“There is nothing sweeter in the world of existence than prayer. Prayer is conversation with God. It creates spirituality, creates mindfulness and celestial feelings, begets new attractions of the Kingdom and engenders the susceptibilities of the higher intelligence.”

–Baha’i Faith

We know that God created us. He knows what we want and what we need.

Then why should we pray? God does not need our prayers. Prayer is the food of the soul.

When we pray, we are taking in spiritual nourishment. Through the bonds of love connecting us to the divine world, we receive the blessings of God. Prayer increases our capacity to enjoy spiritual gifts and to experience true happiness.

Innumerable obstacles might block our way to the pathway to God. Ardent, sincere and constant prayer can help us overcome obstacles and be guided along this path.

We often pray for help in times of difficulty, but this is not the only time to pray. The highest prayers are said only for the love of God, such as prayers of praise and gratitude without expectations.

We pray for ourselves and for others, whether family, friends or strangers. I often say a prayer for the patient and the paramedics of ambulances with lights flashing and sirens on. In that case, all I can do is pray. However in our daily lives, prayer is not enough: action is also necessary.

Bahá’ís are encouraged to "Be anxiously concerned" with the needs of society. The importance of self-exertion and service to humanity in one's spiritual life is emphasized further in Bahá’u’lláh's writings, where he states that work done in the spirit of service to humanity enjoys a rank equal to that of prayer and worship in the sight of God.

And there is a lot of work we can do to create a peaceful society. After all, God helps those who help themselves. I’ve often heard it said that certain things in our society will not change in our lifetimes. Even if we believe that to be true, what about a better world for our children and grandchildren? I believe change will not happen if we do nothing today. We make the world a little better place each day by our own deeds and conduct.

Here are a few things we could be working on today:

>> The independent search after truth, unfettered by superstition or tradition.

>> The oneness of the entire human race.

>> The basic unity of all religions.

>> The condemnation of all forms of prejudice, whether religious, racial, class or national.

>> The harmony between religion and science.

>> The equality of men and women, the two wings on which the bird of humankind is able to soar.

These are just a few to start.

One way to view the power of prayer is to center our thoughts before beginning to pray and pray. Sitting quietly and meditating on what actions we might take toward the betterment of the world might be another step.

Certainly taking action on our spiritual path would be another step, reviewing our actions and making adjustments.

Continuing in this way could change things. Today and each day.

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Annette Reynolds has served in many capacities as a member of the Bahá’í Faith. She is the author of “Trudy and the Bahá’ís Spiritual Path in S.C.” and “Survivors Thrive: A view of the Battered Women’s Movement.” She is a member of the Morning News’ Faith & Values Advisory Board. Contact her and other board members at fvboard@florencenews.com.

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