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English Sources and Authenticity of Fifteen Prayers in the Dutch Prayer Book Bahá'í Gebeden

by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice

2001-10-22

The Research Department has studied the email message of 12 July 2001 and its attachments from Mr. ... Mr. … presents a table he has generated that contains cross-references for prayers revealed by the Central Figures of the Faith that are published in English prayer books and the Dutch prayer book Bahá'í Gebeden. He has also compiled prayers published in other sources and asks if there are more prayer or sources that he might add and if he has made any mistakes. He also provides a compilation containing a “rough translation” into English of fifteen prayers in the Dutch prayer book. He has been unable to identify any English sources for these prayers and he asks for assistance. Finally, he requests a copy of “your ‘list of prayers for which no authorized text exist.’”. The following is our response.

The Research Department has perused the materials Mr. … has developed; however, we do not have the resources to do a careful study for accuracy or to suggest additional prayers and sources which he might include.

Regarding a list of prayers for which no authorized text exists, the Research Department has never prepared such a list. Perhaps Mr. … has in mind a list that the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States compiled from information it had received over the years from this Department. This list was published in The American Bahá'í, Mashíyyat B.E. 149/September 27, 1992, page 14. In view of his interest, a photocopy of the article is attached.

Regarding sources for the fifteen prayers in question in Bahá'í Gebeden, we provide below the English text and source for each prayer, and have numbered them in the order in which they appear in his attachment “Fifteen Bahá'í Prayers in Dutch without (?) English Source”. The page number given in the attribution for each prayer relates to the particular edition listed in the bibliography. The question of authenticity is addressed in the attributions for prayers 2,4 and 15. Since no original versions of prayers 2 and 4 have yet been found, their authenticity cannot be verified, and prayer 4 is no longer included in English prayer books. Prayer 15 is not to be considered authentic because apparently the original source for it is the notes of a pilgrim.

(1)

I implore Thee, O my Lord, by Thy name the splendors of which have encompassed the earth and the heavens, to enable me so to surrender my will to what Thou hast decreed in Thy Tablets, that I may cease to discover within me any desire except what Thou didst desire through the power of Thy sovereignty, and any will save what Thou didst destine for me by Thy will.

(Prayers and Meditations, CL, p.241)

(2)

Glory is Thine, O my God, and praise is to Thee, O my Lord! I ask Thee, by Thy Name which manifests Thy power and Thy strength, to purify the mirrors of the hearts of Thy servants from the dross of doubt and uncertainty, and to lead the wandering souls to Thy light, so that they may realize Thy Oneness and acknowledge Thy Singleness. O my God! There is no refuge save Thee, and there is no pathway but leads to Thine abode. When Thy people learn of Thee, O God, they will not leave Thy way. Help them to remain constant and faithful while on this journey to Thee, so that they may reach Thy Kingdom and attain Thy will.

Thou art the Almighty, the Merciful.

(Some Bahá'í Prayers, no. 60, pp. 61-2; attributed to Bahá'u'lláh, no original found)

(3)

I beg of Thee, O my God, by Thy most exalted Word which Thou hast ordained as the Divine Elixir unto all who are in Thy realm, the Elixir through whose potency the crude metal of human life hath been transmuted into purest gold, O Thou in Whose hands are both the visible and invisible kingdoms, to ordain that my choice be conformed to Thy choice and my wish to Thy wish, that I may be entirely content with that which Thou didst desire, and be wholly satisfied with what Thou didst destine for me by Thy bounteousness and favor. Potent art Thou to do as Thou willest. Thou, in very truth, art the All-Glorious, the All-Wise.

(Prayers and Meditations, XXXVIII, p.54)

(4)

O my Glorious Lord! Help me to refrain from ever irregular inclination; to subdue every rebelious passion; to purify the motives of my conduct; to conform myself to that meekness which no provocation can ruffle; to that patience which no affliction can overwhelm; to that integrity which no self-interest can shake; that I may be qualified to serve Thee and to teach Thy Word.

