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1: Unit 2: Prayer: Resources

Handouts for Reflections on the Life of the Spirit

While in Haifa, the beloved Guardian of the Cause gave to the writer (Mrs Ruth Moffat), the most concise, complete, and effective formula she has ever seen, for the Dynamics of Prayer. After saying to stress the need of more prayers and meditation among the friends, he said to use these five steps if we had a problem of any kind for which we desired a solution or wished help.

  1. Pray and meditate about it. Use the prayers of the Manifestations as they have the greatest power. Then remain in the silence of contemplation for a few minutes.
  2. Arrive at a decision and hold this. This decision is usually born during the contemplation. It may seem almost impossible of accomplishment but if it seems to be as answer to a prayer or a way of solving the problem, then immediately take the next step.
  3. Have determination to carry the decision through. Many fail here. The decision, budding into determination, is blighted and instead becomes a wish or a vague longing. When determination is born, immediately take the next step.
  4. Have faith and confidence that the power will flow through you, the right way will appear, the door will open, the right thought, the right message, the right principle or the right book will be given you. Have confidence, and the right thing will come to your need. Then, as you rise from prayer, take at once the fifth step.
  5. Then, he said, lastly, ACT; act as though it had all been answered. Then act with tireless, ceaseless energy. And as you act, you, yourself, will become a magnet, which will attract more power to your being, until you become an unobstructed channel for the Divine power to flow through you. Many pray but do not remain for the last half of the first step. Some who meditate arrive at a decision, but fail to hold it. Few have the determination to carry the decision through, still fewer have the confidence that the right thing will come to their need. But how many remember to act as though it had all been answered? How true are those words – “Greater than the prayer is the spirit in which it is uttered” and greater than the way it is uttered is the spirit in which it is carried out.

*The above statement belongs properly to the class of statement known as “pilgrim’s notes” and as such as no authority but, since it seems to be particularly helpful and clear, it was felt that believers should not be deprived of it.    (NSAUK. 1937:90)

2. “Essential Requisites for Spiritual Growth” Handout on the essential requisites for spiritual growth, summarized in a letter dated September 1, 1983 by the Universal House of Justice.

Bahá’u’lláh has stated quite clearly in His Writings the essential requisites for our spiritual growth, and these are stressed again and again by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His talks and Tablets. One can summarize them briefly in this way:
  1. The recital each day of one of the Obligatory Prayers with pure-hearted devotion.
  2. The regular reading of the Sacred Scriptures, specifically at least each morning and evening, with reverence, attention and thought.
  3. Prayerful meditation on the teachings, so that we may understand them more deeply, fulfil them more faithfully, and convey them more accurately to others.
  4. Striving every day to bring our behaviour more into accordance with the high standards that are set forth in the Teachings.
  5. Teaching the Cause of God.
  6. Selfless service in the work of the Cause and in the carrying on of our trade or profession.
Memorization
 Baha’u’llah encourages His followers to memorize the Holy Writings: “The sanctified souls should ponder and meditate in their hearts regarding the methods of teaching. From the texts of the wondrous, heavenly Scriptures they should memorize phrases and passages bearing on various instances, so that in the course of their speech they may recite divine verses whenever the occasion demandeth it, inasmuch as these holy verses are the most potent elixir, the greatest and mightiest talisman. So potent is their influence that the hearer will have no cause for vacillation. I swear by My life! This Revelation is endowed with such a power that it will act as the lodestone for all nations and kindreds of the earth. Should one pause to meditate attentively he would recognize that no place is there, nor can there be, for anyone to flee to” (Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 200).
Memorization is an important part of the institute process.  As noted in Ruhi Book 1, Section 5 “Memorizing quotations from the Writings is highly rewarding, and you should make every effort to do so.”  This section, also notes, however, that “there are some people who, for various reasons, find memorization almost impossible.  If you happen to have such a difficulty, then you should try to learn the quotations so well that you can express the ideas with words as close to the original text as possible.”
The tab entitled “Memorization” is a tool to help those moving through the main sequence of courses to memorize the quotations required and recommended by the various Books of the Ruhi Institute (there are approximately 150 quotations for Books 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7, with roughly 1/2 required and another 1/2 recommended to memorize).  The arrows at the top of each column allow you to sort and filter the quotations in various ways – for example, you could filter only the required quotations for Ruhi Book 4 by using the arrow in the “Book” column (select “4”) and the “Required?” column (select “required”). To return to the normal view, go back to the “Book” and “Required?” columns and use the arrow to select “all”.
To assist you in completing all the acts of service or “practice” components associated with each book, a spreadsheet is also included which notes the practice for each book. Underscoring the importance of the practice components, the Universal House of Justice notes in its 19 October 2005 message to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States that a “promising pattern of action” in Baha’i communities “appears wherever individuals who are moving through the sequence of institute courses make a conscious effort to translate what they are learning into action, undertaking specific acts of service that challenge them to draw up on the  knowledge and insights they are gaining and to sharpen the skills and abilities they are developing through the courses.”

