The goal of prayer is to get to a place of peace; not to get the specific thing we’re asking for. Pray until the worry is gone. Some things you have to pray for days and weeks and months until you get to a place of peace.
If you don’t have a relationship with God, prayer is just empty words. For example, when I became a Baha’i, I thought I couldn’t talk to God except through the Baha’i prayers. I read in Ruhi book 1 that prayer was a conversation but I didn’t feel like I was having a conversation when I was saying my prayers. They were just words going one way: from me to God. I went through the motions of saying the prayers but I wasn’t connecting with them. Then I realized I was approaching Him with a lifeless heart, which He didn’t want me to do.
O friends! . . . approach Me not with lifeless hearts, defiled with worldly desires and cravings. (Baha’u’llah, The Persian Hidden Words 19)
In order to have a conversation, we need to first have a relationship, otherwise it wouldn’t mean anything. If I have a relationship with you, all of a sudden my words mean something. It’s relationships that are important.
When I think about God as my Father and my Friend and my Best Lover, it opens the door to a much richer kind of conversation. Then the Creative Word of God can recreate me.
The greatest miracle of the Manifestation of God is that He changes the hearts of people and creates a new civilization merely through the influence of His word. Every word that He utters is creative and endowed with such potency that all the powers of the world will not be able to resist the world-vivifying forces that are released through it. Like the animating energies of the spring season which are let loose in abundance and penetrate to the core of all living things, the creative Word of the Manifestation of God revolutionizes human society and by its resistless force breaks down man-made barriers of opposition, creating a new race of men and a new civilization. (Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Baha’u’llah v 3, p. 44)
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’)
As I continue to read the Writings, I’m learning to find the prayers that match exactly what I want to say. Most of the ones that resonate the most are not typically found in commercially available prayer books, so I’ve created a database of my favorites which you might enjoy.
Prayers for Protection:
The thing about fear is that we don’t feel safe, so one of the easiest things we can do is to ask God to keep us safe, through prayers such as these:
O Lord! Protect us from what lieth in front of us and behind us, above our heads, on our right, on our left, below our feet and every other side to which we are exposed. Verily, Thy protection over all things is unfailing. (The Bab, Baha’i Prayers, p. 133)
I have risen this morning by Thy grace, O my God, and left my home trusting wholly in Thee, and committing myself to Thy care. Send down, then, upon me, out of the heaven of Thy mercy, a blessing from Thy side, and enable me to return home in safety even as Thou didst enable me to set out under Thy protection with my thoughts fixed steadfastly upon Thee. There is none other God but Thee, the One, the Incomparable, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. (Baha’u’llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha’u’llah, p. 266)
The Prayer of the Signs is a special form of Muslim obligatory prayer that was ordained to be said in times of natural events, like earthquakes, eclipses, and other such phenomena, which may cause fear and are taken to be signs or acts of God. The requirement of performing this prayer has been annulled. In its place a Bahá’í may say the following prayer, but this is not obligatory:
Dominion is God’s, the Lord of the seen and the unseen, the Lord of creation. (Baha’u’llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 172)
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