The night is darkest before dawn

The darker the night will turn, and the more intense and dreadful its convulsions and commotions become, the nearer will be the appointed time when the bright morn of deliverance will dawn, when the day-star of felicity and emancipation will shine, when the light of the glory, power and independence of the Faith of God will radiate with extraordinary brilliance, when the fall and collapse, the destruction and ruin of the people of malice and iniquity in that land will become apparent and conspicuous.

(Shoghi Effendi, Fire and Light, p. 36)

I am so grateful for the wonderful opportunity I had tonight to pray with my beautiful daughters and some of my closest friends. That was the best birthday gift I could have asked for. The prayers could not have arrived at a better time as the complexities of the challenges ahead of me can be resolved only by a prayer hearing, prayer answering God:

He is the prayer-hearing, prayer-answering God!

By Thy glory, O Beloved One, Thou giver of light to the world! The flames of separation have consumed me, and my waywardness hath melted my heart within me. I ask of Thee, by Thy Most Great Name, O Thou the Desire of the world and the Well-Beloved of mankind, to grant that the breeze of Thine inspiration may sustain my soul, that Thy wondrous voice may reach my ear, that my eyes may behold Thy signs and Thy light as revealed in the manifestations of Thy names and Thine attributes, O Thou within Whose grasp are all things!

Thou seest, O Lord my God, the tears of Thy favored ones, shed because of their separation from Thee, and the fears of Thy devoted ones in their remoteness from Thy Holy Court. By Thy power, that swayeth all things, visible and invisible! It behooveth Thy loved ones to shed tears of blood for that which hath befallen the faithful at the hands of the wicked and the oppressors on the earth. Thou beholdest, O my God, how the ungodly have compassed Thy cities and Thy realms!  I ask Thee by Thy Messengers and Thy chosen ones and by Him whereby the standard of Thy divine unity hath been implanted amidst Thy servants, to shield them by Thy bounty. Thou art, verily, the Gracious, the All-Bountiful.

And, again, I ask Thee by the sweet showers of Thy grace and the billows of the ocean of Thy favor, to ordain for Thy saints that which shall solace their eyes and comfort their hearts. Lord! Thou seest him that kneeleth yearning to arise and serve Thee, the dead calling for eternal life from the ocean of Thy favor and craving to soar to the heavens of Thy wealth, the stranger longing for his home of glory ‘neath the canopy of Thy grace, the seeker hastening by Thy mercy to Thy door of bounty, the sinful turning to the ocean of forgiveness and pardon.

By Thy sovereignty, O Thou Who art glorified in the hearts of men! I have turned to Thee, forsaking mine own will and desire, that Thy holy will and pleasure may rule within me and direct me according to that which the pen of Thy eternal decree hath destined for me. This servant, O Lord, though helpless turneth to the Orb of Thy Power, though abased hasteneth unto the Dayspring of Glory, though needy craveth the Ocean of Thy Grace. I beseech Thee by Thy favor and bounty, cast him not away.

Thou art verily the Almighty, the Pardoner, the Compassionate.

– Bahá’u’lláh

(Compilations, Baha’i Prayers, p. 145)

And now, it is time for bed for this seeker of truth:

O seeker of Truth! If thou desirest that God may open thine eye, thou must supplicate unto God, pray to and commune with Him at midnight, saying:

O Lord, I have turned my face unto Thy kingdom of oneness and am immersed in the sea of Thy mercy. O Lord, enlighten my sight by beholding Thy lights in this dark night, and make me happy by the wine of Thy love in this wonderful age. O Lord, make me hear Thy call, and open before my face the doors of Thy heaven, so that I may see the light of Thy glory and become attracted to Thy beauty. Verily, Thou art the Giver, the Generous, the Merciful, the Forgiving.

– ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

(Compilations, Baha’i Prayers, p. 60)

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