You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘Prayer power’ tag.

(US, MT, 7 August)

This was reported from one of a range of courses offered at this Bahá’í School recently. 

♣ ♣ ♣ 

Consolidation was implemented immediately. Two people who live in Karen’s hometown made plans to enfold her into the Bahá’í community with a welcome reception as soon as school ended.
 
Karen became very emotional reading the words of Bahá’u’lláh. By the end of the presentation, she was ready to be a Bahá’í and signed an enrollment card.
 
In one class, participants were encouraged to memorize the first paragraph of Anna’s presentation from Ruhi Book 6, Teaching the Cause. The instructor, H., soon had a living example of the importance of being prepared.
 
As she visited the kitchen for a pitcher of coffee, the cook, Karen, impressed by the friendliness and unity she had observed, asked, “Who are you people?” Without hesitation, H. invited the kitchen staff to attend the classroom session, where she gave the presentation while the rest of the class provided prayer support.
  

  * * * * * *

 

Youth pyramid, complete with Ruhi themed t-shirts at the John Wilcott Bahá’í School 2008

* * * * * *

The purpose of religion as revealed from the heaven of God’s holy Will is to establish unity and concord amongst the peoples of the world; make it not the cause of dissension and strife. The religion of God and His divine law are the most potent instruments and the surest of all means for the dawning of the light of unity amongst men. The progress of the world, the development of nations, the tranquillity of peoples, and the peace of all who dwell on earth are among the principles and ordinances of God. Religion bestoweth upon man the most precious of all gifts, offereth the cup of prosperity, imparteth eternal life, and showereth imperishable benefits upon mankind.

– Bahá’u’lláh, ToB p. 129-30

 * * * * * * 

(Emphasis added. This story is excerpted from an article originally published in the online edition of The American Bahá’í, and is republished by permission. Text and photo is copyright the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States) (http://tab.usbnc.org/ContentPage.aspx?id=20080&LangType=1033)

 

(US, VA, 23 July)

This is a remarkable report that illustrates how the confirmations from on High will shower upon whoever arises to carry out Bahá’u’lláh’s weighty ordinance to teach the children of the world. Specifically, it is about learning to apply the guidance given to us by the Universal House of Justice in the form of the Ruhi Institute course (Book 3) ‘Teaching Children’s Classes’.

With prayer, a group of teachers try to start a children’s class and one forms almost spontaneously! The openness of the families and the enthusiasm of the students are truly delightful.

While the door-to-door teaching was going on, two adults, four youth, and two children gathered at a small park on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. They set up picnic blankets in the shade under a tree and asked Baha’u’llah to send some children. Immediately, three boys approached the teachers and were invited to attend the children’s class. It turns out the mother of one of the boys had declared her belief in Bahá’u’lláh a couple months ago! They were very excited, so two Baha’i youth accompanied them to their homes, explained what the children’s classes were, and the parents and care-givers happily agreed to sign permission slips.

A few moments later, the teachers noticed some children in the front yard of a near-by home. Two Baha’i youth approached the mother, showed them the invitation to the children’s classes in Spanish, and received permission for her three children to join the class. Ten minutes later, the woman’s sister brought her two daughters to the class as well. So, within 15 minutes, there was a class of 8 children, all eagerly sitting on the picnic blankets ready for the class.

The teachers used the lessons from Ruhi Book 3 and taught the children a prayer, some songs, and a quotation by Baha’u’llah about unity. They ended the lessons with cooperative games and coloring. Two mothers stood nearby and enjoyed listening to the lesson and encouraging their children to participate. One mother rushed to her home in the middle of the lesson and came back with a pitcher of juice and some cups so all the children could have something to drink.

On Saturday, the children were asked to memorize the quotation by the next day. Sure enough, on Sunday, five children were completely prepared to share the quotation they had ALL memorized. All eight children who attended on Saturday came rushing back to the class the next day, ready for more, and all the children were invited to attend future classes as well. The children ranged in ages from 4 years to 10 years old, and they were all brilliant stars!

