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Prayer

‘Abdu’l-Bahá sent a Tablet to an American believer in which He wrote: ‘As to thy question, “Why pray? What is the wisdom thereof, for God has established everything and executes all affairs after the best order and He ordains everything according to a becoming measure and puts things in their places with the greatest propriety and perfection – therefore what is the wisdom in beseeching and supplicating and in stating one’s wants and seeking help?” Know thou, verily, it is becoming of a weak one to supplicate to the strong One and it behoveth 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 is by itself a light to his heart, an illumination to his sight, a life to his soul and an exaltation to his being. ‘Therefore during thy supplications to God and thy reciting, “Thy name is my healing,” consider how thy 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 widened the water increaseth 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.’ One the other hand, the Master also said, ‘God will answer the prayer of every servant if that prayer is urgent.’ (Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 147)


‘Abdu’l-Bahá taught man much about prayer, that act in which people turn to God in need or praise. He said that ‘In the highest prayer, you pray only for the love of God.’ He spoke of the spiritual qualities which are the true basis of prayer: ‘The worshipper must pray with a detached spirit, concentrated attention, in unconditional surrender of the will to God, and spiritual passion.’
The Master stated that ‘At the time of prayer one must hold in one’s mind some object.’ Later He continued, ‘When I pray I turn My thoughts and My face to the Blessed Perfection.’ (Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 146)


As to the reading of prayers or selections from the Sacred Writings of other religions such readings are permissible, and indeed from time to time are included in the devotional programmes of Bahá’í Houses of Worship, demonstrating thereby the universality of our Faith.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 456)


Bahá’ís are generally encouraged to use the Creative Word, including those prayers and Tablets revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, the Báb and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá which are authenticated and published in our Bahá’í literature. A letter dated 8 August 1942, written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to a National Spiritual Assembly, indicates that while spontaneous prayer is permitted, the revealed verses are preferred because “the revealed Word is endowed with a power of its own”. The friends, therefore, must use them in their own supplications with radiant joy. This does not mean, however, that in addition to such prayers, they may not, in private, use their own words whenever they feel the inclination to do so.
(The Universal House of Justice, 2001 Sep 19, Definition and Scope of ‘Devotional Meetings‘)


Bid them recite: “Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding!” Tell them to repeat it five hundred times, nay, a thousand times, by day and by night, sleeping and waking, that haply the Countenance of Glory may be unveiled to their eyes, and tiers of light descend upon them.’ (Bahá’u’lláh, God Passes By, p. 118)


Consider the pettiness of men’s minds. They ask for that which injureth them, and cast away the thing that profiteth them. They are, indeed, of those that are far astray. We find some men desiring liberty, and priding themselves therein. Such men are in the depths of ignorance.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 335)


Each bosom must be a telegraph station-one terminus of the wire attached to the soul, the other fixed in the Supreme Concourse-so that inspiration may descend from the Kingdom of Bahá and questions of reality be discussed. Then opinions will coincide with truth; day by day there will be progression.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 183)


He should not wish for others what he doth not wish for himself.
(Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 50)


He should pray fervently for divine guidance, wisdom and strength to do what is pleasing to God, and to serve Him at all times and to the best of his ability.
(From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, 5 June 1988)


However, the most befitting form of prayer is that of praising God. Through it the channels of grace are opened up and He bestows His powers and blessing upon the individual. Turning to God in prayer for the sole purpose of glorifying His Name and extolling His Attributes is the most natural move that man can make towards his Creator. It is like a plant which turns towards the sun. Although the sun pours out its energies regardless, yet, by its very nature, the tree cannot help but stretch its boughs and branches in the direction of the sun. For it to remain insensible to the life-giving rays of the sun is a sign that it is dead. To use another analogy, we see in nature that a babe cries for food and his mother feeds him. But if he does not hunger for food, he is not healthy even though the mother may feed him by force. This two-way relationship is the basis for growth. Similarly, God bestows His boundless favours and grace upon His creation, but man must by his own volition turn to Him in adoration and praise in order to receive them. If he fails to do this, he becomes deprived and spiritually starved. In The Hidden Words Bahá’u’lláh confirms this when He says: O Son of Being! Love Me, that I may love thee. If thou lovest Me not, My love can in no wise reach thee. Know this, O servant.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 2, p. 232-233)


