Pointless Prayer?

Pointless Prayer?

This past Sunday I mentioned that one path into prayer might be bird watching. This thought emerged from Jesus’ suggestion to watch ravens and sparrows. “Consider the birds: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!” (Luke 12:24).

I’d like to say I landed on this idea without any help but – as with almost every good idea – it came when someone interrupted my train of thought. The guy’s name was Sam Bush who wrote an essay with this intriguing title: The Greatest Things in Life are Pointless. 

If that doesn’t make you want to read on, I don’t know what will. So I read on.

I imagined various birds winging their way into my backyard. Like the chatty sparrows who cluster at the feeder then swoop in mass to disappear in the pine tree when I arrive. Like the robins queued up for a bath – taking turns – one at a time. Like the goldfinch hanging upside down on a sunflower. Or my favorite, the owl who spins his head to see me and then floats away in silence.

Then, without warning, I’m thinking about God’s watchful eye following the birds. And God watching me. How much more valuable am I than the birds? And I pray, “Wow!”

Sam Bush draws this conclusion: Thus, the greatest things in life are pointless. They will not help you find yourself, but, rather, help you forget about yourself altogether. It is in losing yourself – in the wonder of creation, in riding an endless wave, in the learning and recognition of a bird’s call – where you become a new creation. No calendars, willpower or expertise needed.

Kent Landhuis
Pastor of Teaching & Leadership

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