Do prayers have any effect on Gods will ?

Aug 2013
18
usa
Do you think that prayers will change God's will ? I mean in most books it states that does what He willeth , so why do we pray for assistance and healing ? Anyone I talk to tells me we pray to get closer to God, but if that's the only case why are there prayers for aid, even when we talk to God, aren't we all asking him for things like forgiveness and his favor ?

I'm asking because I pray everyday and I ask God for something, but now I feel guilty and feel like I've not been praying for the right reasons.
 
Apr 2011
484
Sydney
I don't see any harm in asking, we should still say prayers such as the prayers of the central figures to spiritually sustain our souls, however it is natural to want other things too, so long as we resign ourselves to the will of God if He has a different plan in store for us :)
 
Oct 2013
697
Glenwood, Queensland, Australia
Good morning

Bear in mind these are just my thoughts, thus without any authority or even trueness. This must be stated, due to my style of writing. Note also that I use the words "prayer" and "worship" interchangably.

Rather than putting an answer directly, I will approach it from another angle. Personally, I think it comes back to one's motive and reasons for asking for something.

If one looks at prayer and worship without considering the spiritual purpose for worship, then yes, prayer does seem a selfish thing. But looked at from that wider perspective, one becomes aware that it is a bounty from God, one which not only affects the individual but also the wider society. It is necessary to see prayer in the wider context than the act of prayer itself.

Whatever duty Thou hast prescribed unto Thy servants of extolling to the utmost Thy majesty and glory is but a token of Thy grace unto them, that they may be enabled to ascend unto the station conferred upon their own inmost being, the station of the knowledge of their own selves. (Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, p. 4)

What is this station of knowledge of our own selves? This becomes a question of practice. For we know that we are created in the image of God, as stated by Baha'u'llah, and thus contain potentially within us all of His qualities and attributes (which brings us into the matter of our purpose in living to gain the qualities and attributes of the next world). And knowledge, without being put to practical use, becomes mere words, and thus useless. So, for example, we, through worship, find in ourselves a particular quality, then it becomes our duty to express that quality as a demonstration of our knowledge of ourself. And by that expression, we begin the process of moving toward perfection. And this movement toward perfection displays itself in our relationship to God, and thus to society. For Baha''llah states in the Hidden Words that "...his face is My face. Therefore be abashed before Me." And so, our worship leads us in the path of servitude.

It is also becoming, as the next quote shows. You will find it in Compilations of Compilations, volume II, page 235 :

"Know thou, verily, it is becoming in a weak one to supplicate to the Strong One, and it behooveth a seeker of bounty to beseech the Glorious Bountiful One. When one supplicates to his Lord, turns to Him and seeks bounty from His Ocean, this supplication brings light to his heart, illumination to his sight, life to his soul and exaltation to his being." (from Esslemonts book "Baha'u'llah and the New Era", page 93)

The last quote I will put here is from the Bab, which points out how our worship should be :

WORSHIP thou God in such wise that if thy worship lead thee to the fire, no alteration in thine adoration would be produced, and so likewise if thy recompense should be paradise. Thus and thus alone should be the worship which befitteth the one True God. Shouldst thou worship Him because of fear, this would be unseemly in the sanctified Court of His presence, and could not be regarded as an act by thee dedicated to the Oneness of His Being. Or if thy gaze should be on paradise, and thou shouldst worship Him while cherishing such a hope, thou wouldst make God's creation a partner with Him, notwithstanding the fact that paradise is desired by men.

Fire and paradise both bow down and prostrate themselves before God. That which is worthy of His Essence is to worship Him for His sake, without fear of fire, or hope of paradise.

Although when true worship is offered, the worshipper is delivered from the fire, and entereth the paradise of God's good-pleasure, yet such should not be the motive of his act. However, God's favour and grace ever flow in accordance with the exigencies of His inscrutable wisdom.
(Selections from the Writings of the Bab, p. 77)

With warm greetings

Romane
 
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Oct 2011
4,213
Quilimari,Chile
Do you think that prayers will change God's will ? I mean in most books it states that does what He willeth , so why do we pray for assistance and healing ? Anyone I talk to tells me we pray to get closer to God, but if that's the only case why are there prayers for aid, even when we talk to God, aren't we all asking him for things like forgiveness and his favor ?

I'm asking because I pray everyday and I ask God for something, but now I feel guilty and feel like I've not been praying for the right reasons.
Of course our prayers are heard by God.
And yes He does as He willeth, but by the meaning of God's will does not mean that we do not pray, our actions are most important. Words without actions have no meaning.
I feel when God hears our prayer He then considers what we have asked for, then, if it is His will we receive aid in that area. As our friend danieldemol has said though, it is up to God what he considers is best for us. (He is the All Knowing the All Wise)

As for you feeling guilty about what you may have been praying for, that is between you and God, maybe He gave you a nudge so to speak, who knows.

I feel that as we grow in the faith we mature as far as what we pray for, it is all a growing and maturing thing, non of us is stationary in the faith, we are all progressing or going backwards.

Loving regards
 
Jun 2006
4,322
California
Do you think that prayers will change God's will ? I mean in most books it states that does what He willeth , so why do we pray for assistance and healing ? Anyone I talk to tells me we pray to get closer to God, but if that's the only case why are there prayers for aid, even when we talk to God, aren't we all asking him for things like forgiveness and his favor ?

I'm asking because I pray everyday and I ask God for something, but now I feel guilty and feel like I've not been praying for the right reasons.
First of all as Baha'is we pray daily... The obligatory prayers..

If we're in need we can always pray as well... since we don't know what God's Will is for us we can always say God's Will be done..

There are many prayers for various occasions and you can look these over and see which prayers might be appropriate:

Bahá’í Prayers

Since our brief life on this earth is to reflect the attributes of God and be nearer to God prayer is needed... conversation with God:

"It is striking how private and personal the most fundamental spiritual exercises of prayer and meditation are in the Faith. Bahá'ís do, of course, have meetings for devotions, as in the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar or at Nineteen Day Feasts, but the daily obligatory prayers are ordained to be said in the privacy of one's chamber, and meditation on the Teachings is, likewise, a private individual activity, not a form of group therapy. In His talks 'Abdu'l-Bahá describes prayer as 'Conversation with God', and concerning meditation He says that 'while you meditate you are speaking with your own spirit. In that state of mind you put certain questions to your spirit and the spirit answers: the light breaks forth and the reality is revealed."



~ From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly, September 1, 1983

(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 540)
 
Aug 2012
106
anchorage, ak
"Know thou…that the decrees of the Sovereign Ordainer, as related to fate and predestination, are of two kinds. Both are to be obeyed and accepted. The one is irrevocable, the other is…impending. To the former all must unreservedly submit, inasmuch as it is fixed and settled. God, however, is able to alter or repeal it. As the harm that must result from such a change will be greater than if the decree had remained unaltered, all, therefore, should willingly acquiesce in what God hath willed and confidently abide by the same. The decree that is impending, however, is such that prayer and entreaty can succeed in averting it."
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p.132)