If you find you need to visualize someone when you pray, think of the Master. Through Him you can address Bahá’u’lláh. Gradually try to think of the qualities of the Manifestation, and in that way a mental form will fade out, for after all the body is not the thing, His Spirit is there and is the essential, everlasting element.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 457)


In Islam a special prayer was ordained to be said in times of natural phenomena which cause fear, such as earthquakes. This has been annulled, and in its place a Bahá’í may say “Dominion is God’s, the Lord of the seen and the unseen, the Lord of creation”.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 58)


In prayer there is a mingling of station, a mingling of condition. Pray for them as they pray for you! When you do not know it, and are in a receptive attitude, they are able to make suggestions to you, if you are in difficulty.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 96)


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.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 236)


In the matter of the distribution and use of prayer beads, in this and other matter of secondary importance he does not wish that any hard and fast rules to be set up. The believers should not be required to use prayer beads nor should they be prevented from doing so, as the Teachings do not contain any specific instructions on the subject.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 462)


In view of these passages, you may wish to focus some of your reading and meditations on the lives and sufferings of the Central Figures of the Faith. Similarly, we are assured by the Guardian that the Tablet of Ahmad, the Healing Prayer and the Fire Tablet each have a special potency, and you will doubtless wish to avail yourself of them, if you are not already doing so. It is interesting to note as well that Shoghi Effendi encouraged the believers to study the Dawn-Breakers, which he described as an “unfailing instrument to allay distress”. In a letter dated 20 July 1933 written on his behalf, he outlined a method by which the individual might approach this task: He wishes you to read it with deepest care and to picture for yourself the wonderful scenes of heroism, of devotion and of self-sacrifice so vividly expressed by Nabil in his immortal narrative.
(The Universal House of Justice, 1985 Dec 02, Child Abuse, Psychology and Knowledge of Self)


It is not sufficient to pray diligently for guidance, but this prayer must be followed by meditation as to the best methods of action and then action itself. Even if the action should not immediately produce results, or perhaps not be entirely correct, that does not make so much difference, because prayers can only be answered through action and if someone’s action is wrong, God can use that method of showing the pathway which is right.
(Shoghi Effendi, Guidelines for Teaching, p. 325).


It is striking how private and personal the most fundamental spiritual exercises of prayer and meditation are in the Faith. Bahá’ís do, of course, have meetings for devotions, as in the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar or at Nineteen Day Feasts, but the daily obligatory prayers are ordained to be said in the privacy of one’s chamber, and meditation on the Teachings is, likewise, a private individual activity, not a form of group therapy. In His talks ‘Abdu’l-Bahá describes prayer as ‘Conversation with God‘, and concerning meditation He says that ‘while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers: the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 540)


Know that nothing will benefit thee in this life save supplication and invocation unto God, service in His vineyard, and, with a heart full of love, be in constant servitude unto Him.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 374)


Man may say: “I can pray to God whenever I wish, when the feelings of my heart are drawn to God; when I am in the wilderness, when I am in the city, or wherever I may be. Why should I go where others are gathered upon a special day, at a certain hour, to unite my prayers with theirs, when I may not be in a frame of mind for praying?” To think in this way is useless imagination, for where many are gathered together their force is greater. Separate soldiers fighting alone and individually have not the force of a united army. If all the soldiers in this spiritual war gather together, then their united spiritual feelings help each other, and their prayers become acceptable.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, from notes taken by Ethel J. Rosenberg)


