Thursday, February 5, 2009

Thoughts on Prayer

This morning they had the annual Natioanal Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C. The President's presence at that breakfast underlines the importance that he attaches to prayer. If you ara a parent, you should take the time to talk with your children about prayer.

Today I am going to post a short story that is geared towards young children, The following story talks about the value of prayer. Here is a story that I wrote, a story based on actual events in the life of Abdu'l-Baha and his grandson:


Young Shoghi looked out the window at the quiet, azure ocean. He stared at the

Turkish ship sitting in the harbor. Shoghi did not like that ship. That ship had destroyed

the once peaceful setting that Shoghi’s family had created within their home at Bahji.

Ever since that ship had sailed into Acre’s harbor, Shoghi had been concerned about his


Every day Shoghi saw his grandfather walking back and forth in the room that the

family had set aside for the elder man’s use. Shoghi’s great aunt had told her nephew

that commissioners on the ship in the harbor did not like the things that Shoghi’s

grandfather had been teaching. Shoghi imagined all sorts of things that the

commissioners might do to his grandfather. He worried most when he imagined his

grandfather being taken to another city.

One day Shoghi saw the ship sail out of the harbor at Acre and travel across the

bay to Haifa. Shoghi was glad to see the ship leave, but then he noticed that his

grandfather continued to walk back and forth over the same small section of floor.

The six-year old Shoghi asked his great aunt why his grandfather had not stopped his

pacing after the departure of the Turkish ship.

“Because,” said Bahiyya, Shoghi’s great aunt, “The commissioners have gone to

examine the new memorial that your grandfather has begun building on the slopes of

Haifa. The commissioners are not happy with that memorial to a non-Muslim. They

could still come back and take your grandfather away.”

No one told Shoghi that special “spies” had gone to watch for the possible return of

the Turkish ship. Shoghi learned about the spies when one of them burst into the room

where Shoghi was sitting with his mother and his aunts. That messenger and spy came

with news that the ship had left the harbor at Haifa. It appeared to be coming back to


That message frightened young Shoghi. Shoghi loved his grandfather. He did not

want to see his grandfather taken away. Shoghi could sense that the adults also worried

about what might happen to the man who had earned everyone’s love and respect.

Shoghi felt certain that the ship would come back and take his grandfather. Then

another messenger ran up to the house and hurried to the main room. This second

messenger came with good news.

“The ship seems to have changed course. It is now headed for Constantinople.”

That message filled Shoghi’s heart with joy. Shoghi hurried up to his grandfather’s

room so that the two of them could be joyful together. Shoghi’s grandfather had the two

of them kneel on the floor. Shoghi learned on that day that whatever brings great joy

should give rise to a word of thanks. Shoghi and his grandfather kneeled and said a
prayer of thanks for the miracle that had kept the two of them together.

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