(Some Bahá'í Prayers, no. 72, p.77; attributed to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, no original found and its authenticity is in question)

(5)

O Thou Almighty! I am a sinner, but Thou art the Forgiver! I am full of shortcomings, but Thou art the Compassionate! I am in the darkness of error, but Thou art the Light of Pardon!

Therefore, O Thou Benevolent God, forgive my sins, grant Thy Bestowals, overlook my faults, provide for me a shelter, immerse me in the Fountain of Thy Patience and heal me of all sickness and disease.

Purify and sanctify me. Give me a portion from the outpouring of holiness, so that sorrow and sadness may vanish, joy and happiness descend, despondency and hopelessness be changed into cheerfulness and trustfulness, and courage take the place of fear.

Verily Thou art the Forgiver, the Compassionate, and Thou art the Generous, the Beloved!

(Prayer of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era, p.99)

(6)

Say: Glory be to Thee Who hast caused all the holy Ones to confess their helplessness before the manifold revelations of Thy might, and every Prophet to acknowledge His nothingness at the effulgence of Thine abiding glory. I beseech Thee, by Thy name that hath unlocked the gates of Heaven and filled with ecstasy the Concourse on high, to enable me to serve Thee, in this Day, and to strengthen me to observe that which Thou didst prescribe in Thy Book. Thou knowest, O my Lord, what is in me; but I know not what is in Thee. Thou art the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.

(Gleanings, XXIII, p.59)

(7)

O Thou kind Lord! Grant that these trees may become the adornment of the Abhá Paradise. Cause them to grow through Thy celestial bounty. Make them fresh and verdant, and besprinkle them with heavenly dewdrops. Attire them with robes of radiant beauty, and crown their heads with gorgeous blossoms. Adorn them with goodly fruit, and waft over them Thy sweet savours.

Thou art the Bestower, the All-Loving, the Most Radiant, the Most Resplendent.

(Prayer of 'Abdu'l-Bahá translated from Persian, pulished in O God, My God… Bahá'í Prayers and Tablets for Children and Youth, p.18)

(8)

Praise and glory be to Thee, O Lord my God!

This is a choice sapling which Thou hast planted in the meads of Thy love and hast nurtured with the fingers of Thy Lordship. Thou hast watered it from the well-spring of everlasting life which streameth forth from the gardens of Thy oneness, and Thou hast caused the clouds of Thy tender mercy to shower Thy favours upon it. It hath now grown and developed beneath the shelter of Thy blessings which are manifest from the Dayspring of Thy divine essence. It hath burst forth into leaves and blossoms, is laden with fruit through the providence of Thy wondrous gifts and bounties and is stirred by the fragrant breeze wafting from the direction of Thy loving-kindness.

O Lord! Cause this sapling to become verdant, fresh and flourishing by the outpourings of Thy special bounty and favour, wherewith Thou hast endued the tabernacles of holiness in Thy eternal kingdom and hast adorned the essences of unity in the arena of reunion.

O Lord! Assist him through Thy strengthening grace which proceedeth from Thine invisible kingdom, aid him with such hosts as are hidden from the eyes of Thy servants and grant that he may have a sure footing in Thy presence. Unloose his tongue to make mention of Thee and gladden his heart to celebrate Thy praise. Illumine his face in Thy kingdom, prosper him in the realm above and graciously confirm him to serve Thy Cause.

Thou art the All-Powerful, the All-Glorious, the Omnipotent.

Prayer of 'Abdu'l-Bahá translated from Arabic, published in O God, My God… Bahá'í Prayers and Tablets for Children and Youth, pp.8-9)

(9)

O Lord! I am a child; enable me to grow beneath the shadow of Thy loving-kindness. I am a tender plant; cause me to be nurtured through the outpourings of the clouds of Thy bounty. I am a sapling of the garden of love; make me into a fruitful tree.

Thou art the Mighty and the Powerful, and Thou art the All-Loving, the All-Knowing, the All-Seeing.

