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In this issue – Devotional Gatherings

5 Tips for Starting a Devotional on Meetup.com

8 Creative Ideas for Your Next Devotional

10 Instrumental Tracks for Your Next Devotional Gathering (from app store):

Bahá’í Devotionals

Prayer Gatherings

Selected Guidance Concerning Devotional Gatherings

Theme of Spirituality in Devotional Meeting

Featured Story:

An American pioneering couple in the 1930’s had had no results in their community for over three years in spite of diligent efforts. When they told Hand of the Cause Dorothy Baker, she recommended they pray “Ya Allah El-Mustagath”. The wife of the couple was alarmed and exclaimed that this particular invocation was reserved for life or death situations. Dorothy responded “What greater calamity than for (you) to have spent three years in the town with no result?” This invocation was uttered 95 times. It marked the beginning of that city’s Assembly.  (Dorothy Baker, quoted in Fires in Many Hearts, pp. 265-267)

In that long-ago period when I was first a believer, I went to many places in Canada and the United States to speak. I must tell you about one place because it often comes to my mind when I consider the subject of prayer. It was on April 17. I had been invited to address a community where there were eight believers and they needed a ninth to form their Local Spiritual Assembly a few days hence. My plane was delayed and I arrived late while prayers were being said. I was ushered to a seat beside the chairman. When the prayers were finished, he whispered to me (there were about 45 people in the room), “John, do you see that tall man in the third row, center? He is the only non-Bahá’í in the room. We need him for our Assembly on Thursday!” I stood up and looked at my opponent. He was a nice person. I noticed he had very large eyes. I began to speak but soon felt that I wasn’t doing very well. I didn’t seem to be inspired and suddenly I realized that my friend’s eyes were opening and closing very slowly, and then to my horror, they closed and clicked shut. I had lost my man. He was sound asleep! In my despair I turned to Bahá’u’lláh and said, “Dear Bahá’u’lláh, please come to my aid. We need that man for our Assembly on Thursday.” I went on with my talk and what seemed like a bright idea struck me, which I felt must have been the answer to my cry for help. In quite a loud voice, I said, “Bahá’u’lláh said, ‘The people are wrapped in a strange sleep!‘” And I banged the table with my fist. The man woke up as though he had been shot and he stayed awake. He became a Bahá’í that evening, and helped to form the Assembly on Thursday!  (John Robarts)

Featured Prayer:

Prayer for Assistance

O God, my God! Be Thou not far from me, for tribulation upon tribulation hath gathered about me. O God, my God! Leave me not to myself, for the extreme of adversity hath come upon me. Out of the pure milk, drawn from the breasts of Thy loving-kindness, give me to drink, for my thirst hath utterly consumed me. Beneath the shadow of the wings of Thy mercy shelter me, for all mine adversaries with one consent have fallen upon me. Keep me near to the throne of Thy majesty, face to face with the revelation of the signs of Thy glory, for wretchedness hath grievously touched me. With the fruits of the Tree of Thine Eternity nourish me, for uttermost weakness hath overtaken me. From the cups of joy, proffered by the hands of Thy tender mercies, feed me, for manifold sorrows have laid mighty hold upon me. With the broidered robe of Thine omnipotent sovereignty attire me, for poverty hath altogether despoiled me. Lulled by the cooing of the Dove of Thine Eternity, suffer me to sleep, for woes at their blackest have befallen me. Before the throne of Thy oneness, amid the blaze of the beauty of Thy countenance, cause me to abide, for fear and trembling have violently crushed me. Beneath the ocean of Thy forgiveness, faced with the restlessness of the leviathan of glory, immerse me, for my sins have utterly doomed me.  (Bahá’u’lláh, Prayers and Meditations by Bahá’u’lláh, p. 233)

Featured Video:

Keetra’s Prayer Party

In this month’s featured video, we see Keetra’s Prayer Party, the inspiring story of how a 5 year starts a weekly party to pray and talk about spirituality and religion.

When Keetra announced one day that she wanted to start a “prayer party,” her parents weren’t quite sure how to handle it. As you’ll see in the video below, they had never hosted a devotional gathering before.

Keetra’s father even told her that she would have to make her own phone calls, with the hope (at that time) that he and his wife wouldn’t be embarrassed!

Two years later, Keetra still makes the calls, and her family continues to host the first Baha’i-inspired devotional gathering in their Arizona community.

Here is the delightful video named “Keetra’s Prayer Party”.

Worship: Keetra’s Prayer Party from Bahai.us on Vimeo.

 

 Baha’i Devotional Gatherings Across Canada

In the second video, we get a glimpse at Baha’i Devotional Gatherings Across Canada:

Featured Book:

The Devotional Meeting, by Wendi Momen looks at

·         the devotional life of the individual

·         the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár

·         planning devotional meetings

·         using music and arts

·         hospitality

and provides more than 50 examples of devotional meetings from all parts of the world.

