“Praise be to God, thy heart is engaged in the commemoration of God, thy soul is gladdened by the glad tidings of God and thou art absorbed in prayer. The state of prayer is the best of conditions…”
Service and worship are at the heart of the pattern of community life that Bahá’ís around the world are trying to bring into being. They are two distinct, yet inseparable elements that propel the life of the community forward. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá writes that, “Success and prosperity depend upon service to and worship of God”.
Prayer is integral to Bahá’í life, whether at the level of the individual, the community, or the institutions. Bahá’ís turn their hearts in prayer to God repeatedly throughout the day—imploring His assistance, supplicating Him on behalf of loved ones, offering praise and gratitude, and seeking divine confirmations and guidance. In addition, meetings of consultation and gatherings where friends have come together to undertake one or another project commonly begin and end with prayers.
Bahá’ís also host gatherings in which friends, Bahá’ís and others alike, unite together in prayer, often in one another’s homes. Devotional meetings such as these serve to awaken spiritual susceptibilities within the participants, and in concert with the acts of service they perform, lead to a pattern of community life that is infused with the spirit of devotion and focused on the attainment of spiritual and material prosperity.
The integration of devotion and service finds expression in the institution of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár. The structure comprises a central building that forms the focal point of worship in a geographical area, and dependencies dedicated to the provision of education, healthcare and other services concerned with the social and economic progress of the community. Although there are but a few Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs in the world today, the seeds for their eventual establishment are being planted in an increasing number of communities, and in the future every locality will benefit from such a physical structure.