Many find a difficulty in believing in the efficacy of prayer because they think that answers to prayer would involve arbitrary interference with the laws of nature. An analogy may help to remove this difficulty. If a magnet be held over some iron filings the latter will fly upwards and cling to it, but this involves no interference with the law of gravitation. The force of gravity continues to act on the filings just as before. What has happened is that a superior force has been brought into play—another force whose action is just as regular and calculable as that of gravity. The Bahá’í view is that prayer brings into action higher forces, as yet comparatively little known; but there seems no reason to believe that these forces are more arbitrary in their action than the physical forces. The difference is that they have not yet been fully studied and experimentally investigated, and their action appears mysterious and incalculable because of our ignorance. Another difficulty which some find perplexing is that prayer seems too feeble a force to produce the great results often claimed to it. Analogy may serve to clear up this difficulty also. A small force, when applied to the sluice gate of a reservoir, may release and regulate an enormous flow of water-power, or, when applied to the steering gear of an ocean liner, may control the course of the huge vessel. In the Bahá’í view, the power that brings about answers to prayer is the inexhaustible Power of God. The part of the suppliant is only to exert the feeble force necessary to release the flow or determine the course of the Divine Bounty, which is ever ready to serve those who have learned how to draw upon it.
(JE Esselmont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 96)


Neglect not praying and communing in the gloomy midnights and morn and eve, and offer glory unto thy Lord, the Supreme.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 413)


Nighttime is for sleeping, and daytime is for being happy, working, playing, serving, helping others and remembering our Creator. When the sun rises the world is very beautiful, it is fresh and quiet, only the birds can be heard singing; it is a perfect time to say our prayers. To rise with the sun, to wash our hands and face and say our prayers is something very special. It is much easier to pray first thing in the morning, before we become busy with other things. Sleeping in late is being lazy, and when we wake up, much time has been wasted. Don’t you think it is a beautiful idea to show our respect and love of God by thinking of Him first, before we do anything else? By doing this we prepare ourselves for a long happy and productive day.
(Dr. Furutan, Bahá’í Education for Children, Book 2)


O thou who art turning thy face towards God! Close thine eyes to all things else, and open them to the realm of the All-Glorious. Ask whatsoever thou wishest of Him alone; seek whatsoever thou seekest from Him alone. With a look He granteth a hundred thousand hopes, with a glance He healeth a hundred thousand incurable ills, with a nod He layeth balm on every wound, with a glimpse He freeth the hearts from the shackles of grief. He doeth as He doeth, and what recourse have we? He carrieth out His Will, He ordaineth what He pleaseth. Then better for thee to bow down thy head in submission, and put thy trust in the All-Merciful Lord.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 51)


One day a despondent little Jewish girl, all in black, was brought into the Master’s presence. With tears flowing, she told Him her tale of woes: her brother had been unjustly imprisoned three years before – he had four more years to serve; her parents were constantly depressed; her brother-in-law, who was their support, had just died. She claimed the most she trusted in God the worse matters became. She complained, ‘… my mother reads the Psalms all the time; she doesn’t deserve that God should desert her so. I read the Psalms myself,—the ninety-first Psalm and the twenty-third Psalm every night before I go to bed. I pray too.’
Comforting and advising her, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá replied, ‘To pray is not to read Psalms. To pray is to trust in God, and to be submissive in all things to Him. Be submissive, then things will change for you. Put your family in God’s hands. Love God’s will. Strong ships are not conquered by the sea,—they ride the waves. Now be a strong ship, not a battered one.’ (Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 132)


Prayer and meditation are very important factors in deepening the spiritual life of the individual, but with them must go also action and example, as these are the tangible result of the former. Both are essential.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 456)


Prayer and meditation are very important factors in deepening the spiritual life of the individual, but with them must go also action and example, as these are the tangible result of the former. Both are essential.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 455)


Prayers and supplications should be offered at the sacred Threshold, so that thou mayest remain firm in tests, and patient in ordeals.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Art of Living, p. 85)


Prefer not your will to Mine, never desire that which I have not desired for you, and approach Me not with lifeless hearts, defiled with worldly desires and cravings.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Persian Hidden Words 19)


Recite ye the verses of God every morn and eventide. Whoso faileth to recite them hath not been faithful to the Covenant of God and His Testament, and whoso turneth away from these holy verses in this Day is of those who throughout eternity have turned away from God. Fear ye God, O My servants, one and all.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, p. 73)


Regarding your question as to the changing of pronouns in Bahá’í prayers: The Guardian does not approve of such changes, either in the specific prayers on in any others. They should be read as printed without changing a single word.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 458)