For more information and to buy the book 

 

Featured Coach:

 Janna Denton-Howes

Janna Denton-Howes was married at the age of 17 and has worked for the past 15 years to transform her own marriage.  As a result, her passion is to help other couples get unstuck and move powerfully towards the vision of true Baha’i marriage.  She’s taken her experience and understanding of the Writings combined with some professional training to help people create the connection and support we all crave for our fortress for well-being.

You might be her ideal client if you:

·         want to learn how to communicate (without the charged emotion)

·         are tired of nagging all the time (but still need to make requests)

·         haven’t had a date night in months… or years??

·         had high expectations of marriage- and it’s not *quite* living up to the hype

·         The same issues keep on poppin’ up and you want ‘em GONE!

·         can’t find the balance of Baha’i activities and family life

·         thought you had a common vision…

·         want more equality into your marriage

·         are at different places, spiritually, and it’s pretty tough

·         just want your spouse to be able to read your mind!

On her website, (for a small price) she offers a step-by-step, one page, communication tool that supports you to:

·         feel deeply listened to by your spouse

·         recognize WHEN and WHY your communication breaks down

·         feel emotionally safe

·         avoid saying hurtful things (that you really don’t mean)

·         arrive at a solution quickly + effectively

·         come to an outcome you BOTH feel great about

·         be a FANTASTIC example to your children (+ friends/family/neighbours etc)

·         take a giant first step towards Baha’i consultation

To get yours

To listen to her talks on

  • What to do When you’ve had a Fight in Front of the Kids
  • How to Feel Spiritually Connected During Sex

To visit her old website which has a lot of great content

And her new website

To watch a video about launching her new site and coaching practice

To see her Baha’i Songs and Prayers for Children

To read her articles on Baha’i Blog

To listen to her as she shares some insights into improving marriages and about the history and vision of her blog

To find her on Facebook

To follow her on Twitter 

To find her on Linkedin 

To find her on Pinterest

Featured Business:

 

Cyber Temple

 This month I’d like to introduce you to the work of Farnaz, Bijan, and Adib Masumian, in their work for Cyber Temple, a non-profit website which provides resources for meditation, contemplation, and relaxation and helps with development of virtues.  All of the pages on their site offer relaxing music, so make sure you have your speakers turned on!

Their primary focus is to provide resources to help nourish some of the virtues that provide the foundation for a happier, more peaceful life and an opportunity for contemplation and reflection on the meaning and message of the passages found in the primary scriptures of world’s main faiths.

Their meditation section offers techniques to help you combat the daily stresses of life, leading to a more relaxed and calmer state of mind.

Read their section “Read me First” to help you navigate the site effectively 

To visit their homepage

To find them on Facebook

Our Readers Write:

Thank you once again for the great web site and the news letter that you so generously proved us. (Simin Sobhani) 

I love this story on Mr Furutan’s last hours so much!   (Sarmad Garmroud)

I loved it too, Sarmad, and pray that like him, I can die in the field of service!

It’s my great pleasure to write to you. I am a subscriber of your monthly newsletter from China. The articles written by you are very inspiring to me, and can be as much inspiring to many others if they read them. Your life story is a powerful one. The subjects you write on, such as death, fear, anxiety, and depression are the real life issues bewildering many people including me. While reading your articles, I am often moved and educated by the message you pass onto to readers. I know your website through a Baha’i friend. My wife is a Baha’i, and I am studying this faith. Recently my wife told me the father of one of her friends is dying from cancer, and another friend’s brother died in a car accident. She is thinking about how to help them face the loss of loved ones. We think if they read your articles, they might get some new attitudes and strength. Therefore, we want to ask for your permission for translating articles on your website. We won’t use them for commercial purposes, but simply share them to people around us. We will be very grateful if you can give the permission. We are looking forward to your reply.  (Name withheld to protect the Baha’is in China)

 

I’ve longed to come to China for many years and share this wonderful faith, and am not able to do so for health reasons, so your email is a balm to my heart.  Thank you and your wife for being in a position to do it for me, much more effectively!  Of course you (and anyone else) can translate anything on my site and share it widely!  These are God’s words, not mine!

Thanks to all who write in!  

Verily I do this for God, and your encouragement really keeps me going!  

By the way, I accept donations!  If you like the materials in these newsletters and on my website, please consider making a donation. Your help and feedback is GREATLY appreciated, to defray the costs of making these available to you!!!  There’s a PayPal “Donate” Button at the bottom of every page on my website. Thank you!!!

See you next month!  Hope it’s a month filled with an awe of God’s Dominion!