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Chapter 10: Prayer and Miracles

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle. —Attributed to Albert Einstein

... But only one is the way of joy.

There is much talk today about global prayer, and I would like us to examine what our concept of prayer entails. As children, we are taught to pray by kneeling at our bedside, asking God to bless members of the family, memorizing prayers by rote—words and sentences often meaningless and/or misinterpreted by our little minds. We ask God for things we need or want, or we ask him to heal the sick and dying, or to do whatever is pressing at that time. We usually pray because we feel that we need or want something, or feel that we have lack in our lives. In our religious practices, we often pray out loud in an ancient idiom, thinking that God will hear us better if we pray in a language that was around when Jesus of Nazareth was here—or another religious leader.

We have learned to pray quietly, to pray affirmatively, to pray loudly. We learn to pray as an act or intersession for others. We have learned to pray over things, in things, because of things, and in the midst of things. Most of us have been taught to pray for things. And indeed, even a prayer of supplication or asking is an affirmative statement that we are open and ready to receive. Some of us, under deep emotional stress and fear, have tried to make bargains with God; that if the Creator will allow so-and-so to live or get us out of this situation, we will enter a monastery or give a large donation to some church or whatever, or that we will stop drugging or drinking or beating or stealing or lying or whatever undesirable thing we find ourselves doing. Many of us have some idea that this Creator, this Divine being many of us call God, exists outside of us and goes about doing our bidding only if we are in his good graces.

It is easier for us to think that we are separate from our god of choice, and not an actual part of this creative force. Many think this energy is separate from us. Or we easily forget that it is within us, not apart or separate. That it is around us and in everything and everybody, without exception. By not remembering, we don't have to take responsibility for our own actions and can rely on some One or some Thing outside of us to save us from ourselves.

It is my conviction that from the beginning of time, the Divine has been a part of creation and has never ever left us even when we felt or thought that we had been totally abandoned because of the atrocities that we've committed or the terrible things that have happened to us.

My wise and brilliant editor commented: OK? (He had inserted conviction when I had written belief)

There's presently a lot being written and said about Modernism— meaning a time that began with the Enlightenment in which we became certain that this was all a big machine and that with the right instruments, it was only a matter of time until we discovered down to the last detail how the universe works. Now, with Heisenberg's discovery, we know that that's not so, that as British physicist Sir James Jeans suggests, the universe is looking less like a great machine and more like a great thought. Which, I think, is what you're saying. – But with this realization, that the Modern view was wrong, and having moved into what's being called Postmodernism, people distrust unequivocal statements and those who make them. As confident as you may be, you may be ahead not seeming so certain of ultimate reality. So I'm suggesting that you say, "It's my conviction ..."

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