Answer: An important
supplement to today’s question would be: “Does prayer change our mind?”
Prayer has a number of important functions, beyond the well-known
“prayer of petition”— asking God for something that we want or need.
One of these other functions is to seek guidance for a course of
action. Another is completely non-conceptual: to fill our hearts with
inspiration, divine light and love. This is the prayer of love, when
the believer prays for no other reason than to commune with the object
of one’s heart’s desire.
The fatalistic point of view would have it there is no need to pray
because God has already ordered the universe according to divine
wisdom. But this sort of attitude does not take into account two
factors: First, contingency operates in our lives and in the universe;
Second, we, as well as others, benefit from this now much neglected
spiritual exercise. In other words, the act of supplication itself
contributes to the stability and growth of the soul.
The command to pray is surely not given in vain. If prayer did not
influence the Divine Will, then why would we be asked to pray?
‘Abdu’l-Bahá (1844-1921), the appointed successor of his father,
Bahá’u’lláh, the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith, and the
interpreter of his teachings, said: “God will answer the prayer of
every servant if that prayer is urgent. His mercy is vast, illimitable”
(Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 246). However, he goes on to
explain that divine wisdom does not sanction every prayer. If we all
prayed to be wealthy, were that prayer to be universally answered,
world affairs would come to a standstill.
What is the connection between prayer and fate or predestination?
Bahá’u’lláh has revealed that the divine will orders two sorts of
divine decrees: irrevocable and impending. The irrevocable decree
cannot be changed, but he states that “The decree that is impending,
however, is such that prayer and entreaty can succeed in averting it”
(Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 133). This statement
shows clearly that prayer can influence the Divine Will. -