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Bahá’í Prayers That Anyone Can Use in Times of Great Need

I write on diverse religious issues, often analysing perspectives from the Abrahamic faiths (Jewish, Christian, Islamic, and Bahá’í).

Finding time for prayer and quiet reflection

Finding time for prayer and quiet reflection

The Bahá’í Prayers

The Efficacy and Universality of Bahá’í Prayers

The efficacy of any prayer is generally conditioned on the religious background of the worshipper. In other words, devotees of the religion associated with a prayer will normally benefit more from it than others. The pivotal reason is to do with faith: A believer’s faith in the divine origin of the prayer—and hence its efficacy—will naturally be greater than that of an unbeliever.

Prayers in the Bahá’í Faith are no different from those of other religions in that respect. That notwithstanding, many of the Bahá’í prayers are of a universal nature and can thus be used by everyone irrespective of religious affiliation. Like many of the Psalms of the Old Testament, they can be used for meditation or as means of communicating directly with God without the need for an Intermediary.

This can be especially useful for those who feel a need to pray for whatever reason but don’t know how.

Worshippers loitering around the Baha'i Lotus Temple in Delhi, India

Worshippers loitering around the Baha'i Lotus Temple in Delhi, India

The Number and Diversity of Bahá’í Prayers

Bahá’í prayers are those revealed by the three Central Figures of the religion—described by adherents as: The Báb, Manifestation of God and Forerunner of Bahá’u’lláh; Bahá’u’lláh, the Manifestation of God for today and the Promised One of all religions; and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the successor of Bahá’u’lláh and authorised Interpreter of the Bahá’í Writings.

The Bahá’í Faith has more prayers than any other religion on earth. Literally numbered in the hundreds, they are for use in diverse settings and across a vast range of situations—such as morning, evening, family, forgiveness, healing, praise and gratitude, spiritual growth, tests, etc.

Our focus in this article, though, is on prayers that anyone can use in moments of distress or trouble, in times of difficulties, for protection from danger, for safety during travel, when burdened by grief or anxiety, or during fearful natural events.

Of course, prayers work best when accompanied by practical measures to address the issues at stake. In the final analysis, it is the combination of the two—practical measures bolstered by fervent prayers—that can ensure lasting relief.

(Note: A separate article on “Bahá’í Prayers for Healing and Health-Related Situations” can be located at

The gardens of the Baha'i Lotus Temple offer a conducive atmosphere for quiet reflection.

The gardens of the Baha'i Lotus Temple offer a conducive atmosphere for quiet reflection.

An Invocation for Times of Desperation

The invocation below is a one-liner, short and crisp. It can be used in all kinds of stressful situations and on occasions when one is in desperate need of spiritual comfort. While it may not necessarily remove the cause of the distress, it can give one a sense of inner peace and composure by infusing one’s soul with the love of God. Go ahead and repeat the following as many times as needed:

O God, my God, my Beloved, my heart’s Desire. (The Báb)

(Note: The name at the end of each prayer indicates its author.)

Finding peace in prayer

Finding peace in prayer

Prayers for Difficulties

Our life on earth is a rollercoaster of differing emotions. One moment it is joy and happiness, the next it’s all doom and gloom. Problems are followed by ease; ease is inevitably succeeded by problems.

That said, some problems never seem to go away. Such problems, especially those that are both intractable and intolerable, are best addressed not only at a practical level but also by recourse to a Higher Power.

When we pray to the Almighty for the alleviation of our difficulties, we aim for any of the following outcomes: We supplicate that God might either remove the difficulty entirely, lessen its impact, or simply help us to accept its baleful existence. We will succeed in the latter to the extent that we learn to align our will to God’s supreme will and be content with what He, in His infinite wisdom, ordains for us.

This is the intent of the following prayer for difficulties:

Is there any Remover of difficulties save God? Say: Praised be God! He is God! All are His servants, and all abide by His bidding! (The Báb)

The prayer can be repeated as many times as one may wish. The next prayer has a similar intent and can also be recited as many times as necessary:

Say: God sufficeth all things above all things, and nothing in the heavens or in the earth but God sufficeth. Verily, He is in Himself the Knower, the Sustainer, the Omnipotent. (The Báb)

Difficulties can often be overcome through prayer.

Difficulties can often be overcome through prayer.

A Prayer for Protection from Danger

You might be worried about your security—especially if you live in a dangerous neighbourhood or are required to move around, for work or whatever reason, at ungodly hours. In addition to all the reasonable precautions and robust measures you will naturally take to protect yourself, you might do well to also pray fervently for divine protection.

What follows is a relatively long but potent prayer for protection—the type you will always want to have by your side and to have recourse to on a regular basis:

In the Name of God, the Lord of overpowering majesty, the All-Compelling.

Hallowed be the Lord in Whose hand is the source of dominion. He createth whatsoever He willeth by His Word of command “Be,” and it is. His hath been the power of authority heretofore, and it shall remain His hereafter. He maketh victorious whomsoever He pleaseth, through the potency of His behest. He is in truth the Powerful, the Almighty. Unto Him pertaineth all glory and majesty in the kingdoms of Revelation and Creation and whatever lieth between them. Verily, He is the Potent, the All-Glorious. From everlasting He hath been the Source of indomitable strength and shall remain so unto everlasting. He is indeed the Lord of might and power. All the kingdoms of heaven and earth and whatever is between them are God’s, and His power is supreme over all things. All the treasures of earth and heaven and everything between them are His, and His protection extendeth over all things. He is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and whatever lieth between them, and He truly is a witness over all things. He is the Lord of Reckoning for all that dwell in the heavens and the earth and whatever is between them. Verily, He is the Supreme Protector. He holdeth in His grasp the keys of heaven and earth and of everything between them. At His Own pleasure doth He bestow gifts, through the power of His command. Indeed His grace encompasseth all, and He is the All-Knowing.

