Watching a lone eagle this afternoon reminded me of how it feels to settle into listening for God's voice to lift me higher. An eagle doesn't just sit on the edge of a branch or a cliff with his wings tucked and wait for the thermal to lift him up. There is a moment of reciprocity when she lifts her wings and steps off into what cannot be seen but is there as surely as the sun that glints off the mica in the granite ledge she's sitting on.
Once there is this instant of connection...opening of wings and stepping forward uniting with the ever present current of air that she catches....there is flight...a choreography that cannot exist without this unity. The thermal cannot be seen without the form of the eagle to give it visiblity and the eagle is motionless without the current that lifts her.
I love this relational aspect of prayer. Yes, God is ever and always speaking, guiding, directing, protecting..and for this I am ever grateful, but there is something so beautiful and sweet and powerful about the "dance" of opening my heart, stepping into the "presence" and listening. This is not a petition, but a celebration of Soul....it is song and dance and poetry....it is the marriage of lyric with melody...it is pure and refreshing and comforting and light.
This kind of prayer isn't asking for anything...why should we need to when our all-powerful Father-Mother God already knows all and loves us...this prayer wants nothing but to be intimate with the divine. This is not the day to day "rushing about madly" and just knowing that God is "in charge"...but it is something quite differnet...this is a sitting quietly in the lap of the Father just to feel His arms around you and His heart beating along with yours, to feel His breath moving the downy hairs on the nape of your neck with such tenderness that you sigh more deeply into His care with each release into contentment.
I never doubt that the thermals of Spirit will be there when I step off the ledge of control or worry that my life sometimes looks and feels like. When thunderheads blacken the horizon and I think I can neither see a divine plan before or behind and it looks as if lifitng my wings will put them right into the path of a lightning bolt...I do it anyway...there is a rush of peace when I feel the current under my heart lifting it above doubt and despair that is not unlike the rush of love I feel when I look into my daughter's face and remember that God trusted me with His precious child...
When it seems as if I'm falling out of grace, I shift in this space of listening and feel yet another current of God's love carrying me out of the descent.
This is what prayer feels like to me. I ride these thermals of prayer in joyful celebration of His unseen ever-presence. It is how I remind myself that what is unseen is often more powerful than what is not.