The true worshipper, while praying, should endeavour not so much to ask God to fulfill his wishes and desires, but rather to adjust these and make them conform to the Divine Will. Only through such an attitude can one derive that feeling of inner peace and contentment which the power of prayer alone can confer. (Shoghi Effendi, The Importance of Prayer, Meditation and a Devotional Attitude, p. 239)
I used to have a relationship with God that was kind of like my relationship with Santa Claus. I’d come to Him with a list of things I wanted and hoped that if I was very good, He’d give them to me. This was a problem as a child, when my wishes were mostly centred on getting Him to stop the abuse and when it got worse, I stopped believing in God. I’m glad that phase of my life only lasted 10 years! But even as a Bahá’í, for many years, I didn’t make the link between what I was praying for in person, and what I was praying for when reciting the prayers from the prayer book. I still wanted what I wanted, and believed that if I was the perfect Bahá’í, He’d give me what I asked for. Sometimes He did and sometimes I felt like He was playing “Whack a Mole” with me.
With spiritual maturity, I’ve come to understand that all the tests He sent me were actually gifts in disguise. We can’t grow spiritually without tests. Think back on the darkest days of your life and see what virtues got you through and you’ll see what I mean. I love that in Ruhi Book 1 we’re asked to develop the discipline of studying prayers with someone. From this activity, I learned to dissect the prayer and look at what we’re really asking for when we repeat it.
I’ve also come to realize that with expectations come disappointments, and when I’m expecting a certain result, I’m in self-will, actually telling God what He can do for me. So I love this reminder that when I ask God to make my wishes and desires conform to His will, I will feel that inner sense of peace and contentment which makes blesses my life and the lives of those around me.
Remembering to conform my will to God’s will, I am grateful!
What jumped out for you as you read today’s meditation? I’d love it if you would share so we can all expand our knowledge of the Writings!
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Learning How to Be Happy