Selections to Memorize:

Book 1 Unit 1 Section 1 Topic Deeds
  1. 1:1:1 “The betterment of the world can be accomplished through pure and goodly deeds, through commendable and seemly conduct….” Bahá’u’lláh, cited in The Advent of Divine Justice pp.24-25
  2. 1:1:1 “Beware, O people of Bahá, lest ye walk in the ways of them whose words differ from their deeds.”  Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, CXXXIX, p.305 topics:deeds
  3. 1:1:1 “O Son of Being! Bring thyself to account each day ere thou art summoned to a reckoning…” Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words – Arabic #31 topics:deeds
  4. 1:1:1 “Say, O brethren! Let deeds, not words, be your adorning.” Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words – Persian #5 topics:deeds
  5. 1:1:1 “Holy words and pure and goodly deeds ascend unto the heaven of celestial glory.” Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words – Persian #69 topics:deeds
  6. 1:1:3 “Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues.”     -‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Section, p. 384 topics:truthfulness
  7. 1:1:3 “Without truthfulness, progress and success, in all the worlds of God, are impossible for any soul.” -‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Section, p. 384 topics:truthfulness
  8. 1:1:3 “Beautify your tongues, O people, with truthfulness, and adorn your souls with the ornament of honesty.” –Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 297 topics:truthfulness
  9. 1:1:3 “Let your eye be chaste, your hand faithful, your tongue truthful and your heart enlightened.” –Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 138 topics:truthfulness
  10. 1:1:3 “They who dwell within the tabernacle of God, and are established upon the seats of everlasting glory, will refuse, though they be dying of hunger, to stretch their hands and seize unlawfully the property of their neighbor, however vile and worthless he may be.” –Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 298 topics:truthfulness

Practice

Book 1 Read daily, in the morning and evening, some of the Writings of the Faith.
Book 1 Visit at least two Bahá’ís and study a prayer with them.
Book 2 Visit a few families and study with them at least the first three themes presented in this unit [Unit 2].
Book 3 Book 3 has no formal practice elements, but participants should look for opportunities to practice the lessons with children.
Book 4 Visit a few families and share with them a simple illustrated presentation of the Báb’s life.
Book 4 Visit a few families and share with them a simple illustrated presentation of Bahá’u’lláh’s life.
Book 5 [To be added when junior youth animator book is released]
Book 6 To design and implement your own personal teaching plan and to participate in at least one teaching campaign.
Book 7 To form a study circle and accompany it through at least one book.

Webliography and Bibliography

Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words – Persian #5, #69,
Bahá’u’lláh, The Hidden Words – Arabic #31
Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah, p. 200
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, CXXXIX, p.305
Bahá’u’lláh, cited in The Advent of Divine Justice pp.24-25
Bahá’í World Faith

“This book, Principles of Bahá’í Administration is a compilation of selected writings by Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi was compiled by National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United Kingdom. It was intended for use by Assemblies, groups, and individuals as a guide to procedure in the life and organic activity of the Bahá’í Community, and was prepared from three main sources, Bahá’í Administration, Bahá’í Procedure (1937 and 1942 editions), and Bahá’í Community, all published by the Publishing Committee of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States of America. There have also been included some messages of the Guardian to the British Isles, a few statements of his taken from sundry numbers of Bahá’í News, the monthly journal of the American Bahá’ís, some passages from God Passes By and a very few other quotations. The attempt has been made to keep the compilation as free as possible from restrictive and perhaps temporary regulations because in an evolving organism like the present Bahá’í Community, the processes of its procedure must also be kept fluid. The contents of the book are therefore of an impermanent nature and will require to be superseded at some future date by its successor designed to meet more closely the needs of a greatly expanded community. It should be remarked that those few passages not from the pen of the Guardian, amounting in all to not more than two or three pages, have been duly approved by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United Kingdom and are clearly indicated.”


UHJ. 2005-10-19. “Message to to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States.”
Underscoring the importance of the practice components, the Universal House of Justice (2005-10-19) noted that a “promising pattern of action” in Baha’i communities “appears wherever individuals who are moving through the sequence of institute courses make a conscious effort to translate what they are learning into action, undertaking specific acts of service that challenge them to draw up on the  knowledge and insights they are gaining and to sharpen the skills and abilities they are developing through the courses.”
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