Should a person recite but a single verse from the Holy Writings in a spirit of joy and radiance, this would be better for him than reciting wearily all the Scriptures of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Recite ye the verses of God in such measure that ye be not overtaken with fatigue or boredom. Burden not your souls so as to cause exhaustion and weigh them down, but rather endeavour to lighten them, that they may soar on the wings of revealed Verses unto the dawning-place of His signs. This is conducive to nearer access unto God, were ye to comprehend.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 225)


Someone present asked how it was that in prayer and meditation the heart often turns with instinctive appeal to some friend who has passed into the next life. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá answered: “It is a law of God’s creation that the weak should lean upon the strong. Those to whom you turn may be the mediators of God’s power to you, even as when on earth. But it is the One Holy Spirit that strengthens all men.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 96)


Supplication to God at morn and eve is conducive to the joy of hearts, and prayer causes spirituality and fragrance. Thou shouldst necessarily continue therein.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 185)


The Guardian feels that it would be better for either the mothers of Bahá’í children—or some Committee your Assembly might delegate the task to—to choose excerpts from the Sacred Words to be used by the child rather than just something made up. Of course prayer can be purely spontaneous, but many of the sentences and thoughts combined in Bahá’í writings of a devotional nature are easy to grasp, and the revealed Word is endowed with a power of its own.
(Shoghi Effendi, Bahá’í Education: A Compilation, p. 68)


The Tablet of Ashraf contains a significant statement concerning the power of prayer when freed from desire. He declares that the outpouring of grace in this day is so great, that should an individual raise his hands in supplication to God and ask for the treasures of earth and heaven, his wish will be granted even before he lowers his hands, provided that he is freed from attachment to all created things. Indeed, the key for attaining this glory lies in the word ‘detachment‘.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 2, p. 232)


The believers, particularly the young ones, should therefore fully realize the necessity of praying. For prayer is absolutely indispensable to their inner spiritual development, and this, already stated, is the very foundation and purpose of the Religion of God.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol. II, p. 238)


The most acceptable prayer is the one offered with the utmost spirituality and radiance; its prolongation hath not been and is not beloved of God. The more detached and purer the prayer, the more acceptable it is in the presence of God.
(The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, p.77-78)


The power which can be generated in the heart of the believer, when he is freed from all desire and turns to God with songs of praise and glorification, is beyond the comprehension of man. Suffice it to say that many heroes of the Faith have derived their courage and steadfastness from this source.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 2, p. 232)


The prayers which Bahá’u’lláh has ordained as a daily obligation for Bahá’ís are to be said privately. Only in the case of the Prayer for the Dead has Bahá’u’lláh commanded congregational prayer, and the only requirement is that the believer who reads it aloud, and all others present, should stand. This differs from the Islamic practice of congregational prayer in which the believers stand in rows behind an imam, who leads the prayer, which is prohibited in the Bahá’í Faith. These ordinances, which are in accordance with Bahá’u’lláh’s abolition of professional clergy, do not mean that He attached no value to meetings for worship. Regarding the value of gathering for prayer, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spoke as follows: Man may say: “I can pray to God whenever I wish, when the feelings of my heart are drawn to God; when I am in the wilderness, when I am in the city, or wherever I may be. Why should I go where others are gathered upon a special day, at a certain hour, to unite my prayers with theirs, when I may not be in a frame of mind for praying?” To think in this way is useless imagination, for where many are gathered together their force is greater. Separate soldier fighting alone and individually have not the force of a united army. If all the soldier in this spiritual war gather together, then their united spiritual feelings help each other, and their prayers become acceptable.
(Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 93)


The purest form of prayer is one which is freed from desire. Such a prayer will cause the bounties of God to descend upon the soul. Nevertheless, human beings have many needs in this life and when in difficulty, pain or grief, they turn to God for assistance. The Báb and Bahá’u’lláh have both revealed special prayers for various occasions to be said when one is in need. If a man must have a desire—and it is quite natural for him to do so—his prayer should be that in the end he may attain the good-pleasure of his Lord. For any other desire, even service to the Cause, meritorious though it is, will not necessarily result in his salvation.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 2, p. 232)