Say: God sufficeth unto me; He is the One Who holdeth in His grasp the kingdom of all things. Through the power of His hosts of heaven and earth and whatever lieth between them, He protecteth whomsoever among His servants He willeth. God, in truth, keepeth watch over all things.

Immeasurably exalted art Thou, O Lord! Protect us from what lieth in front of us and behind us, above our heads, on our right, on our left, below our feet and every other side to which we are exposed. Verily, Thy protection over all things is unfailing. (The Báb)

Practical measures reinforced by prayer can help in times of danger.

Practical measures reinforced by prayer can help in times of danger.

A Prayer for Safety in Travel

The next prayer is about safety—safety that is specifically related to travel. It can be recited before leaving the house for school or work, or whenever you have a trip to undertake—whether by road, sea, air or even by shank’s mare:

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 Thee, 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. (Bahá’u’lláh)

The term “contumacious oppressor” could refer to any ruthless aggressor or reckless bully.

Pray when required to travel through dangerous neighbourhoods or at unholy hours.

Pray when required to travel through dangerous neighbourhoods or at unholy hours.

A Prayer for Times of Sorrow and Despair

When your life is turned upside down by afflictions and you are weighed down by sorrows, you might wish to reflect on what it means to pray:

To pray is to trust in God and to be submissive in all things to Him…. Love God’s will. Strong ships are not conquered by the sea; they ride the waves! (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, vol. 7)

You might then wish to recite this prayer as often as you wish to bring assurance to your heart and comfort to your soul:

O God! Refresh and gladden my spirit. Purify my heart. Illumine my powers. I lay all my affairs in Thy hand. Thou art my Guide and my Refuge. I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being. O God! I will no longer be full of anxiety, nor will I let trouble harass me. I will not dwell on the unpleasant things of life.

O God! Thou art more friend to me than I am to myself. I dedicate myself to Thee, O Lord. (‘Abdu’l-Bahá)

"I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being."

"I will no longer be sorrowful and grieved; I will be a happy and joyful being."

A Prayer for Fearful Natural Events

The next prayer, a very short one, can be recited when fearful natural events occur—the types that may cause you to panic.

Examples of such terrifying events might include earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, hurricanes, flash floods, thunderstorms, sandstorms, raging wildfires, heatwaves, etc. Such phenomena, even harmless ones like eclipses, can often be associated with signs or acts of God.

Whatever the case, you must not forget to take the necessary practical precautions to keep yourself out of harm’s way during scary episodes. At the same time, you are at liberty to recite the following prayer, as many times and as often as you wish, all the time reflecting on the might and majesty of God:

Dominion is God’s, the Lord of the seen and the unseen, the Lord of creation. (Bahá’u’lláh)

A volcanic eruption on Mount Sinabung, Indonesia

A volcanic eruption on Mount Sinabung, Indonesia

Some Prayers and Meditations of Other Abrahamic Faiths

We conclude by sharing prayers and meditations from the other major Abrahamic faiths (bearing in mind that the Bahá’í Faith is also an Abrahamic faith). The orisons featured here are universal in nature, meaning they can be used by anyone irrespective of religious persuasion:

Judaism: A Meditation for Hope and Courage

Psalm 23 in the Old Testament Bible is well known as a meditative passage for use in times of despair, difficulties, danger, or even death:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me. Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever. (Psalm 23:1-6)

(Note: The King James Version is the source of biblical references in this article.)

A modern-day, simplified version of Psalm 23

A modern-day, simplified version of Psalm 23

Christianity: A Prayer for Protection From Temptation and Evil

The Gospel has only one recorded prayer of Jesus. It is a very simple but powerful prayer, designed to prepare the flock, both spiritually and mentally, for the coming of God’s Kingdom on earth. Among other things, the supplicant asks God for protection from temptation and evil:

Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen. (Matthew 6:9-13)

A Christian man in prayer

A Christian man in prayer

Islam: A Prayer for Times of Spiritual Turmoil

Within the surahs of the Qur’an are some passages, usually short ones, that can be used as prayers. The Islamic holy book also has some beautiful meditative passages that glorify the power and majesty of God.

The opening surah is regarded as the greatest and most recited surah of the Qur’an—as it forms part of the Islamic obligatory prayer that Muslims are required to recite multiple times daily. For this reason, believers might probably regard this prayer as exclusive to their religion. However, the words seem universal enough, and so the prayer should be usable by anyone.

The petitioner, while reciting this prayer, asks to be protected from the disease of ignorance and from treading the misleading path of irreligion, false teachings, flawed doctrinal assumptions, and erroneous dogmas.

Anyone who is spiritually confused as to which path to take, which faith to follow, in their search for the Divine, can have recourse to this prayer:

In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds,

The Beneficent, the Merciful.

Master of the Day of Judgment,

Thee (alone) we worship; Thee (alone) we ask for help.

Show us the straight path,

The path of those whom Thou hast favoured; Not the (path) of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray. (Qur’an 1:1-7)

(Note: The above surah is from Marmaduke Pickthall’s English translation with the word "Allah" substituted by "God".)

A Muslim woman in prayer

A Muslim woman in prayer

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2022 Kobina Amissah-Fynn

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