* * * * * * *

Children and their teacher in Colombia

* * * * * *

Man is the supreme Talisman. Lack of a proper education hath, however, deprived him of that which he doth inherently possess. Through a word proceeding out of the mouth of God he was called into being; by one word more he was guided to recognize the Source of his education; by yet another word his station and destiny were safeguarded. The Great Being saith: Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures, and enable mankind to benefit therefrom…

– Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 259-60

* * * * * *

(From an update from the Intensive Program of Growth in the A-stage Loudon County, VA cluster) (http://teaching.bahai.us/2008/07/another-gem-from-loudoun-county-va.html) (Image reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community)

Invitation to prayer, service to community, children as teachers, the effects of prayer, lessons learned

(US, MA, April)

The following is an exciting and discerning report from the first cycle of this”A” stage cluster in the northeast:

Over the last three weekends, 25 friends in the South Middlesex cluster have valiantly and joyfully arisen to share the news of Baha’u’llah throughout the cluster. Through personal teaching, home visits and door to door teaching, these friends have introduced hundreds of people in this cluster to the Faith of Baha’u’llah in the last two weeks. 145 souls have accepted the invitation to investigate the Faith and have asked for teachers to come back and visit with them to share with them more about these Glad Tidings. One eighty-two year “young” luminous soul, who we met this past weekend, became the first during this IPG to accept the message of Baha’u’llah and declare herself as His handmaiden.

* One team went out in their neighborhood in Marlborough. They found a Brazilian lady across the street from their home who invited them inside. Initially, the team invited them to prayers at their home, but finding the friend to be very receptive and interested in learning more, pulled out Anna’s presentation and began offering it. Not blinking at the sight of “a flipchart being pulled out of nowhere”, she listened with an open heart to the presentation. At page 22, her friend arrived–she had apparently been scheduled to leave for another meeting. She repeatedly begged the teaching team to remember where they were in the presentation so they could learn more… The team promised to return the next day.

* A third team went to the home of a seeker whose children are in children’s classes in Lexington. This family took them throughout the neighborhood and introduced them to all of their neighbors. The Bahá’í “Peacemaker kids-group” decided to return to the neighborhood to help some of the older residents and one disabled woman with their yards as a service. The spirit of love and community that was created was unimaginable–and people naturally began to ask more about the Faith. Three teachers returned to share Anna’s presentation with the original seekers and were met with an incredible receptivity

* We had a children’s cluster meeting at the same time as our adult cluster meeting and the children created their own personal teaching plans for who they would like to teach. A five year old decided that he was going to share the Faith with his babysitter. Well, the next week his father learned that their nanny was in fact interested in learning more and decided to invite her to a fireside in Lexington the following weekend. She came and was incredibly attracted to the Faith. She has decided to investigate the Faith further and is coming to her first study circle tonight!

 

Lessons learned:  

 

* the power of prayer – this has turned out to be the most important teaching tool we have. There are countless stories of teams that were struggling about where to go, prayed, and then immediately found the receptive soul. This is first and foremost a spiritual process. One team was not meeting success and decided to pray in the stairwell. As they were finishing, a young man approached the mailboxes in front of them wearing a big “19” on their shirt. His name was Israel and after listening to Anna’s presentation, he has become one of the seekers who is interested in learning more.

* we cannot find receptive souls if we do not prepare ourselves for the possibility and arise to teach them. The number of people we have taught in the last two weeks is far greater than the number we have taught in probably the last several years combined. During these teaching days, more and more people have arisen in this path. The unity and love they have created in their relationships is truly palpable. By the end of this expansion phase, one in six people in this cluster had taken part in this process, most people multiple times.

* we have learned that in certain neighborhoods, door to door teaching is a very effective way to share the Faith in our cluster. In Framingham, we learned that one-in-four to one-in-six people who answered their doors, depending on the neighborhood, were interested in hearing more about the Faith and readily gave their contact information–and the rest were in general incredibly polite, and often wished us well. In neighborhoods where the friends had formed some bonds of friendship already, the reception was of course far friendlier.

* we learned the great value of starting with Anna’s presentation and sticking to it, whether it is during home visits or in the door to door setting. We have built enormous capacity in this cluster to do this and have learned in the field that this is one of the most effective ways to quickly develop a truly spiritual conversation and to share the fundamental verities of the Faith. We are finding that we have a much better sense very quickly whether someone is truly interested in learning more.