The reason why privacy hath been enjoined in moments of devotion is this, that thou mayest give thy best attention to the remembrance of God, that thy heart may at all times be animated with His Spirit, and not be shut out as by a veil from thy Best Beloved. Let not thy tongue pay lip service in praise of God while thy heart be not attuned to the exalted summit of Glory, and the Focal Point of communion. Thus if haply thou dost live in the Day of Resurrection, the mirror of thy heart will be set towards Him Who is the Day-Star of Truth; and no sooner will His light shine forth than the splendour thereof shall forthwith be reflected in thy heart. For He is the Source of all goodness, and unto Him revert all things. But if He appeareth while thou hast turned unto thyself in meditation, this shall not profit thee, unless thou shalt mention His Name by words He hath revealed.
(The Báb, Selections from the Writings of the Báb, pp. 93-94)


The true worshipper, while praying, should endeavour not so much to ask God to fulfil his wishes and desires, but rather to adjust these and make them conform to the Divine Will. Only through such an attitude can one derive that feeling of inner peace and contentment which the power of prayer alone can confer.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 239)


The wealth of the other world is nearness to God. Consequently, it is certain that those who are near the Divine Court are allowed to intercede, and this intercession is approved by God. But intercession in the other world is not like intercession in this world. It is another thing, another reality, which cannot be expressed in words.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, p. 231)


The wisdom of prayer is this: That it causeth a connection between the servant and the True One, because in that state man with all heart and soul turneth his face towards His Highness the Almighty, seeking His association and desiring His love and compassion. The greatest happiness for a lover is to converse with his beloved, and the greatest gift for a seeker is to become familiar with the object of his longing; that is why with every soul who is attracted to the Kingdom of God, his greatest hope is to find an opportunity to entreat and supplicate before his Beloved, appeal for His mercy and grace and be immersed in the ocean of His utterance, goodness and generosity.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahái, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 368)


They must, when coming together, turn their faces to the Kingdom on high and ask aid from the Realm of Glory.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 87-88)


This is worship: to serve mankind and to minister to the needs of the people. Service is prayer. A physician ministering to the sick, gently, tenderly, free from prejudice and believing in the solidarity of the human race, he is giving praise.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, )


Thou hast asked about material means and prayer. Prayer is like the spirit and material means are like the human hand. The spirit operateth through the instrumentality of the hand. Although the one true God is the All-Provider, it is the earth which is the means to supply sustenance. “The heaven hath sustenance for you” but when sustenance is decreed it becometh available, whatever the means may be. When man refuseth to use material means, he is like a thirsty one who seeketh to quench his thirst through means other than water or other liquids. The Almighty Lord is the provider of water, and its maker, and hath decreed that it be used to quench man’s thirst, but its use is dependent upon His Will. If it should not be in conformity with His Will, man is afflicted with a thirst which the oceans cannot quench.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, translated from Persian Tablet, Compilation of Compilations, vol II, p. 23)


Thy letter was understood. Thou hast asked, very humbly, for certain things and all were worthy to be coveted. Thou desirest forgiveness of sins; didst ask for great unity and peace; sought nearness to the Threshold of God; hoped to be detached from thine own will, seeking the will of God; prayed for rescue from self-love (or selfishness); hoped for progress in the station of knowledge; desired to serve God; and prayed that thy honorable husband and thy children may be set aglow with the fire of the love of God and may manifest light on their brows through the radiance of the knowledge of God. All these wishes are well worthy of asking. Especially the rescue from self-love. This is a strange trait and the means of the destruction of many important souls in the world.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v1, p. 135-136)


We cannot know God directly, but only through His Prophets. We can pray to Him, realizing that through His Prophets we know Him, or we can address our prayer in thought to Bahá’u’lláh, not as God but as the Door to our knowing God.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 504)


We must not be rigid about praying; there is not a set of rules governing it; the main thing is we must start out with the right concept of God, the Manifestation, the Master, the Guardian—we can turn, in thought, to any one of them when we pray. For instance you can ask Bahá’u’lláh for some thing, or, thinking of Him, ask God for it. The same is true of the Master or the Guardian. You can turn in thought to either of them and then ask their intercession, or pray direct to God. As long as you don’t confuse their stations, and make them all equal, it does not matter much how you orient your thoughts.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 456)


