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Bahá’í Prayers for All in the Pandemic

I do write on diverse religious issues, often analysing perspectives from the Abrahamic faiths (Jewish, Christian, Muslim, and Bahá’í).

Silhouette of a man and woman in prayer

Silhouette of a man and woman in prayer

Prayers for the Pandemic

Scroll a few paragraphs down this page and you will come across a number of prayers for healing, for protection, for tests and difficulties, for stress and anxiety, and for the departed. These prayers are all very appropriate for use during this time of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, a pandemic that has wreaked havoc on the planet, infecting hundreds of millions across all parts of the globe and sending millions to an early grave.

Coronavirus

Coronavirus

Prayers for the Global Village

Prayer is central to the devotional life of worshippers of all faiths. Yet never in the history of humankind has the founder of a religion made so many prayers available to his followers and, indeed, to the whole of mankind as has the founders of the Bahá’í Faith.

The Bahá’í Faith prides itself as a universal religion, with a universal message for humanity as a whole and not for any particular group, sect, or race of people. The climax of the industrial revolution, synchronising with the appearance of the founders of their faith in the middle of the 19th century, is seen by Bahá’ís as very significant. The industrial revolution it was that gave birth to several unprecedented developments during the 20th century, all of which have contributed to the emergence of our planet as the global village of today. The spirit of globalisation has to be none other than universalism.

Hence, according to adherents of this new faith, the Bahá’í revelation is for humanity as a whole irrespective of religious affiliation.

A suppliant in the global village

A suppliant in the global village

Number and Variety of Prayers

To put things in perspective, only one prayer—the Lord’s Prayer—was revealed by Jesus Christ and published in the Gospel, for use by his followers, and a few more by Prophet Muhammad in the Qur’an for Muslims. In the sacred writings of the Bahá’í Faith, however, worshippers and seekers have access to hundreds of prayers. These were revealed over a span of some seventy-seven years—from 1844 to 1921—by three extraordinary personalities, known to their followers as the Central Figures of the Bahá’í Faith.

Among these are obligatory prayers (for daily use by believers), prayers for special occasions (like Bahá’í holy days and the Bahá’í fast), and prayers for general use. Some of the prayers are relatively short; others can be quite long.

To make it easy for users of Bahá’í prayer books to locate appropriate prayers for their needs, Bahá’í publishers tend to group the general prayers under specific headings, such as: Aid and Assistance, Children, The Departed, Detachment, Evening, Families, Forgiveness, Gatherings, Healing, Marriage, Morning, Praise and Gratitude, Protection, Spiritual Growth, Steadfastness, Tests and Difficulties, Unity, Women, Youth, etc.

Hands clasped in prayer in the daylight hours

Hands clasped in prayer in the daylight hours

Some Prayers for the Pandemic

We now survey a few of the soul-stirring prayers that can be useful to all and sundry during the pandemic. Their revealers are the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—Central Figures of the Bahá’í Faith. For obvious reasons, only a few short prayers have been selected for this piece. The good news, though, is that many more prayers can be accessed from the same source using the link at the bottom of this article.

Silhouette of a man in prayer

Silhouette of a man in prayer

Prayers of Bahá’u’lláh

Bahá’u’lláh is the Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. He is known to Bahá’ís as the Manifestation of God for today and the Promised One of all religions. Here are a few of the many prayers revealed by him:

Healing Prayers

Thy name is my healing, O my God, and remembrance of Thee is my remedy. Nearness to Thee is my hope, and love for Thee is my companion. Thy mercy to me is my healing and my succor in both this world and the world to come. Thou, verily, art the All-Bountiful, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

One of the best-known prayers of Bahá’u’lláh is The Long Healing Prayer. It is forty-seven verses long. Here are the first four verses of the prayer:

He is the Healer, the Sufficer, the Helper, the All-Forgiving, the All-Merciful.

I call on Thee O Exalted One, O Faithful One, O Glorious One! Thou the Sufficing, Thou the Healing, Thou the Abiding, O Thou Abiding One!

I call on Thee O Sovereign, O Upraiser, O Judge! Thou the Sufficing, Thou the Healing, Thou the Abiding, O Thou Abiding One!

I call on Thee O Peerless One, O Eternal One, O Single One! Thou the Sufficing, Thou the Healing, Thou the Abiding, O Thou Abiding One!

Prayer for Protection

Armed with the power of Thy name nothing can ever hurt me, and with Thy love in my heart all the world's afflictions can in no wise alarm me.

Baha’is love to use this short verse as a prayer for protection. However, it is only an extract from a longer prayer of Bahá’u’lláh.

Worshippers in prayer

Worshippers in prayer

Prayers of the Báb

The Báb was a Manifestation of God, equal in rank to other Manifestations of God. His main mission, though, was preparing the people of his homeland Persia (Iran) for the coming of Bahá’u’lláh. For this reason, he is known as the Forerunner of Bahá’u’lláh. However, on other occasions, he and Bahá’u’lláh are referred to by Bahá’ís as the Twin Founders of the Bahá’í Faith.

The two prayers below are amongst the Báb’s best-known prayers.

Prayer for Detachment

Say: God sufficeth all things above all things, and nothing in the heavens or in the earth but God sufficeth. Verily, He is in Himself the Knower, the Sustainer, the Omnipotent.

Prayer for Tests and Difficulties

Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding!

A man in prayer

A man in prayer

Prayers of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

‘Abdu’l-Bahá is the third of the three Central Figures of the Bahá’í Faith. He was not a Manifestation of God like the two others, nor even a Minor Prophet. Yet he, as the Successor of Bahá’u’lláh, was endued with supernatural abilities. As part of his functions, he was invested with the authority to interpret the Word of God infallibly. In this capacity, he revealed many more prayers that form part of the sacred writings of the Bahá’í Faith. Here are a couple of his prayers:

Prayer for Stress and Anxiety

O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers. I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being. O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.

O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord.

Prayer for the Departed

O my God! O Thou forgiver of sins, bestower of gifts, dispeller of afflictions!

Verily, I beseech Thee to forgive the sins of such as have abandoned the physical garment and have ascended to the spiritual world.

O my Lord! Purify them from trespasses, dispel their sorrows, and change their darkness into light. Cause them to enter the garden of happiness, cleanse them with the most pure water, and grant them to behold Thy splendors on the loftiest mount.

This is a general prayer for the dead. Some other Bahá’í prayers for the dead are of more specific use.

Close-up photo of a woman praying

Close-up photo of a woman praying

Prayer vs. Medicine

It must be highlighted at this stage that Bahá’ís do not see prayers as an all-sufficient cure for sicknesses or an all-encompassing antidote to public health emergencies such as the current Covid-19 pandemic. On the contrary, Bahá’ís are passionate believers in the principle of the harmony of science and religion. Hence, they strongly advocate the need for these two mighty systems of human knowledge to walk hand in hand at all times.

In our present circumstances, that means respecting health protocols devised by medical experts to stem the spread of the virus while also adhering to spiritual imperatives. Furthermore, it means availing oneself of approved medical interventions when sick while also resorting to prayers as an aid to healing. It is not one or the other. Having recourse to both systems should offer a more holistic path to healing.

A health official at work

A health official at work

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Kobina Amissah-Fynn

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