* we learned the importance of inviting people to accept the Faith. Our task is to offer the Faith as if it were a “jewel to a king.” This means we have to offer it completely (and not just say, “I’ll bring the jewel back for you to see next time!”). This past weekend, we found a Catholic woman, Rose, and her mother, Viola, who received Anna’s presentation with great interest. The mother kept nodding and reading the sacred word with great wonder. At the end of the presentation, they prayed and were invited to consider in their hearts whether this was the Spirit of Truth and whether they would like to join the Baha’i Faith. Rose immediately said she would need to investigate further, but Viola, after looking at her askance a couple of times, said well, I would like to fill out one of those cards and become a Baha’i.” She then turned to her daughter and said, “Are you sure you don’t want to take one of these cards and at least hold on to it?” We assured her that it was OK for her daughter to take her time to investigate and that we would return to share more about the Faith with both of them. They both gladly accepted this invitation.

It is between each soul and Baha’u’llah when they will accept the Faith. Our job is merely to offer the invitation to the Divine Garden.

 

* * * * * *

The Baha'i House of Worship in Sydney, Australia.

The Baha’i House of Worship in Sydney, Australia.

* * * * * *

O My beloved friends! You are the bearers of the name of God in this Day…. You are the lowly, of whom God has thus spoken in His Book: “And We desire to show favour to those who were brought low in the land, and to make them spiritual leaders among men, and to make them Our heirs.” You have been called to this station; you will attain to it, only if you arise to trample beneath your feet every earthly desire, and endeavour to become those “honoured servants of His who speak not till He hath spoken, and who do His bidding”.… Heed not your weaknesses and frailty; fix your gaze upon the invincible power of the Lord, your God, the Almighty…. Arise in His name, put your trust wholly in Him, and be assured of ultimate victory.

The Báb, quoted in Century of Light, p. 53

* * * * * *

(Report from the the expansion phase of So. Middlesex County (MA) cluster, taken from a report from expansion phases in the northeast distributed by the Regional Baha’i Council of the Northeastern States by e-mail 19 May 2008 ) (Image reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community)

Connecting hearts and souls

(US, DC, 9 June)

Here are three highly inspiring stories of teaching encounters by experienced teachers in teams in this “A” stage cluster. They clearly illustrate the working of unseen spiritual forces that are released when the believers unitedly arise for the triumph of the Cause of the Bahá’u’lláh!

We arrived at this house last. I personally was praying to Bahá’u’lláh that I not be distracted the bit of hunger and fatigue I was feeling. As soon as we knocked on the door, a man and his two children appeared. His radiance dispelled any thoughts I had about sleep or food.

He greeted us warmly, stepped out to the porch and his next question was, “So what is this Bahá’í Faith anyways?” My teaching partner began the presentation and there was a flow of warmth and camaraderie between the two men. I began to pray, imagining that ‘Abdu’l-Baha was standing between the two men with his hand on both of their hearts serving as a conduit for Bahá’u’lláh’s love.

As we proceeded with the presentation, he agreed with many of the concepts introduced, saying that he always knew there was one religion, one human family, and one God. He seemed visibly touched by the picture of Bahá’u’lláh’s chains and when asked if he thought Bahá’u’lláh was one of the mirrors he said, “If Christ is a mirror then Bahá’u’lláh is too.”

We talked about getting back together soon. We were impressed with his compassion. We all embraced and departed.

A second story:

Our teaching team came across one person. We proceeded to present the presentation to him and he seemed rather engaged, really looking over the pictures and listening intently to the quotes. We made it through the section about the life of Bahá’u’lláh and asked if he thought Bahá’u’lláh might be one of these Manifestations sent to guide us. He nodded yes and we asked if he would like to join us in our mission to unify mankind and he said yes.

So we continued with more on the history of the Faith and some further principles. After hearing more about the life of Bahá’u’lláh and some further teachings, he suddenly had a look of intensity and started to look around for the declaration card. He really wanted to sign it. It was as though his soul was recognizing the truth before it—as though it had been waiting for this—and he was suddenly very intent about signing the card. He clearly understood the significance of this act and it was a moving event to witness. It conveyed to us that the soul is so aware of what is happening and is always ready to recognize it’s Creator.

