When it comes to authentic spiritual growth, one of the most common questions I receive from readers is about prayer. Does it work? Would God actually change the outcome of the next football game just because I want my team to win? In an unimaginably large universe with hundreds of billions of galaxies, and up to a trillion stars in each galaxy, does God actually concern him or herself with whether I want war to end? Or the hungry to be fed on this tiny planet?
One reader said recently she found prayer to be comforting, but she no longer believes in a Creator that lives in a place called heaven; a God that fiddles with reality down here on earth. “So I don’t really know who I’m praying to any more. I can see how people once believed God lived in heaven, but they didn’t have the Hubble telescope. They didn’t know how incredibly big our universe really is. They didn’t live in the modern world, or possess the knowledge we have today.”
I told her she’s not alone. We live in a scientifically literate world and there are many who are wrestling with those same questions. Myself included. I told her I don’t know how to describe the mystery we call God so I couldn’t give her a specific answer to her question; but I told her that I do have a way of thinking about the question that I personally find helpful and that it might be helpful for her too. This is what I shared with her.
Evolutionary science offers us a compelling new creation story; a story about our universe in which the Initiating Consciousness not only created our universe out of nothing, it also poured its Spirit into our universe at the moment of its birth. This Spirit, or creative evolutionary impulse to “become”, is immanent in every aspect of our amazing universe whether we are talking about energy, matter, or life. It is the impulse in each of us that urges us to evolve and “become”; the impulse to create novel new “forms” and ever-greater levels of human consciousness.
When we remove everything our ego uses to define who we are, the only thing left is pure observing consciousness; the same pure observing consciousness of the Initiating Consciousness that created our universe. We not only possess the same pure observing Consciousness, we too have the ability to create novel new “forms” out of nothing; forms that have not yet existed in our universe. For example, the internet, modern science, quantum computers, Hubble telescopes, modern medicine, and portable cell phones.
When I awakened to the reality that the Spirit of Ultimate Mystery is the creative evolutionary impulse to “become”; the evolutionary impulse that has been creating our universe for the last 13.7 billion years; it awakened in me a whole new sense of purpose for my life. I realized that prayer isn’t about asking what the Creator can do for me; prayer is about embracing the evolutionary impulse to “become”, and then becoming all I can be so-as-to offer the universe that which has not yet been created. I pray every day that I have the strength and courage to fully embrace that amazing impulse, but the responsibility is mine; not the creator’s. The creative evolutionary impulse to “become” is waiting to see how I use that impulse and what I choose to create.
The moment I awakened to that profound reality, I recognized that my life is my prayer. My life, and the forms I choose to create using the divine evolutionary impulse to “become” is “my” answer to the Creator’s prayer for me. If the Creator knew what I was going to create, it would already be here. There would have been no need for me to exist. Stated simply the Creator is waiting to see what I co-create using the impulse to “become” and the gifts I was born with.
So my answer to my reader’s question is my whole life is my prayer, and every day is a new prayer; an opportunity to create compassionate new forms and offer them up to the Spirit that is watching our evolving universe unfold. I pray that there are those whose lives are compassionate prayer’s that bring food to the hungry, and war to an end. Our collective lives are our prayer for the future.