Prayer as birdwatching

Sometimes it means a long day sitting in the rain with nothing very much happening.

Am still enjoying Rowan Williams on discipleship. In fact I’ve not got much further than the first chapter. Which is all about discipleship as just hanging around in God’s presence, much like students in the past, or indeed disciples, used to share not just lectures but their whole lives with their teachers.


‘I’ve always loved that image of prayer as birdwatching. You sit very still because something is liable to burst into view, and sometimes of course it means a long day sitting in the rain with nothing very much happening. I suspect that, for most of us, a lot of our experience of prayer is precisely that. But the odd occasions when you do see (p5) what T. S. Eliot (in section IV of “Burnt Norton”) called “the kingfisher’s wing” flashing “light to light” make it all worthwhile … this sort of expectancy … is basic to discipleship.’

Rowan Williams Being Disciples, pp 4-5

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2 thoughts on “Prayer as birdwatching”

  1. This post puts me in mind of R.S Thomas’s poem ‘Sea Watching’. Joyously discovered his poems after a chance visit several years ago to St Hywn’s Church, Aberdaron on the beautiful Llyn Peninsula where he was vicar for several years.

  2. Interesting. I’m just reading Richard Harries’ book ‘Haunted by Christ’ (about modern writers) which has a chapter on R S Thomas, which made me think, I probably ought to read him.

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