I was thinking over what I said in my last podcast about being dutiful about saying my prayers but not feeling as though I was getting closer to Baha'u'llah. I found that I was caught up in the duty of saying my prayers but my heart was somewhere else.

I find that my devotions work much better if I am honest about where I am and take that reality about my condition with me into my prayers. Sometimes I feel cut off from Baha'u'llah and sometimes I feel so exhilarated that every word leaps off the page at me. If I acknowledge these feelings at the beginning, it really helps. I know that Baha'u'llah understands how I am feeling and appreciates my being honest about it. I know that he loves me and is supportive at times when I just can't get the feeling right. I also say to myself, "Well, struggle is part of the path and the important thing is that I persevere." And, invariably, things come right.

But in any case, here are a couple of quotes about not letting the activity of worship get in the way of worship.

"Say: Take heed lest your devotions withhold you from Him Who is the object of all devotion, or your worship debar you from Him Who is the object of all worship. Rend asunder the veils of your idle fancies! This is your Lord, the Almighty, the All-Knowing, Who hath come to quicken the world and unite all who dwell on earth." The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, page 58, paragraph 109

And here is an interesting piece from Marzieh Gail's Summon up Remembrance (Oxford: George Ronald, 1987). Florence describes how she went to morning prayers while she was staying in Abdu'l-Baha's house. She describes the room and identifies the people sitting on divans around the walls and by the windows. As she enters the room, one of Abdu'l-Baha's daughters is chanting. At one end of the room were the samovars and women were quietly moving about serving tea. As Florence puts it, "The tea was being unobtrusively served and drunk simultaneously with the prayers. The meeting was not cold and informal -- it was natural and easy, more like people gathered as a family to listen to music." This certainly caught me by surprise. How wonderful that things at Abdu'l-Baha's house should be so natural and informal.