Thanks so much to all of you for patiently wading through the past fifteen entries. I wrote these poems over a three month period in response to the Bahá'í Long Obligatory Prayer. Each of us comes to this Prayer, indeed to any thoughtful reflection about life, with our own frame of reference. That frame may only fit one person, it may fit many but in the end it is the individual response that effects change in the world. These poems are one of an infinite number of possible responses, understandings or ideas.
Three thoughts on the nature of prayer:
“Know thou that in every word and movement of the obligatory prayer there are allusions, mysteries and a wisdom that man is unable to comprehend, and letters and scrolls cannot contain.”
(‘Abdu'l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations, Volume II, p. 233)
“Bahá'u'lláh has so much stressed the importance of worship. It is not sufficient for a believer to merely accept and observe the teachings. He should, in addition, cultivate the sense of spirituality, which he can acquire chiefly by the means of prayer. The Bahá'í Faith, like all other Divine religions, is thus fundamentally mystic in character. Its chief goal is the development of the individual and society, through the acquisition of spiritual virtues and powers. It is the soul of man that has first to be fed. And this spiritual nourishment prayer can best provide. Laws and institutions, as viewed by Bahá'u'lláh, can become really effective only when our inner spiritual life has been perfected and transformed. Otherwise religion will degenerate into a mere organization, and become a dead thing.”
(From a letter dated 8 December 1935 written of behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer. The Compilation of Compilations, Volume II, p. 238)
"No form of literature in the whole world is less objective than prayers. They are things of motion, not of repose. They are speeches addressed to a Hearer; they are medicine applied to a wound; they stir the worshipper and set something in his heart at work. That is their whole purpose."
(Ruhiyyih Khanum, “The Prayers of Bahá’u’lláh,” The Bahá’í World, Vol. IX, 1940-1944, p. 795)