Prayer

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Encouragement toward memorizing prayers

Excellent to memorize prayers

"There is no objection to the friends memorizing prayers; on the contrary it is excellent for them to do so."

(From a letter dated 6 September 1946 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; in Importance of Deepening Our Knowledge and Understanding of the Faith, no. 144)

Commit to memory certain of their Faith's prayers (and exhortations)

"Those who participate in such a campaign, whether in an organizing capacity, or as workers to whose care the execution of the task itself has been committed, must, as an essential preliminary to the discharge of their duties, thoroughly familiarize themselves with the various aspects of the history and teachings of their Faith. In their efforts to achieve this purpose they must study for themselves, conscientiously and painstakingly, the literature of their Faith, delve into its teachings, assimilate its laws and principles, ponder its admonitions, tenets and purposes, commit to memory certain of its exhortations and prayers, master the essentials of its administration, and keep abreast of its current affairs and latest developments."

(Shoghi Effendi, Advent of Divine Justice, p. adj:49

Memorizing some of Bahá'u'lláh's prayers (and writings) helpful toward future studies and deepening and enriching spiritual life

"The Guardian was truly pleased to note that you have already started reading some Bahá'í books, and would specially advise you to endeavour to commit to memory certain passages from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, and in particular, some of His prayers. This training would undoubtedly be of tremendous help to you in your future studies of the Cause, and would also serve to considerably deepen and enrich your own spiritual life at present."

(From a letter dated 10 April 1939 written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer; in Importance of Deepening Our Knowledge and Understanding of the Faith, no. 130)

See also

How to Recite Prayers (Technical)

Reciting should be not too loud or too quiet (moderate voice)

"Pronounce not thy prayer aloud, neither pronounce it with too low a voice, but follow a middle way between these:"

(Qur'án 17:110, Sale's translation)

"And be not loud in thy prayer, neither pronounce it too low; but between these follow a middle way:"

(Qur'án., Rodwell's translation)

"Neither speak thy Prayer aloud, nor speak it in a low tone, but seek a middle course between."

(Qur'án Yusuf Alí's translation)

(though see Priceless Pearl for how Shoghi Effendi read enthusiastically and loud as a child, about which 'Abdu'l-Bahá lovingly responded to let him be????)

A loud voice in prayer is not necessary for God

"If thou pronounce thy prayers with a loud voice, know that it is not necessary in respect to God; for he knoweth that which is secret, and what is yet more hidden."

(Qur'án 20:6)

(though see Abdu'l-Bahá's argument below on why though God knows the secret of hearts, it is still necessary for one's benefit to express it (to some degree))

Articulating prayers in words is not necessary but it is also natural to want to speak out and commemorate God (at least in thought and action and with love)

"Another correspondent asked: "Why pray? What is the wisdom thereof, for God has established everything and executes all affairs after the best order -- therefore, what is the wisdom in beseeching and supplicating and in stating one's wants and seeking help?"

"`Abdu'l-Bahá replied: --

"Know thou, verily it is becoming in a weak one to supplicate to the Strong One, and it behooveth a seeker of bounty to beseech the Glorious Bountiful One. When one supplicates to his Lord, turns to Him and seeks bounty from His Ocean, this supplication brings light to his heart, illumination to his sight, life to his soul and exaltation to his being.
"During thy supplications to God and thy reciting, "Thy Name is my healing," consider how thine heart is cheered, thy soul delighted by the spirit of the love of God, and thy mind attracted to the Kingdom of God! By these attractions one's ability and capacity increase. When the vessel is enlarged the water increases, and when the thirst grows the bounty of the cloud becomes agreeable to the taste of man. This is the mystery of supplication and the wisdom of stating one's wants.
"(from a tablet to an American believer, translated by `Alí Kúlí Khán, October 1908).
(Esslemont quoting 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era, pp. 92-93)

"To someone who asked whether prayer was necessary, since presumably God knows the wishes of all hearts, `Abdu'l-Bahá replied: --

"If one friend loves another, is it not natural that he should wish to say so? Though he knows that that friend is aware of his love, does he still not wish to tell him of it? ... It is true that God knows the wishes of all hearts; but the impulse to pray is a natural one, springing from man's love to God.
"... Prayer need not be in words, but rather in thought and action. But if this love and this desire are lacking, it is useless to try to force them. Words without love mean nothing. If a person talks to you as an unpleasant duty, finding neither love nor enjoyment in the meeting, do you wish to converse with him?
"(article in Fortnightly Review, Jul.-Dec. 1911, p. 784 by Miss E. S. Stevens).

"In another talk He said: --

"In the highest prayer, men pray only for the love of God, not because they fear Him or hell, or hope for bounty or heaven. ... When a man falls in love with a human being, it is impossible for him to keep from mentioning the name of his beloved. How much more difficult is it to keep from mentioning the Name of God when one has come to love Him. ... The spiritual man finds no delight in anything save in commemoration of God."
"(from notes of Miss Alma Robertson and other pilgrims, November and December 1900)."
(Esslemont quoting notes of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era, pp. 94-95)

Todos for this section

Much better for the friends to give up saying purely Christian custom of saying "Amen"

"Regarding your question it is much better for the friends to give up saying "Amen" as it is a purely Christian custom and associated with the church. He assures you the work you accomplished in New Zealand is highly meritorious."

(On behalf of Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Antipodes, p. 419)

(Even) the Obligatory Prayers may be said silently

"The daily prayers are to be said each one for himself, aloud or silent makes no difference."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, January 31, 1949: Baha'i News, No. 220, June 1949, pp. 2-3; quoted in Lights of Guidance, no. 1502, p. 460)

How to Recite Prayers (Manner)

When to recite prayers

Spontaneous vs. revealed prayers

Regarding relationship to others

Accompaniment with dance

See also

Todos for this page

  • Incorporate from BNE, p. 88
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