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The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.
How do I become Baha’i?

Facing Tests Through Daily Prayer — With Rainn Wilson

Sean Hinton | Apr 7, 2022
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Baha’is everywhere choose to say one of three obligatory prayers each day – prayer is “food for the soul,” the Baha’i writings suggest. Rainn Wilson knows the importance of that spiritual nourishment.

In this episode of the Moments of Meaning podcast, we speak with the well-known Baha’i actor, author, director, and philanthropist about the impact one of those obligatory prayers had on him during the hardest times in his life.

Despite its brevity, that short prayer from Baha’u’llah – only three sentences long – has profound depth and meaning:

I bear witness, O my God, that Thou hast created me to know Thee and to worship Thee. I testify, at this moment, to my powerlessness and to Thy might, to my poverty and to Thy wealth.

There is none other God but Thee, the Help in Peril, the Self-Subsisting.

In this penetrating prayer, Baha’u’llah asks us to do something paradoxical – to know and to love an unknowable Essence. As Rainn puts it in the interview, the prayer tells us that “we’re created to know something unknowable. I love that, as an artist.”

Rainn Wilson, (Photo credit: @chrisheltai)

RELATED: An Interview With Rainn Wilson: On Spirituality and Hollywood

Baha’is do not believe in a Supreme Being anyone could possibly conceptualize – instead, the Baha’i writings say, the Creator cannot be known by the creation, in the same way the table can never understand the carpenter.

So prayer, for Baha’is, means much more than just a whispered wish or a ritualized, rote invocation. Prayer provides a human connection to the great mysteries of existence, to the world beyond this world, and to our own souls. As Rainn tells us in this podcast, a daily practice of prayer causes “awakening and mindfulness,” according to this passage from Abdu’l-Baha in the Baha’i teachings:

The wisdom of prayer is this: That it … is the cause of awakening and mindfulness and conducive to protection and preservation from tests …

Baha’is utilize the daily obligatory prayers to make the connection between our deepest reality and the essential mystery at the heart of existence. In the podcast, Rainn says:

I see now when I look back on my life that this very short prayer was my lifeline to the Faith itself, that it was a handhold, it was a guardrail, that I was holding on to during some very difficult, rocky, challenging times. I experienced a lot of struggles in those years with what I witness now to be mental illness, you know, anxiety disorder and depression, addiction issues. And this short, obligatory prayer was just a tiny candle in the darkness held in front of me.

The short daily Baha’i prayer serves as a lifeline, as a profound reminder of why we’re alive and what our spiritual reality really represents. Join us as we talk with Rainn Wilson and learn how one short prayer kept connecting him to the deepest parts of himself.

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