We gave this man the Gift of Prayers and said the Obligatory prayer with him before moving on in our teaching. A few porches down we had another long adventure—this time with my teaching partner doing the presentation. From the porch I could see the gentleman that had just embraced the Cause. The entire 30 minutes that we were engaging with the next group, he was reading the Gift of Prayer with all of its prayers and Writings; he never put the book down.

And a third:

We were standing outside a lovely home, and a kind man came down the stairs in response to the bell ring. We introduced ourselves and shared with him that we are Bahá’ís and would like to share with him about the Bahá’í [Faith]. He invited us into his home and said that he was feeding his wife who was a little ill. Together we held hands and shared the short healing prayer by Bahá’u’lláh, and he shared his own prayer as well.

We asked if we could share the presentation and they agreed, so we started sharing Anna’s presentation, and as each page went by and each beautiful quote was read, he was agreeing more and more.

We asked him if he believed that Bahá’u’lláh was one of the Manifestations from God, one of these perfect mirrors that we had spoken of earlier, and he said yes. It was a wonderful conversation and spiritual moment. We asked if we could finish the presentation with them and both of them said “yes!”. At the end of the presentation, both he and his wife declared.

* * * * * *

Monument of the Greatest Holy Leaf

Monument of the Greatest Holy Leaf

* * * * * *
The ordinances of God have been sent down from the heaven of His most august Revelation. All must diligently observe them. Man’s supreme distinction, his real advancement, his final victory, have always depended, and will continue to depend, upon them. Whoso keepeth the commandments of God shall attain everlasting felicity.


A twofold obligation resteth upon him who hath recognized the Day Spring of the Unity of God, and acknowledged the truth of Him Who is the Manifestation of His oneness. The first is steadfastness in His love, such steadfastness that neither the clamor of the enemy nor the claims of the idle pretender can deter him from cleaving unto Him Who is the Eternal Truth, a steadfastness that taketh no account of them whatever. The second is strict observance of the laws He hath prescribed—laws which He hath always ordained, and will continue to ordain, unto men, and through which the truth may be distinguished and separated from falsehood.

– Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings, CXXXIII
* * * * * *

(Adapted from a posting at teaching.bahai.us: http://teaching.bahai.us/2008/06/here-are-three-recent-stories-of.html) (Image reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community)

(US, NYC, 16 April)

Reported from the first weekend of New York City cluster’s expansion phase:

…perhaps the greatest “success” was the incredible spirit of unity and love that was cultivated among the friends who participated in the teaching efforts… Over 500 doors were knocked on, and, over the course of only three days, 20 souls entered the Cause of God. And this is only the beginning!

Before going out to teach, the teams prayed fervently that Bahá’u’lláh would guide them to souls who were ready to receive the message.

Of a certainty, guidance was given: While sharing the Faith with a young man in a Washington Heights park, the teacher discovered that she had taught the faith to the man’s father in Ecuador several decades ago! Another teaching team approached a security guard of a high-rise building, requesting permission to enter.

It turned out that the security guard had been a Bahá’í in the Dominican Republic in the 1980’s, but after migrating to the States, had lost touch with the community, and had no idea that there were Bahá’ís in New York City, let alone in his very neighborhood.

On Saturday a team visited a Jamaican family in Brooklyn. The mother was interested but asked if they’d come back Sunday. On Sunday the mother wasn’t home but the team gave the presentation to the father and his 8 year old son. Both enrolled. Last night, the team returned and the mother and two daughters enrolled. Now we have a whole family that has stepped into the Cause. They are so happy and excited. The two older children sat and listened to the entire presentation and asked if they could be Baha’is. The son had a friend visiting who kept asking if he was ready to play a video game but the son said “Not right now. I’m learning about God.”

(From a report shared by the Regional Bahá’í Council of the Northeastern States after NYC’s launch of Cycle 12 of their Intensive Program of Growth. Used with the Council’s permission.)

* * * * * * * *

O Lord! Grant Thine infinite bestowals, and let the light of Thy guidance shine.

—‘Abdu’l-Bahá, BP 100

* * * * * * * *

In this year’s Ridván message the House of Justice directs our attention to “the qualities that [must] distinguish our service to the peoples of the world,” qualities that will determine the success of our teaching efforts:

So free must be your thoughts and actions of any trace of prejudice—racial, religious, economic, national, tribal, class, or cultural—that even the stranger sees in you a loving friend.

