Father Patrick Peyton, the wonderful Catholic priest who is in the process of being named a saint, famously said, “A world at prayer is a world at peace.” And, today, more than ever the world needs prayer and peace. Also, because Abdu’l-Baha prophesied that America would lead the world spiritually, the American people, and Canadians as well, need to strengthen their lives through prayer.
Now more than ever we must be a God-fearing people who make prayer a central part of our lives; because it is spiritual food for our souls and it purifies our spirits, and uplifts our lives and nation. We should side with Benjamin Franklin, a Founding Father, who on June 28, 1787, James Madison recorded as having said: “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that ‘except the Lord build the House they labor in vain that build it.'”
The Prayer for America below is only one of hundreds of prayers that Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha revealed for humanity. These prayers were not planned and labored over like sermons which, for example, ministers commonly write. The Manifestation of God, Jesus Christ, did not carefully plan and labor over His prayer, but, instead, was inspired to teach His apostles to pray the only prayer He revealed: “Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” This prayer promises that the Father will establish His kingdom on earth!
The flood of prayers that Baha’u’llah and Abdu’l-Baha revealed for the protection and well-being of humanity, and the scope of the revelation of Baha’u’llah should give Christians joy because it and the transformation of everything in this world – from the proofs of science to empowerment of women – is evident and irrefutable proof that we live in a new dispensation, a new age; and Baha’is say the prayers revealed by them – just as Christians say the Lord’s Prayer – in order to draw closer to God:
“Intone, O My servant, the verses of God that have been received by thee,
as intoned by them who have drawn nigh unto Him,
that the sweetness of thy melody may kindle thine own soul,
and attract the hearts of all men. Whoso reciteth, in the privacy of his chamber,
the verses revealed by God, the scattering angels of the Almighty
shall scatter abroad the fragrance of the words uttered by his mouth,
and shall cause the heart of every righteous man to throb.
Though he may, at first, remain unaware of its effect, yet the virtue
of the grace vouchsafed unto him must needs sooner or later exercise
its influence upon his soul. Thus have the mysteries of the Revelation
of God been decreed by virtue of the Will of Him
Who is the Source of power and wisdom.” – Baha’u’llah
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.”
How will America lead the world spiritually and when will this happen?
In the Prayer for America Abdu’l-Baha is asks God to allow America to “become glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees….” He petitions God to “Confirm this revered nation to upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity….” And, “to promulgate the Most Great Peace….” In order “to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the world.”
The Baha’i writings say America will reach its destiny “through sorrow and travail.” The good news is that because of the kindness of the Christian physician who attended the Bab after He had been beaten by the Muslim clerics of His time, the Bab blessed Christians and said they would be among the first to recognize and champion Him Whom God Shall Make Manifest which refers to Baha’u’llah.
In the Prayer for America the phrase “to promulgate the Most Great Peace….” refers to proclaiming the revelation of Baha’u’llah, and that means that the Christian nation of America will become “most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the world” by adopting the Baha’i faith and proclaiming it to all nations. This will establish “the Most Great Peace”, God’s government on earth.
If you consider that impossible, remember that the Roman Empire, the mightiest of its time some 2,000 years ago, was under great duress and in turmoil, when its leader adopted the the little known Christian faith and proclaimed it across the known world upsetting the prevailing notion of multiple gods and replacing them with one God. With this in mind, consider that when this prayer was revealed America was a third rate power, far behind European powers, nonetheless, Abdu’l-Baha is asking God to bless America and rain mercy on it, “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.”
What Else did Abdu’l-Baha say about the destiny of America?
As you learn more about the great soul who proclaimed so great a future for America you’ll agree that Abdu’l-Baha was a prophetic and infallible voice who was named by his father, Baha’u’llah, the Center of the Covenant and the Interpreter of the Word of God. That means that whatever Abdu’l-Baha says, Baha’is universally believe is the Will of God, and it will sooner or later come true. Insofar as America is concerned, remember that America was a third rate power, far behind the European powers of his time. Nevertheless, when Abdu’l-Baha traveled in American during 1911 and 1912, Shoghi Effendi records in a letter, sent in 1938 to the Baha’is of the United States and Canada which was later published in book form as The Advent of Divine Justice, that Abdu’l-Baha said the following:
“May this American Democracy be the first nation to establish the foundation of international agreement. May it be the first nation to proclaim the unity of mankind. May it be the first to unfurl the Standard of the Most Great Peace.” And again: “The American people are indeed worthy of being the first to build the Tabernacle of the Great Peace, and proclaim the oneness of mankind. … For America hath developed powers and capacities greater and more wonderful than other nations. … The American nation is equipped and empowered to accomplish that which will adorn the pages of history, to become the envy of the world, and be blest in both the East and the West for the triumph of its people…. The American continent gives signs and evidences of very great advancement. Its future is even more promising, for its influence and illumination are far-reaching. It will lead all nations spiritually.”
Abdu’l-Baha, the Center of the Covenant of Baha’u’llah, said America “… will lead all nations spiritually.”
The American people will sooner or later put aside all manner of prejudices and become spiritually mature. The good news is no matter how obstinate we are, or how much suffering we will endure to reach our destiny Abdu’l-Baha promises that America is destined to “… lead all nations spiritually.”