(Prayer of 'Abdu'l-Bahá translated from Persian, pulished in O God, My God… Bahá'í Prayers and Tablets for Children and Youth, p.11)

(10)

I beg of Thee, O my God, by Thy power, and Thy might, and Thy sovereignty, which have embraced all who are in Thy heaven and on Thy earth, to make known unto Thy servants this luminous Way and this straight Path, that they may acknowledge Thy unity and Thy oneness, with a certainty which the vain imaginations of the doubters will not impair, nor the idle fancies of the wayward obscure….

(Prayers and Meditations, CLXXVI, p.275)

(11)

Darkness hath encompassed every land, O my God, and caused most of Thy servants to tremble. I beseech Thee, by Thy Most Great Name, to raise in every city a new creation that shall turn towards Thee, and shall remember Thee amidst Thy servants, and shall unfurl by virtue of their utterances and wisdom the ensigns of Thy victory, and shall detach themselves from all created things.

Potent art Thou to do Thy pleasure. No God is there but Thee, the Most Powerful, He Whose help is implored by all men.

(Prayers and Meditations, CII, p.171)

(12)

Tear asunder, O my God, the veil of vain imaginings that hath obscured the vision of Thy people, that all may haste towards Thee, may tread the path of Thy pleasure, and walk in the ways of Thy Faith….

(Prayers and Meditations, LXIII, p.102)

(13)

Say: O God, my God! Thou beholdest me circling round Thy Will with mine eyes turned towards the horizon of Thy bounty, eagerly awaiting the revelation of the effulgent splendours of the sun of Thy favours. I beg of Thee, O Beloved of every understanding heart and the Desire of such as have near access unto Thee, to grant that Thy loved ones may become wholly detached from their own inclinations, holding fast unto that which pleaseth Thee. Attire them, O Lord, with the robe of righteousness and illumine them with the splendours of the light of detachment. Summon then to their assistance the hosts of wisdom and utterance that they may exalt Thy Word amongst Thy creatures and proclaim Thy Cause amidst Thy servants. Verily, potent art Thou to do what Thou willest, and within Thy grasp lie the reins of all affairs. No God is there but Thee, the Mighty, the Ever-Forgiving.

(Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh, p.59)

(14)

Grant, O my Lord, that they who have ascended unto Thee may repair unto Him Who is the most exalted Companion, and abide beneath the shadow of the Tabernacle of Thy majesty and the Sanctuary of Thy glory. Sprinkle, O my Lord, upon them from the ocean of Thy forgiveness what will make them worthy to abide, so long as Thine own sovereignty endureth, within Thy most exalted kingdom and Thine all-highest dominion. Potent art Thou to do what pleaseth Thee.

(Prayers and Meditations, CLXXVI, p.279)

(15)

O God! Assist me with the hosts of the Supreme Concourse and make me firm and steadfast in the Covenant and Testament. I am weak in the Covenant and the Testament, confer upon me strength; I am poor, bestow upon me wealth from the treasury of the Kingdom; I am ignorant, open before my face the doors of knowledge; I am dead, breathe into me the breath of life; I am dumb, grant me an eloquent tongue so that with a fluent expression I may raise the call of thy Kingdom and guide all to the firmness of thy Covenant. Thou art the Generous, the Giver, and the Mighty!

(Star of the West, vol.VIII, no.17 (January 19, 1918), p.228; attributed to 'Abdu'l-Bahá and source given is “…notes of an American pilgrim to 'Abdu'l-Bahá while in Dublin, N.H., July 1912”; not to be considered authentic)

See attachment on Inauthentic Tablets: The American Bahá'í, Mashíyyat B.E. 149/September 27, 1992, page 14

Bibliography

  1. Prayers and Meditations by Bahá'u'lláh (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1987).
  2. Some Bahá'í Prayers, a Selection (London: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1951).
  3. J.E. Esslemont, Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era, 5th rev. ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1980).
  4. Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1994).
  5. O God, My God… Bahá'í Prayers and Tablets for Children and Youth, revised ed. (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1984).
  6. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh revealed after the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1997).
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