Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Taking In The Scenery

Free-flight (that is, without an engine) is dependent on a number of things to make it possible - suitable air being chief among those things. Indeed, powered flight is affected by the same phenomena, but due to advances in powered-flight, their effects are less apparent. One of the great joys of gliding is that it demands a new sense, and that is to have a sense of the activities and behaviours of an invisible force - the air.

All glider-pilots want all air to go upwards. Why? Because it is the very thing that we need for our flight to go as we had planned, and is the means by which that flight is made longer and therefore more fulfilling. Upwards is what we want. Prayerful people also feel the same about the action of another very invisible force - the Spirit. We quite naturally want every prayerful encounter to be satisfying, as long as we choose it to be, and in every sense the answer to the prayer that we make.

Pilots of non-powered aircraft will know only too well that not all air goes up. It rotates, smashes against solid surfaces like breakers against rocks on our coast-lines. It whirls and swirls, and yes, it even goes upwards at times (as often as it goes downwards). Glider pilots cope with this by recognising how air reacts in given places. Behind a hill, air rotates turbulently - not for good flying. Above flat dry areas drenched in sunlight, the air invariable rises in thermals - wonderful flying. If the air hits a slope it rises like water would, and it is possible to surf that air like so many folks on a Cornish beach! Little techniques bring such considerable yield.

The same must be true for prayerful people. Little techniques work, are time tested. Taking in the scenery is perhaps the most valuable pre-requisite for a healthy flight, or a worthwhile moment of prayer or reflection. To do either blindly, without some 'flight-plan' would render the moment to luck and often to failure. As a pilot should, so should prayerful Christians stop and enjoy the view. After all, like any wind the Spirit can only be discerned in its effects on other things. Of course, if we are only ever passengers, then we can do all of the this with eyes closed - but where is the joy in that?

1 comment:

  1. I think of the scriptural texts pertaining to prayer, and how God inhabits the praises of His people. I can think of few better ways to praise Him than to consider His magnificence as showns in all of creation. The idea of gliding there is delightful!