Giving a gift of prayers

April 24, 2019
Giving a gift of prayers

Baha’i House of Worship staff member, Lurenza McGee, greets visitors to the Temple Auditorium with a new prayer booklet. Photo by Nancy Wong.

Visitors to the Temple Auditorium of the Baha’i House of Worship are now often greeted with a gift of a small prayer booklet.

“Guides love the experience of greeting and giving the books,” says staff member, Lurenza McGee. “It makes them feel like they have more of a connection with the visitors. The interaction provides a chance for people to talk and to ask questions about the prayers and where they come from.”

These prayer books were introduced after representatives from three continental Baha’i Houses of Worship — North America, Central America and South America — met for a week in Chile to learn from one another about Temple operations. Creating a book of prayers to share in North America was one idea that came out of that consultation.

“We went to Chile with the broad objective to consult and reflect on Temple operations in light of the guidance we received from the Universal House of Justice, [the international governing body of the Baha’i Faith] ” says Mat Cotton, staff member from North America.  The Baha’i Temple in Peñalolen, Chile, just outside of Santiago, is the newest of the continental Houses of Worship and opened in 2016.

Cotton reflects that he saw in Chile how the books “enhanced the atmosphere of devotion in the Temple itself” and that they were then further used by people in the communities for individual prayer and devotional gatherings.

In that way, the books become “a gift from the Baha’is to all the people in the area,” Cotton says. “The prayer books help to convey the purpose of the Temple to enhance the experience of individual and collective worship.” It is one more way to say the Temple belongs to everyone.

The booklet design was recognized with a DeRose-Hinkhouse award from the Religion Communicators Council, announced at the organization’s annual convention in April 2019.

Prayer booklets are available at the Baha’i Bookstore.

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