Prayer forms the foundation of individual spiritual life in most religions. The outward forms of prayer are many and varied, but at its core, all prayer seeks to establish a connection between the human soul and a higher power. This is seen as the primary purpose behind prayer.
In trying to solve my problem of what to write about this week, I received an answer by visiting planetbahai.com. Here is an approach to problem solving through prayer, meditation and action:
1. Pray and meditate about it. Use the prayers of the Manifest-ations (Major Prophets of God) as they have the greatest power. Then remain in the silence of contemplation for a few minutes.
2. Arrive at a decision and hold this. The decision is usually born during contemplation.
It may seem almost impossible to accomplish, but if it seems to answer the prayer or be a solution, then immediately take the next step.
3. Have determination to carry the decision through. Many fail here. The decision, budding into determination, is blighted and instead becomes a wish or a vague longing. When determination is born, immediately take the next step.
4. Have faith and confidence that the power will flow through you, the door will open, the right thought, the right message, the right principle, or the right book will be given to you. As you rise from prayer, take the next step at once.
5. Act as though it had all been answered. Act with tireless, ceaseless energy.
As you carry ut this action, you will become a magnet and attract more power to your being, until you become an unobstructed channel for the divine power to flow through you.
Here is a Baha'i' prayer for aid and assistance:
"O thou whose face is the object of my adoration, whose beauty is my sanctuary, whose habitation is my goal, whose praise is my hope, whose providence is my companion, whose love is the cause of my being, whose mention is my solace, whose nearness is my desire, whose presence is my dearest wish and highest aspiration, I entreat thee not to withhold from me the things thou didst ordain for the chosen ones among thy servants. Supply me, then, with the good of this world and of the next.
"Thou, truly, art the king of all men. There is no God but thee, the ever-forgiving, the most generous."
Here are some tips on praying:
1. Many pray but do not remain for the last half of the first step. Some who meditate arrive at a decision, but fail to hold it.
2. Few have the determination to carry the decision through.
Still fewer have the confidence that the right thing will come to their need, but how many remember to act as though it had all been answered?
3. How true are these words, "Greater than the prayer is the spirit in which it is uttered," and greater than the way it is uttered is the spirit in which it is carried out.
In action, spirit is as important as it is in prayer.
In this suggested method for using prayer to solve problems, the power of prayer, meditation and action are combined into a unified system. In prayer, we seek God's help with our problem. In meditation, we listen for possible answers.
In action, we begin to implement whatever answer or partial answer has come to us.
When we act, we should act as though it had all been answered, whether it has or not. We should place full confidence in God's ability to guide us as we act, and be content with whatever path he leads us down.
The linkage between prayer and action is even stronger than that. In the Baha'i faith, work done in the spirit of service is equated with worship:
"Briefly, all effort and exertion put forth by man from the fullness of his heart is worship, if it is prompted by the highest motives and the will to do service to humanity.
"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."
So when we rise from prayer and begin to act, we are still engaged in prayer if the spirit that motivates us is right. Our actions become "a prayer that shall rise above words and letters and transcend the murmur of syllables and sounds."
Life itself becomes a prayer and we are then in "the best of conditions."
Paul Gray is a member of the Baha'i faith. Sunday devotions at the Ridgeway Baha'i Center on Knight Drive are at 11 a.m. Children's class is at 11:30 a.m.
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