Thursday, May 06, 2010

National Day of Prayer 2010


You may or may not be aware that May 6th is the National Day of Prayer. Below is a selection from President Obama's proclamation:

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

Throughout our history, whether in times of great joy and thanksgiving, or in times of great challenge and uncertainty, Americans have turned to prayer. In prayer, we have expressed gratitude and humility, sought guidance and forgiveness, and received inspiration and assistance, both in good times and in bad.

On this day, let us give thanks for the many blessings God has bestowed upon our Nation. Let us rejoice for the blessing of freedom both to believe and to live our beliefs, and for the many other freedoms and opportunities that bring us together as one Nation. Let us ask for wisdom, compassion, and discernment of justice as we address the great challenges of our time.

We are blessed to live in a Nation that counts freedom of conscience and free exercise of religion among its most fundamental principles, thereby ensuring that all people of goodwill may hold and practice their beliefs according to the dictates of their consciences. Prayer has been a sustaining way for many Americans of diverse faiths to express their most cherished beliefs, and thus we have long deemed it fitting and proper to publicly recognize the importance of prayer on this day across the Nation. (Read the whole thing here).

I will leave it to others to debate the various controversies surrounding the National Day of Prayer. As I've said before, prayer is too precious to be politicized in my humble opinion. Instead I wanted to dedicate this post to providing the opportunity for readers to share their thoughts and experiences related to prayer. I'm particularly curious to hear what kinds of things people are praying for/about right now. I understand that this is a very personal thing so appreciate if some of you are hesitant to do this but you're welcome to if you wish. I'll start.

I've been under a great deal of stress lately, particularly related to my job. I've been praying a lot for divine assistance and protection and the courage to overcome my fear and despair. I think that my favorite prayer during these times of tests has been the following:

"My God, my Adored One, my King, my Desire! What tongue can voice my thanks to Thee? I was heedless, Thou didst awaken me. I had turned back from Thee, Thou didst graciously aid me to turn towards Thee. I was as one dead, Thou didst quicken me with the water of life. I was withered, Thou didst revive me with the heavenly stream of Thine utterance which hath flowed forth from the Pen of the All-Merciful.

O Divine Providence! All existence is begotten by Thy bounty; deprive it not of the waters of Thy generosity, neither do Thou withhold it from the ocean of Thy mercy. I beseech Thee to aid and assist me at all times and under all conditions, and seek from the heaven of Thy grace Thine ancient favor. Thou art, in truth, the Lord of bounty, and the Sovereign of the kingdom of eternity."
(Baha'u'llah, Prayers and Meditations by Baha'u'llah, p. 264)

Another prayer that has offered comfort speaks to the meaning and purpose of tests and difficulties in life:

"THOU knowest full well, O my God, that tribulations have showered upon me from all directions and that no one can dispel or transmute them except Thee. I know of a certainty, by virtue of my love for Thee, that Thou wilt never cause tribulations to befall any soul unless Thou desirest to exalt his station in Thy celestial Paradise and to buttress his heart in this earthly life with the bulwark of Thine all-compelling power, that it may not become inclined toward the vanities of this world. Indeed Thou art well aware that under all conditions I would cherish the remembrance of Thee far more than the ownership of all that is in the heavens and on the earth...

Verily I swear by Thy glory that I yearn for naught besides Thyself, nor do I desire anything except Thy mercy, nor am I apprehensive of aught save Thy justice. I beg Thee to forgive me as well as those whom Thou lovest, howsoever Thou pleasest. Verily Thou art the Almighty, the Bountiful. Immensely exalted art Thou, O Lord of the heavens and earth, above the praise of all men, and may peace be upon Thy faithful servants and glory be unto God, the Lord of all the worlds." (The Bab, Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 214)

Alright reader, now it's your turn.


No comments:

Post a Comment