DO BAHÁ'ÍS have a praying schedule?

BAHÁ'Í INSPIRED

The quotes

"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)

"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)

"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)

"...Every day, in the morning when arising one should compare today with yesterday and see in what condition you are. If you see your belief is stronger and your heart more occupied with God and your love increased and your freedom from the world greater then thank God and ask for the increase of these qualities. You must begin to pray and repent for all that you have done which is wrong and you must implore and ask for help and assistance that you may become better than yesterday so that you may continue to make progress."

('Abdu'l-Bahá: Star of the West, Vol. VIII, No. 6, p. 68)

"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)

"Blessed is he who, at the hour of dawn, centring his thoughts on God, occupied with His remembrance, and supplicating His forgiveness, directeth his steps to the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar and, entering therein, seateth himself in silence to listen to the verses of God, the Sovereign, the Mighty, the All-Praised...."

(Bahá'u'lláh: The Kitab-i-Aqdas, K 115, p. 61)

"One well-known story involves teaching Mountfort Mills how to pray: when Abdu’l Bahá was in New York, He called to Him an ardent Bahá’í and said, “If you will come to me at dawn tomorrow, I will teach you to pray.” Delighted, Mr. M arose at four and crossed the city, arriving for his lesson at six. With what exultant expectation he must‘ve greeted this opportunity! He found Abdu’l Bahá already at prayer, kneeling by the side of the bed. Mr. M followed suit, taking care to place himself directly across. Seeing that Abdu’l Bahá was quite lost in His own reverie, Mr. M began to pray silently for his friends, his family and finally for the crowned heads of Europe. No word was uttered by the quiet man before him. He went over all the prayers he knew then, and repeated them twice, three times – still no sound broke the expectant hush. Mr. M surreptitiously rubbed one knee and wondered vaguely about his back. He began again, hearing as he did so, the birds heralding the Dawn outside the window. An hour passed, and finally two. Mr. M was quite numb now. His eyes, roving along the wall, caught sight of a large crack. He dallied with a touch of indignation but let his gaze pass again to the still figure across the bed. The ecstasy that he saw arrested him and he drank deeply of the sight. Suddenly he wanted to pray like that. Selfish desires were forgotten. Sorrow, conflict, and even his immediate surroundings were as if they had never been. He was conscious of only one thing, a passionate desire to draw near to God. Closing his eyes again he set the world firmly aside, and amazingly his heart teemed with prayer, eager, joyous, tumultuous prayer. He felt cleansed by humility and lifted by a new peace. Abdu’l Bahá had taught him to pray! The Master of Akka immediately arose and came to him. His eyes rested smilingly upon the newly humbled Mr. M. “When you pray,” he said, “you must not think of your aching body, nor of the birds outside the window, nor of the cracks in the wall!” He became very serious then, and added “When you wish to pray you must first know that you are standing in the presence of the Almighty!”

(Earl Redman, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Their Midst, p. 79-80) 

"At the dawn of every day he should commune with God…"

Bahá’u’lláh

"Supplicate to God, pray to Him and invoke Him at midnight and at dawn. Be humble and submissive to God and chant the verses of thanksgiving at morn and eve, for that He guided thee unto the Manifest Light and showed to thee the straight Path and destined to thee the station of nearness in His wonderful Kingdom…"

‘Abdu’l-Bahá

"‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s prayerfulness aided Him to sustain equanimity even in times of deep sorrow and dire anguish. His ‘love for God was the ground and cause of an equanimity which no circumstance could shake and of an inner happiness which no adversity affected … ‘ To be sure, in times of severe stress – when Bahá’u’lláh was away in the wilderness of Sulaymaniyyih and again when the Master Himself was in grave danger in ‘Akka due to false accusations brought against Him – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was known to pray, and perhaps also to chant, throughout an entire night. The death of His beloved Father, Bahá’u’lláh, made Him momentarily almost lifeless – but He rallied and was sustained by His abiding love of God. Indeed it is reported that the Master ‘often prayed that His conditions might become more severe in order that His strength to meet them might be increased.’"

(Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 146)

"When I am sad, I always pray."

(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 73-74)

"Service is prayer." 

‘Abdu’l-Bahá

"The state of prayer is the best of conditions, for man is then associating with God. Prayer verily bestoweth life, particularly when offered in private and at times, such as midnight, when freed from daily cares."

("Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá" sec. 172, p. 202)

“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?” 

('Abdu’l-Bahá, cited in Baha’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 94)

"...strive that your actions day by day may be beautiful prayers. Turn towards God, and seek always to do that which is right and noble. Enrich the poor, raise the fallen, comfort the sorrowful, bring healing to the sick, reassure the fearful, rescue the oppressed, bring hope to the hopeless, shelter the destitute!"

 ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

"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)

"Should a person recite but a single verse from the Holy Writings in a state of joy and radiance, this would be better for him than reciting wearily all the Scriptures of God . . .  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 Importance of Prayer, Meditation and a Devotional Attitude, p. 3)

“We must not be rigid about praying; there is not a set of rules governing it…”

(Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 456)

"One early pilgrim noted that grace was not said before meals. She mentioned this to the Master, to which He replied, ‘My heart is in a continual state of thanksgiving and so often those accustomed to this form say the words with the lips merely, and their hearts are far from being in a state of thanksgiving.’ Yet, it is of interest that Thornton Chase, who is known as the first American believer, noted that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, always the perfect host, at the noon meal accepted food only after all those present had been served and then indicated that the meal should be eaten by saying ‘In the Name of God‘. And there is that precious little anecdote about Lua Getsinger, one of American’s earliest Bahá’ís, when she was visiting at the home of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. ‘She had been in a great hurry that morning, and was scurrying to breakfast without having had her usual morning prayer. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá met her in the hall and looked at her with a penetrating glance. Then He said, “Lua, you must never eat material food in the morning until you have had spiritual food.”"

(Honnold, Annamarie, Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 150)

"He does not feel that the friends should make a practice of saying grace or of teaching it to children. This is not part of the Bahá'í Faith, but a Christian practice, and as the Cause embraces members of all races and religions we should be careful not to introduce into it the customs of our previous beliefs. Bahá'u'lláh has given us the obligatory prayers, also prayers before sleeping, for travellers, etc. We should not introduce a new set of prayers He has not specified, when He has given us already so many, for so many occasions."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, September 27, 1947)

"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)

"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)

"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)