Are You a Frequent Flyer?
By Pastor George Van Alstine

In 1979, Texas International Airlines tried a new way to carve out a slice of the very competitive air travel market by offering frequent flyer miles as an incentive. Two years later, American Airlines adopted the program, and in no time, all the major airlines got on board, each arguing that their plan was the best. Since then, the frequent flyer industry has become huge, so that by 2005, 14 trillion frequent flyer miles had been accumulated, with an estimated value of 700 billion dollars. People buy and sell frequent flyer miles through brokers, and there are even ways they can be donated to charities for tax write-offs.

There is considerable debate about the actual value of frequent flyer miles. The industry publicly expresses the dollar equivalency as 2 cents a mile, but this depends on a lot of factors. Poor selection of redeemed flights can reduce the value to under 1 cent a mile, while some people who have studied how to work the system claim they can redeem accumulated points at 5 or 6 cents a mile. Either way, it’s a nice little bonus for the traveler, as well as increased traffic for the airline.

So much for the economy lesson.

Have you ever noticed that prayer is like flying? You turn your mind from the physical things around you and take off into another realm. Pretty soon the things that have been bothering you seem small and far away; they don’t seem quite as important from the prayer altitude. Before you know it, prayer has taken you over a lot of obstacles and problems and has landed you in a better place.

I wonder if there is such a thing as frequent flyer miles in prayer! It does seem that the more you pray, the more you want to pray. It’s almost like having prepaid prayer miles that you’re motivated to redeem. Once you get the feel for flying, you can’t wait to get in the air again.

Of course, not all frequent flyer miles are redeemed. The airline industry estimates that about one-third of earned miles expire before they are used. That represents a lot of unclaimed flying experiences. I wonder if the same is true of prayer. You may be really helped by an uplifting experience of prayer. You say “Amen,” look at the frequent flyer coupons in your hand (visible only with your spiritual eyes), and say to yourself, “I’ve just got to fly again soon.” And then you go about your business, forgetting about your prayer-high. You’ve been grounded by your own indifference and neglect.

By contrast, the person who redeems every possible opportunity to lift off into the prayer realm becomes a true frequent flyer. Nothing on the ground ever seems to look the same to a person like that, for they view everything from prayer-cruising altitude.