Should a person recite but a single verse from the Holy Writings in a spirit of joy and radiance, this would be better for him than reciting wearily all the Scriptures of God, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting. Recite ye the verses of God in such measure that ye be not overtaken with fatigue or boredom. Burden not your souls so as to cause exhaustion and weigh them down, but rather endeavour to lighten them, that they may soar on the wings of revealed Verses unto the dawning-place of His signs. This is conducive to nearer access unto God, were ye to comprehend. (Bahá’u’lláh, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 225)
Someone recently asked me how I manage to pray for so many people on my prayer list. This was such a good question because it definitely reflects my situation. People around me understand that I take prayer seriously and see that I use the 5-Steps of Prayer for Solving Problems in my life every day, and they witness the wonderful things that happen in my life, and they believe that I must have a direct line to God (and they don’t). I hate it when people say that! I’m no more loved by God than anyone else. He loves every single one of us unconditionally. That’s why He created us. In the Arabic Hidden Words, number 3, Bahá’u’lláh tells us:
I knew My love for thee; therefore I created thee, have engraved on thee Mine image and revealed to thee My beauty.
So, people ask me to pray for them, and I’m honored to be asked; and I enjoy praying for and with people and do it almost every day. I don’t always hear the end results and I have to leave that to God.
At one time, I put all my prayer requests for me and for others, in the Notes section on my phone, calling it “Prayer Requests”. I had great fun crossing off the prayers as they were answered, but the list soon grew too long to be useful anymore.
Now what I do, is pray for the person at the time the request is made. Sometimes I use a formal prayer from the prayer book, other times, based on the quote above, I recite just a single verse from the Holy Writings. Sometimes it might be “Ya Baha’u’l-Abha (the Greatest Name of God). Frequently it might be Ya Allahu’l-Mustaghath (to be said in times of trouble, difficulty or great need). Sometimes it’s just “O God please help this person!” No matter what I say, I make sure I do it in a spirit of joy and radiance. After I’ve prayed, I write the person’s request on a slip of paper and put it into my God jar, trusting that God heard my prayer the first time, and I don’t have to keep reminding Him!
If the person and their problem come to my mind later, I can pray for them again, more to relieve my own heart than because I don’t trust that God is already on the job.
I’ve learned not to be so thorough and perfect as to be overtaken with fatigue or boredom or for these prayers to cause exhaustion and to let the burden of other people’s problems weigh me down.
Growing closer to God by letting go of the need to be perfect in how I pray for others, I am grateful!
What jumped out for you when you read this passage? How do you pray for others? Please share your thoughts below.
If you liked this meditation, you might also like my book Letting Go of Criticizing Others