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Prayer

Man can worship and give praise to God through his daily work. But this is not sufficient. He should also consciously communicate with his Creator. Prayer is the food of the soul.

When a man has been starved for some time, he does not feel hunger pangs anymore, though his body cannot stay alive without food. The same is true of his soul. If he does not communicate with God through prayer, he may not feel the necessity of doing so; but his soul will be in need of this nourishment to remain strong and healthy.

In the past, people often prayed because they wanted something or because they were afraid of what might happen if they did not offer homage to a greater Power. Bahá’u’lláh says man should learn to love God and communicate with Him through prayer as a lover who longs to speak with his beloved. The mere repetition of words is, of course, of no value; but when we learn to pray with dedication, we can draw upon the spiritual blessings that flow from the Source of love and mercy.

Prayer in the Bahá’i Faith is not accompanied by any form of ritual. What is important is sincerity of heart and concentration of mind, both of which are often gradually attained only after one has made a regular habit of praying.

In order to teach us how to pray Bahá’u’lláh has written many beautiful prayers which have helped thousands of people, though prayer can also be without words. This is one of Bahá’u’lláh’s prayers:

“Create in me a pure heart, O my God, and renew a tranquil conscience within me, O my Hope! Through the spirit of power confirm thou me in Thy Cause, O my Best-Beloved, and by the light of Thy glory reveal unto me Thy path, O Thou the Goal of my desire! Through the power of Thy transcendent might lift me up unto the heaven of Thy holiness, O Source of my being, and by the breezes of Thine eternity gladden me, O Thou Who are my God! Let Thine everlasting melodies breathe tranquility on me, O my Companian, and let the riches of Thine ancient countenance deliver me from all expert Thee, O my Master, and let the tidings of the revelation of Thine incorruptible Essence bring me joy, O Thou Who art the most manifest of the manifest and the most hidden of the hidden!”

Bahá’u’lláh asks His followers to pray every day. Apart from the many different prayers which can be used on all occasions, Bahá’u’lláh has revealed three obligatory prayers from which a Bahá’i can choose one for his daily use.