuries old. Words spoken to Him, or no words; thoughts of Him speaking, caring about our petty concerns among the billions of others on the planet. Talking to Him about those who the Spirit brings to mind (the boy with asthma, the man who needs a car to buy, the cast of players whose voices are tired, the full list of those requesting prayers of the church), which are of course, requests, but they are more fully thoughts of care, concern, and hopefulness. With all the conversations about the nature of prayer, this morning it seems simple. To sit with creation and life and a psalm, longing for Him, for a word from Him, for some sense of what it means to be alive and choose branches to land on throughout the day.
The trees rustle a bit, giving me hope that the day’s heat may not be so crushing after all. It’s a full day the Lord hath made: morning conversation about the future, about possibilities and planting seeds, then to church briefly to pick up music for an afternoon rehearsal, then all things La Mancha and tonight’s second preview. Then late night reconnection with my wife and son, and finally to bed with hope of rising tomorrow to meet God again here, reflecting on what happened, and the various satisfactions and disappointments He and I will walk through together. How or why God would offer me any attention during His day with 7 billion people and a million times as many stars in unknown, but I’ll take any participation in His Spirit He’ll allow.
The roses next door, fully open, hope to catch the sun soon. Let the day begin.
Consider Abraham: he believed God…