While walking with my young cousin the other day, we came upon a dead bird. It didn’t look like it had been dead very long. In fact when a breeze gently moved its feathers, it almost looked as if it was going to take wings and fly off.
But while I merely glanced at it and didn’t give it a whole lot of thought, my young cousin stopped and stared at it. At first I thought she was bothered by looking at it because it was dead, so I tried to steer her around it so we could go on our way. I told her it was dead and couldn’t hurt her.
But it wasn’t the appearance of the dead bird that bothered her, it was simply the fact that he was dead that moved her young heart.
She asked if we could pray for it, and remembering my own youthful eulogies for birds and other dead animals my siblings and I buried in our back yard, I was prepared to say a few words in honor of the dearly departed.
But again my young cousin surprised me, and in the process she changed my heart.
“Dear Lord, ” she began, “bless this poor bird who got so dead. Let him have a place in your heaven where he won’t be dead no more. He’s so dead Lord and he needs you. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.”
Not a long prayer, but a heartfelt one nonetheless. And in that short prayer, this young child taught my older heart something of the utmost importance.
We should never be so caught up in our own moments that we dismiss someone else’s needs or dismiss their situation as though it was beyond hope. Regardless of who they are or what they look like to us, our hearts should always be moved to help them, even if all we have to offer is a heartfelt prayer.
If this young child could pray for a dead bird, how much more could we do for those who are yet alive and in need of someone to pray for them. If God hears a child’s prayer for a dead bird does He not hear our prayers for one another? If a young child’s heart can be moved to turn to God on someone else’s behalf, shouldn’t we all have that same attitude?
Prayer not only changes things, it changes people. That bird was still dead when we walked away, her prayer hadn’t changed that, but my heart had come alive by the sincerity of a child’s prayer. And I realized that our prayers aren’t always going to change our situations, but they do change us.
From her lips, to God’s ears, to my heart = A blessing.