So high must be your standard of excellence and so pure and chaste your lives that the moral influence you exert penetrates the consciousness of the wider community.

Only if you demonstrate the rectitude of conduct to which the writings of the Faith call every soul will you be able to struggle against the myriad forms of corruption, overt and subtle, eating at the vitals of society.

Only if you perceive honour and nobility in every human being—this independent of wealth or poverty—will you be able to champion the cause of justice.

Finally, the House assures us: “As you press ahead, be confident that the Concourse on High is marshalling its forces and stands ready to come to your aid. Our continued prayers will surround you.”

The Seat of the Universal House of Justice on Mount Carmel. This building houses the international governing council of the worldwide Bahá’� community.

Is there any more “time to lose”?

* * * * * * * *
Lord!
Feeble are we, strengthen us to diffuse the fragrances of Thy Holiness;
poor, enrich us from the treasures of Thy Divine Unity;
naked, clothe us with the robe of Thy bounty;
sinful, forgive us our sins by Thy grace, Thy favor and Thy pardon.
Thou art, verily, the Aider, the Helper, the Gracious, the Mighty, the Powerful.
The glory of glories rest upon them that are fast and firm.

—‘Abdu’l-Bahá, (BP, 202)

* * * * * * * *

(Ridván 2008 message)

(Image reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community)

(US, WA, April)

Report from a teaching campaign in this “A” stage cluster:

A team of one Adult and one Youth knocked on a door. [A mother opened, and] the youth immediately began praying from his prayer book! The TV was on and a 3-year-old played close by. The team stayed focused on giving all of Anna’s Presentation. When asked if she had any questions, she replied, “No, but I like what I am hearing!” When the last page of the presentation was given and she was asked, “Do you believe in Bahá’u’lláh and His message?” She said “yes” and the teacher quickly began filling in her card with name, address etc. She took the card and corrected the date and signed her name. This was a third attempt to follow up. Persistence, love, and prayers for Divine Assistance = Declaration! A follow up visit included 2 friends, having just completed Ruhi Book 2, who gave the first deepening theme on the Eternal Covenant.

* * * * * * * *

With hearts overflowing with the love of God, with tongues commemorating the mention of God, with eyes turned to the Kingdom of God, they must deliver the Glad Tidings of the manifestation of the Lord of Hosts to all the people.

– ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

(http://www.bahai-library.org/compilations/guidelines.teaching.html)

(Report from Pierce County – Metro Tacoma IPG, “The Hilltop Teaching Campaign”. Used with permission)

Olive trees in the gardens around the Shrine of Bahá’u’lláh

The power of prayer (USA, Southern region, 28 April)

Here is a moving story from one of the friends in an A cluster in the southern region, during a collective teaching project. This account of a couple’s declaration is a testament to the power of prayer, patience and confidence:

As my teaching team partner and I were walking around the complex we kept running into a man who was very friendly. Then we saw him in his house and my heart guided me to say “Hi” since his door was wide open. So we then introduced ourselves and very enthusiastically, but respectfully, said to the man and his wife: “We are here to share a beautiful message with you on unity and love and I would be most happy to give you this wonderful presentation.”

They welcomed us into their home. The couple sat in their living room while I started the presentation. While I spoke, my teaching partner silently recited the Tablet of Ahmad. This is an important learning for me. Prayer is the essential component because it helps one find receptive souls and be in tune with them when teaching.

During the presentation, the husband said, “I love this because Bahá’u’lláh championed the cause of justice, helped the poor, and the goal is unity.” With the help of the Concourse on High and my teaching partner’s prayers, I gave the rest of the presentation. I then invited both of them into the Faith—and then invited them again. I showed them the enrolment card and explained that joining the Faith is a simple process. “If you feel that Bahá’u’lláh is the Manifestation of God, you are a Bahá’í.”

We welcomed them into the Faith as they both signed their enrolment cards. We presented them with a copy of a prayer and invited them to join a Ruhi 1 study circle. Before we left, at the couple’s suggestion, we shared a prayer together.

(http://teaching.bahai.us/2008/04/here-is-moving-story-from-one-of.html)

(Image reproduced with permission of the Bahá’í International Community)

Email subscription

Blog Stats

  • 87,484 hits
Visitor Map