Prayer is the most important part of the human experience. It is the most important part of our daily activities. The reason it is the most important part of our experience and our activities is because it is the process by which we create our lives. It should be understood by anyone examining the subject of prayer that everything we think, see, and do is a prayer.
Life is a prayer in the sense that it is a continuous request to the universe and its God to present us with what we choose and desire.
God understands our desires not just through the occasional utterances that we call 'prayers' in the traditional sense, but through every thought we think, every word we speak, and everything we do. Our thoughts, our words, and our actions are our prayers. Most people do not think of life; most people believe they are praying only when involved in that deliberate, peculiar activity we know as prayer.
Thus, many people feel that their prayers either go unanswered or are answered sporadically and only in affirmative. But the truth is, prayer does not begin with kneeling down, or lighting a votive candle, or sitting in meditation, or picking up our prayer beads, or performing some outward or inner ritual.
If we understood that every word, thought, and action was a prayer sent right to God, a request sent right to the Heavens, I believe we would change much of what we think, say, and do. Further, I believe we would better understand why our more formalized prayers seem to be answered only sporadically, if at all. For here is what really happens; in our formalized prayers we seek God's intercession or intervention in our affairs, hoping that God will somehow alter or create something for us. Yet these formal prayers only take a moment or two each day; or for same, each week. The rest of our time – probably 95% to 99% - is spent sending, oftentimes unwittingly, prayers to God that work exactly in the opposite direction of our formal prayers.
So we pray for one thing and we go out and do another. Or we pray for one thing and we go out and think another.
Let me give you a typical example. We may pray for greater abundance in our life, or for help with a financial problem. Those prayers are earnestly offered, earnestly said, and earnestly sent to God during our formal, ritualized time for prayer. Then for the rest of the week we go around harbouring thoughts of insufficiency, saying words of insufficiency, and demonstrating insufficiency in the everyday actions of our lives. So 95 percent of the time we send prayers that affirm we don't have enough and 5% of the time we ask God to bring us enough. It is very difficult for the universe to grant us our wishes when 95% percent of the time we are, in fact, asking for something else.
That is the single most misunderstood aspect of prayer in our human experience. This truth is that the universe is a giant Xerox, sending us, all the time, the answer to our prayers. And we are, in fact, sending prayers to the universe all the time, from morning till night, from birth till death.
Only when we are willing to accept that our words are creative, our thoughts are creative, and our actions are creative, could this be attractive. Many are unwilling to accept this as truth because they are not very proud of the majority of their thoughts, words, and actions and certainly don't want them to be considered as actual requests to God. And yet they are.
The injunction then is to speak, think, and act in a way of which we can be proud – in a way that sends to God our grandest thoughts and produces our highest visions and thus creates Heaven on Earth of all of us.
When we become consciously aware of this, and when we accept this truth with joy, our entire lives change – sometimes virtually overnight and other times more slowly and subtly. When we accept this truth, we suddenly understand that God is our best friend and has given us tools of unlimited power to create the reality we seek to experience.
(Neale Donald Walsch is author of Coversations with God.)