What is the Obligatory Prayer?

“The wisdom of prayer is this: That it causeth a connection between the servant and the True One,…” ~ Abdu’l-Baha

Baha’is are called to say a special prayer every day called the Obligatory Prayer. There are three options available: long, medium, and short. In choosing which prayer to say, it depends entirely on the believers own personal desire. As the Baha’i Writings state, “Baha’u’llah has reduced all ritual and form to an absolute minimum in His Faith. The few forms that there are — like those associated with the two longer obligatory daily prayers, are only symbols of the inner attitude. There is a wisdom in them, and a great blessing but we cannot force ourselves to understand or feel these things, that is why He gave us also the very short and simple prayer, for those who did not feel the desire to perform the acts associated with the other two.” (On behalf of Shoghi Effendi, LG, p. 464)

Beyond these daily obligatory prayers, Baha’is pray for many other reasons and occasions. Prayer is very important to Baha’is. To be a Baha’i means to create a strong and powerful connection to our Creator. Baha’is believe this connection is established, sustained, and renewed through prayer. Baha’i Writings state that “The wisdom of prayer is this: That it causeth a connection between the servant and the True One, because in that state man with all his heart and soul turneth his face towards His Highness the Almighty, seeking His association and desiring His love and compassion. The greatest happiness for a lover is to converse with his beloved, and the greatest gift for a seeker is to become familiar with the object of his longing; that is why with every soul who is attracted to the Kingdom of God, his greatest hope is to find an opportunity to entreat and supplicate before his Beloved, appeal for His mercy and grace and be immersed in the ocean of His utterance, goodness and generosity…” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, URW pg. 9)

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