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“All effort and exertion put forth by man from the fullness of his heart is worship, if it is prompted by the highest motives and the will to do service to humanity.

-‘Abdu’l-Baha

I’m not the best at prayer.

It comes most easily through song, but it’s difficult out in the world, humming under my breath, half of the mind remembering common courtesy and the other half on God.

In words, prayer takes me a long time. I’m sluggish to wake up, spiritually, and the first half hour just feels like practice. After thirty minutes of prayer, I finally start to feel like I’m praying. Sometimes. Sometimes I just feel tired, or thirsty, or anxious, or all three.

(I’m very good at anxious. It’s a bit of a specialty of mine)

Sometimes, when I begin to fall into the beauty of prayer, that’s just when people around me are wrapping up. It’s hard.

Sometimes I think and I speak and I listen and I wonder, where all the love is that I’m supposed to feel? The deep, abiding spiritual joy? I think of the words of Baha’u’llah I memorized so many years ago:

“And He hath risen up in faithfulness at the place of sacrifice, looking toward Thy pleasure, O Ordainer of the worlds.” 

And I tell God, “It seems I’m all out of love today. But you can have my service, if you want it.”

Then I get up and send another email. I call the people I need to call. I walk out of my home and visit the families that are expecting me, and sometimes those that aren’t.

I do the dishes. I fold the laundry.

And sometimes, as I serve, I feel a twinge of something; maybe it’s a bit of love. For my family, my neighbors, the people who rely on me, the people on whom I rely.

It’s easier to pray for them than for myself. That’s true in both deeds and words.

So I walk a path of service.

And with each step, I pray.

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