We pray to God, or to Bahá’u’lláh, as we please. But if in our thoughts we desire to turn to the Guardian first and then address our prayer, there is no objection, as long as we always bear in mind he is only the Guardian, and do not confuse his station with that of the Prophet or even the Master.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 457)


We should speak in the language of heaven-in the language of the spirit-for there is a language of the spirit and the heart. It is as different from our language as our own language is different from that of the animals…It is the language of the spirit which speaks to God.When in prayer, we are freed from all outward things and turn to God, then it is as if in our hearts we hear the voice of God. Without words we speak, we communicate, we converse with God and hear the answer…All of us, when we attain to a truly spiritual condition, can hear the Voice of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 88)


What every believer, new or old, should realize is that the Cause has the spiritual power to re-create us if we make the effort to let that power influence us, and the greatest help in this respect is prayer. We must supplicate Bahá’u’lláh to assist us to overcome the failings in our own characters, and also exert our own will power in mastering ourselves. However, unfortunately, not everyone achieves easily and rapidly the victory over self.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 113)


When I am sad, I always pray.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 73-74)


While praying it would be better to turn one’s thoughts to the Manifestation as He continues, in the other world, to be our means of contact with the Almighty. We can, however, pray directly to God Himself.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 457)


While praying it would be better to turn one’s thoughts to the Manifestation as He continues, in the other world, to be our means of contact with the Almighty. We can, however, pray directly to God Himself.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 456)


You have asked whether it is permissible for the friends to chant a prayer collectively. There is a difference between chanting a prayer collectively and congregational prayer. The latter is a formal prayer usually led by an individual using a prescribed ritual. Congregational prayer in this form is forbidden in the Faith except in the case of the Prayer for the Dead. While reciting prayers in unison and spontaneously joining in the recitation of the Words of God is not forbidden, the friends should bear in mind the advice of the beloved Guardian on this subject when he stated that: although the friends are thus left free to follow their own inclination, ... they should take the utmost care that any manner they practice should not acquire too rigid a character, and thus develop into an institution. This is a point which the friends should always bear in mind, lest they deviate from the clear path indicated in the Teachings.
(Shoghi Effendi, The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, p. 12-13)


You have asked whether our prayers go beyond Bahá’u’lláh: It all depends whether we pray to Him directly and through Him to God. We may do both and also can pray directly to God, but our prayers would certainly be more effective and illuminating if they are addressed to Him through His Manifestation, Bahá’u’lláh. Under no circumstances, however, we can, while repeating the prayers, insert the name Bahá’u’lláh where the word ‘God’ is used. This would be tantamount to a blasphemy.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 457)


You have asked whether our prayers go beyond Bahá’u’lláh: It all depends whether we pray to Him directly and through Him to God. We may do both and also can pray directly to God, but our prayers would certainly be more effective and illuminating if they are addressed to Him through His Manifestation, Bahá’u’lláh. Under no circumstances, however, we can, while repeating the prayers, insert the name Bahá’u’lláh where the word ‘God’ is used. This would be tantamount to a blasphemy.
(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 457)


You must offer supplications unto the Kingdom of Bahá and seek eternal bounties from Him. You must pray that your hearts may become filled with glorious lights, even as a purified mirror; then will the lights of the Sun of Truth shine therein. You must supplicate and pray to God every night and every day, seeking His assistance and help, saying: O Lord! We are weak; strengthen us. O God! We are ignorant; make us knowing. O Lord! We are poor; make us wealthy. O God! We are dead; quicken us. O Lord! We are humiliation itself; glorify us in Thy Kingdom. If Thou dost assist us, O Lord, we shall become as scintillating stars. If Thou dost not assist us, we shall become lower than the earth. O Lord! Strengthen us. O God! Confer victory upon us. O God! Enable us to conquer self and overcome desire. O Lord! Deliver us from the bondage of the material world. O Lord! Quicken us through the breath of the Holy Spirit in order that we may arise to serve Thee, engage in worshiping Thee and exert ourselves in Thy Kingdom with the utmost sincerity. O Lord, Thou art powerful. O God, Thou art forgiving. O Lord, Thou art compassionate.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 457)