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Firstly…a story.

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 have 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 ecstacy 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 `Akká’ 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 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!’”

(Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, pp. 131-132)

One of the most moving accounts of the experience of prayer appears in the compilation “Importance of Obligatory Prayer and Fasting.” In it, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá writes:

“Even if every grief should surround Me, as soon as I engage in conversing with God in obligatory prayer, all My sorrows disappear and I attain joy and gladness. A condition descendeth upon Me which I am unable to describe or express. Whenever, with full awareness and humility, we undertake to perform the Obligatory Prayer before God, and recite it with heartfelt tenderness, we shall taste such sweetness as to endow all existence with eternal life.”

When was the last time you prayed like this or offered supplication until the rest of the world faded away in the presence of the Beloved?  When was the last time your morning prayers transcended syllables and sounds and carried you into the heaven of communion?  When was the last time you tasted the divine sweetness of God’s remembrance and praise?  Don’t just pray today, pray like ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and seek and audience with the Blessed Beauty.

O SON OF LIGHT! Forget all save Me and commune with My spirit. This is of the essence of My command, therefore turn unto it.Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words
O SON OF GLORY! Be swift in the path of holiness, and enter the heaven of communion with Me. Cleanse thy heart with the burnish of the spirit, and hasten to the court of the Most High.Bahá'u'lláh, The Hidden Words

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Photo by Dean Kalyan
Food for the Soul: 19 Days of Music and Devotion is a series of devotional songs from Badasht vol. I & II coupled with inspiring images and quotations from sacred Writings, initially to accompany the Bahá’í Fast from March 2-20. Please use them in your own way, and share with your friends & family.

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