May 14, 2012

prayer..to start the day

the alarm on my cell phone comes on at 5:10am.  after washing, i tip-toe downstairs so i don't stir any young soul from their sleep in the 2 bedrooms close to ours on the second floor of our house -- our 2 boys will be awake before 6am when the light shines through the edges of the windows where the curtains end, but our jr. youth aged daughter will need to be woken up by 6:15 as she now loves to sleep in..

i come to the rug on the floor which is situated in front of a bookshelf and a framed photo of the entrance to the Shrine of Baha'u'llah.  the room is dark except for the light shining in from the outdoor lights on the compound wall.  i take the prayer beads from the bookshelf and prostrate in submission to God, facing the Qiblih, or Point of Adoration (in the direction of the Shrine of Baha'u'llah, His resting place)..

i didn't grow up prostrating but now, as an adult, i feel as if my day is not starting properly if i have chosen to pray without first bowing my head to the floor.  to me, prostrating is a most private act of worship to the Creator -- not one demonstrated in a public space or shared with a group.  it is a sacred moment when my soul supplicates with God, submitting my will to His, without any selfish desire, only desiring His good pleasure and for my will to conform with the Divine Will.   prostrating before morning obligatory prayer has become a way of life and the first step toward demonstrating my station as a humble servant of God..

obligatory prayer as a Baha'i consists of performing ablutions and chanting Allah'u'Abha 95 times in private.  Allah'u'Abha means 'God is the Most Glorious'.  it also consists of offering one of three prayers revealed for daily use: the short, medium or long obligatory prayer.  i almost always choose the short one, which is offered at noon or up until sunset, because it ensures that i can concentrate on it with full devotion and not miss a day.  my favorite is the long obligatory prayer which evokes humility and a powerful connection with God, but i seem to mostly have enough time and attention for it when i'm fasting from March 2-21 each year..

once obligatory prayer is finished, i sit and pray, as well as recite, the holy words revealed by Baha'u'llah.  this is a time of supplicating for divine assistance, offering praise, and beseeching God for mercy.  woven within these prayers are thoughts of other souls for whom i am also praying.  these are moments wrapped in the invisible forces of spirit that sustain and nourish our souls.

dawn has arrived and i feel the energy of the day beginning.  my soul has been nourished, receiving its spiritual food to strengthen it in its journey of striving to attain nearness to God.  i cannot manage life without prayer..without that intimate communion of my soul with its Creator..the vital link which taps me into the world of divine assistance, knowing i am not alone..ever.

i can now hear the pitter-patter of little feet upstairs as my boys prepare for school.. it's time to rise and put into practice the divine Teachings from God..

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