Bahai News - Baha'is pray for the departed, for healing, and for America

Baha'is pray for the departed, for healing, and for America

Atlanta, GA - 12 September 2001 - Members of the Baha'i Faith, like people all around the world, grieve for the victims and families of all those who were affected by the terrorist attacks on the United States yesterday. Responding to the requests for prayers, individual Baha'is and many who assembled in groups around metro Atlanta turned to specific prayers their religion provides.

A number of prayer vigils are being organized by Baha'is in and around metro Atlanta; the first will occur at the Baha'i Unity Center tonight beginning at 6 p.m. The Baha'i Unity Center is located at 2370 Wesley Chapel Road in Decatur.

"It is difficult, if not impossible, for us to make sense of such tragic events," said Al Viller of Duluth. "Our only solace is to turn to God in prayer." Viller explained that many Baha'is turned to specific pages in their prayer book when tragedy struck. They said prayers for assistance and healing for the victims and their families, prayers for the departed for those who ascended to the spiritual world, and prayers for protection.

Additionally, many Baha'is said a special prayer for America that was written by the son of Baha'u'llah (whose name means the Glory of God), the Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith.

PRAYER FOR AMERICA

- "O Thou kind Lord! This gathering is turning to Thee. These hearts are radiant with Thy love. These minds and spirits are exhilarated by the message of Thy glad-tidings. O God! Let this American democracy become glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees, and render this just government victorious. Confirm this revered nation to upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity, to promulgate the Most Great Peace, to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the world. O God! This American nation is worthy of Thy favors and is deserving of Thy mercy. Make it precious and near to Thee through Thy bounty and bestowal."

As many people return to their daily lives, still overwhelmed, they will turn to God for answers, comfort, and protection. Baha'u'llah wrote a number of prayers for protection. "Whenever we travel," said Viller, "we say a prayer for protection. After it's said, we know that we are in God's care and 'Thy Will be done'."

"O God, my God! I have set out from my home, holding fast unto the cord of Thy love, and I have committed myself wholly to Thy care and Thy protection. I entreat Thee by Thy power through which Thou didst protect Thy loved ones from the wayward and the perverse, and from every contumacious oppressor, and every wicked doer who hath strayed far from hee, to keep me safe by Thy bounty and Thy grace. Enable me, then, to return to my home by Thy power and Thy might. Thou art, truly, the Almighty, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting."

Another prayer for protection written by Baha'u'llah's son, Abdu'l-Baha (whose name means "Servant of the Glory") addresses the tragic circumstances with which we are trying to deal:

"O my Lord! Thou knowest that the people are encircled with pain and calamities and are environed with hardships and trouble. Every trial doth attack man and every dire adversity doth assail him like unto the assault of a serpent. There is no shelter and asylum for him except under the wing of Thy protection, preservation, guard and custody.

O Thou the Merciful One! O my Lord! Make Thy protection my armor, Thy preservation my shield, humbleness before the door of Thy oneness my guard, and Thy custody and defense my fortress and my abode. Preserve me from the suggestions of self and desire, and guard me from every sickness, trial, difficulty and ordeal.

Verily, Thou art the Protector, the Guardian, the Preserver, the Sufficer, and verify, Thou art the Merciful of the Most Merciful."

Additionally, Baha'i prayer books may be obtained by contacting weare1@atlantabahai.org. Other Baha'i prayers may be found on the web at http://www.bahaiprayers.org/

For more information about the Baha'i Faith, visit www.us.bahai.org or www.atlantabahai.org.

About the Baha'i Faith:

In just over 100 years, the Baha'i Faith has grown from an obscure movement in the Middle East to the second-most widespread religion after Christianity, with over five million members in 235 countries and dependent territories. Embracing people from more than 2,100 ethnic, racial, and tribal groups, it is probably the most diverse organized body of people in the world today. Its founder, Baha'u'llah or "the Glory of God" (1817-1892), teaches that there is only one God, that there is only one human race, and that all the world's religions have been stages in the revelation of God's purpose for humankind. As Baha'u'llah wrote: "The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens".

Baha'is in the United States:

Baha'i membership in the United States reflects the racial and cultural diversity of the American population. Baha'is reside in approximately 7,000 localities, including over 100 Indian reservations. There are approximately 144,000 Baha'is and over 1,100 local governing councils in the United States. Approximately 2,000 reside in Metro Atlanta.

References to the Baha'i Faith should appear in printed publication with both the words Baha'i and Faith beginning with initial capital letters (i.e., the Baha'i Faith). For more information about the Baha'i Faith, visit www.atlantabahai.org and click on NEWS CENTER.

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