Prayer and meditation are the means by which individuals can rise above materialistic forces and develop a closer relationship with God in the realm of the spirit. It is as vital to take spiritual sustenance as it is to feed the body and mind, to satisfy the need to grow spiritually.
Bahá’u’lláh, Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, revealed hundreds of prayers that allow mankind to speak to God in His own Words. There are prayers of petition, thanksgiving, adoration, and acknowledgment, for example; some have a greater power than others but all are more potent than those of human origin. And yet, Bahá’ís believe that prayer goes beyond speaking to God–in private or in group settings–to include the times when not so engaged, such as when working in a spirit of service to humanity.
Meditation in which thoughts are directed towards God (as opposed to objects) leads to an understanding of the mysteries of the spirit. Bahá’u’lláh explained that meditations are reflections of what has been created within the individual “through the revelation of the Lord, their God.” Bahá’u’lláh’s son, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, said, “It is an axiomatic fact 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.”
Every year in the Bahá’í calendar there is a 19-day Fast: it starts at the beginning of March in the Gregorian calendar and is, in essence, a time of prayer and meditation. During that time, Bahá’ís (unless exempted by age, health, or occupation) abstain from food and drink during daylight hours and focus on spiritual rejuvenation. In the words of Bahá’u’lláh, “fasting is the supreme remedy and the most great healing for the disease of self and passion.”
Is prayer necessary? Is it acceptable to pray for material things? Is prayer always answered? What is the relationship between meditation and the sciences and arts? For collaborative study of these and other subjects, please call the Bahá’ís of Comox (250.702.3041).