How I Saw the Promise of the Human Spirit in Prayer

I have studied the Baha’i teachings for seven years now, trying to live a spiritual life every day, and something remarkable has happened to me – my awareness and insight gradually strengthened. 

Little by little, I began to see the Creator answering my prayers and confirmations happening in my daily life. 

Over the past few years, I’ve discovered that the Baha’i prayers revealed by Baha’u’llah not only instruct us how to pray in the most effective way, but also tell us what kind of heart we should cultivate to receive answers to those prayers under all kinds of different circumstances. When I make an effort to adjust both my mind and my heart as the prayers ask me, I start to see things happening in myself which lead to change, enhancing the strength I need in life. 

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From this experience I’ve learned that alignment of our hearts to prayer really works, richly rewarding the effort we make when we pray.

When I began to study the Baha’i writings and the Baha’i prayers, I only sought to understand the words. I soon learned, though, that the easiest way to receive guidance and understand God’s words is in the act of service to others, because it is particularly acceptable to God when we want to manifest the truth through action. Selfless actions attract spiritual bounties, so when we serve humanity we will be guided. In the Baha’i teachings, this is the promise of God. Abdu’l-Baha, in his book The Secret of Divine Civilization, wrote

Senses and faculties have been bestowed upon us, to be devoted to the service of the general good; so that we, distinguished above all other forms of life for perceptiveness and reason, should labor at all times and along all lines, whether the occasion be great or small, ordinary or extraordinary, until all mankind are safely gathered into the impregnable stronghold of knowledge.

I wanted to experience God answering my prayers, so I started by just reading the prayer, and trying to practice what it conveyed according to my own understanding. When my heart adjusted to the direction suggested by the prayer, I began to experience the promises of love and guidance contained in it. In my prayers I asked for spiritual qualities, and when I adjusted my heart to the state of prayer, I saw its fulfillment.

Prayer does not mean that we do nothing except sit and pray – but that we must try our best to adjust our hearts to what the prayer guides us toward. Why do we need actions and effort after prayer? Because practical actions can help us see the degree to which our heart has been adjusted and the effect of that degree. For example, the different degrees of willingness show in the effort we put into our actions, and the result is different. Therefore, prayer must be accompanied by action, and we also see God’s promise in the completion of our action. 

If you want to know more, and gain insight to see more of the promise of the Baha’i prayers, the answer is readily available to everyone, as Baha’u’llah wrote in The Hidden Words:

O Son of My Handmaid! Quaff from the tongue of the merciful the stream of divine mystery, and behold from the dayspring of divine utterance the unveiled splendor of the daystar of wisdom. Sow the seeds of My divine wisdom in the pure soil of the heart, and water them with the waters of certitude, that the hyacinths of knowledge and wisdom may spring up fresh and green from the holy city of the heart.

RELATED: Having a Conversation with the Creator

Baha’u’llah also revealed this beautiful, mystical prayer that I love, which encourages everyone to hearken to the voice of the Creator and thereby detach from this material world, transcend our mere physical existence, and hearken to the spiritual teachings of his new Faith:

The mystic and wondrous Bride, hidden ere this beneath the veiling of utterance, hath now, by the grace of God and His divine favor, been made manifest even as the resplendent light shed by the beauty of the Beloved. I bear witness, O friends! that the favor is complete, the argument fulfilled, the proof manifest and the evidence established. Let it now be seen what your endeavors in the path of detachment will reveal. In this wise hath the divine favor been fully vouchsafed unto you and unto them that are in heaven and on earth. All praise to God, the Lord of all Worlds.

I hope your journey of prayer and meditation allows you to access the great gifts I have received from mine.

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