Evolutionary Prayer


Hope = the other buds will bloom.

After much reading and reflection, I have come to the point where I can no longer pray to a tribal god, sometimes warlike, who is up there and out there, ready to rush in a rescue me from the powers and principalities, any evil which may befall me. William Cleary best describes the God I have found—an evolutionary God:

But Evolutionary Faith reminds us that “divine inspiring energy does not emanate from some external heavenly realm, but from within the depths of the creative process itself. The creative energy is an unambiguously inspirited and inspiring life-force.” In other words, we find the spirit of God everywhere and can speak to it and pray to it there-if we have situated ourselves firmly within the evolutionary story and realize the presence everywhere of a God alive and available. If evolution happened and is happening, then God-the spirit mother of life, the spirit father of creation, the Loving Mystery behind and within everything-is at work in it, around us, near us, within us. (William Cleary, Prayers to an Evolutionary God, location 267)

Our prayer then becomes the very human task of trying to connect with, be at one with the God who is present everywhere as creation unfolds. God is at work as creation groans toward completion. This incarnate, evolutionary God, is also up there, out in front calling us to become more than what we are, to become who we are, to be our face before we were born. Prayer changes because all is blessing. In Merton’s words, paradise surrounds us but we do not know it. God is at work in creation bringing all things to completion in obscure silence; therefore, resting in silence as God creates is our prayer, our connection to the divine. Prayer is contemplation, letting go, being present to what is going on in the here and now and knowing the “all shall be well” (Julian of Norwich). Like Mother Teresa, Daniel Berrigan in Isaiah reminds us that our prayer is not about instant gratification and results, like something that works. Prayer is about faithfulness, not results. We do not know when and if it works. It is based on hope of things unseen and unheard in the eyes and ears of our hearts. We roll the dice and opt to believe in and trust the God who is at work all around us bending the universe toward justice (Martin Luther King)—long, hard, ongoing work, to say the least.

Hence, a prayer as the world groans today:

Flow through us living Spirit of God, the breath of the Creator, the Spirit of the Risen, Cosmic Christ who danced in the abyss before creation flared forth. You are the cosmic DNA giving life and breath to all. You are the breath within the breath gently bending us and all of creation toward mercy, justice and compassion as you temper the cosmos toward Hagia Sophia—the feminine (Mother Goddess), mercy incarnate, holy Wisdom. You are the “hidden wholeness” and “invisible fecundity” (Merton) surrounding us.

Tribal warrior gods have molded us toward macho, muscle and perpetual warfare. Such gods promise to rescue us from our foes while they let us sink us in our own blood mire. Security begetting fear is their tool of the trade. Be great again! Flex the warlike muscle, keep the finger on the red button. Preserve white male patriarchy at all costs–even if it means vaporizing nuclear death.

Come, Spirit of the Living Christ, incarnate and enmeshed in matter-spirit making all things new. Fill us with Gospel courage. Teach us to co-create by dwelling in your silence and by bearing witness to your justice. Give us a faint glimmer of biblical hope. Empower us to live in mercy, compassion, wisdom and trust amid the “blessings” and horrors of empire run amuck. Bestow on us the gift of true Wisdom. Give us the resolve to finally beat our swords into plow shares.


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