The first day of the 2022 fast began on March 2, 2022 and ends on March 20, 2022. I’ve said for the past 15 years that I have been offering this fasting prep workshop that: Fasting is more than just not eating. If you only skip lunch, that’s a diet. Also, so many people have said because of having to take medicine that they cannot Fast. I thought, that’s such a shame, since the Fast offers so many benefits. Fasting brings light into our lives and dispels darkness. We get immense value from the spiritual Fasting, but can also get additional light if we are also able to have a physical fast at the same time. So to be clear, we’re told that if we are able to have both, we have light upon light. But, if we must eat, we can still have some light.
The Bahai 19-Day Fast is a law and an obligation. It is both a spiritual and physical fast for 19 days, in which the believer abstains from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. An excerpt from a prayer reminds us of the main purpose:
These are they who have been so inebriated with the wine of Thy manifold wisdom that they forsake their couches in their longing to celebrate Thy praise and extol Thy virtues.
The prayer is teaching us what to do. We are to celebrate His praise and to extol His virtues. We are to be focusing on praising God and being more virtuous. Abdul-Baha said that the purpose of life is to acquire virtues. Today I will be focused on seeing the virtues of others and in myself.
What is speaking to me today is the attitude and spirit in which we approach the Almighty. We are told that the spirit we have when uttering prayers is greater than than just the words we say, and even greater than the spirit, is how we act out the prayer. Neither prayer, nor fasting should be an imposition, duty, or obligation. We are to be “inebriated” and “longing“. This Fast, I will be practicing being in the presence of God. When we pray and meditate the right way, we are “in the presence of God.” We are told to have no mention, but the mention of Him. The Great Being has chosen this time of year, these 19 days, to shower upon us grace EVERY HOUR. I want to be in the “receive mode” to receive this grace which is to be humble, self effaced, longing, and inebriated so that my heart can be made pure and I can be protected from animal traits.
This beautiful fasting prayer has so much guidance and promises.
These are, O my God, the days whereon Thou didst enjoin Thy servants to observe the fast. With it Thou didst adorn the preamble of the Book of Thy Laws revealed unto Thy creatures, and didst deck forth the Repositories of Thy commandments in the sight of all who are in Thy heaven and all who are on Thy earth.
Thou hast endowed every hour of these days with a special virtue, inscrutable to all except Thee, Whose knowledge embraceth all created things.
Thou hast, also, assigned unto every soul a portion of this virtue in accordance with the Tablet of Thy decree and the Scriptures of Thine irrevocable judgment.
Every leaf of these Books and Scriptures Thou hast, moreover, allotted to each one of the peoples and kindreds of the earth.
For Thine ardent lovers Thou hast, according to Thy decree, reserved, at each daybreak, the cup of Thy remembrance, O Thou Who art the Ruler of rulers!
These are they who have been so inebriated with the wine of Thy manifold wisdom that they forsake their couches in their longing to celebrate Thy praise and extol Thy virtues, and flee from sleep in their eagerness to approach Thy presence and partake of Thy bounty. Their eyes have, at all times, been bent upon the Dayspring of Thy loving-kindness, and their faces set towards the Fountainhead of Thine inspiration.
Rain down, then, upon us and upon them from the clouds of Thy mercy what beseemeth the heaven of Thy bounteousness and grace.
Lauded be Thy name, O my God! This is the hour when Thou hast unlocked the doors of Thy bounty before the faces of Thy creatures, and opened wide the portals of Thy tender mercy unto all the dwellers of Thine earth.
I beseech Thee, by all them whose blood was shed in Thy path, who, in their yearning over Thee, rid themselves from all attachment to any of Thy creatures, and who were so carried away by the sweet savors of Thine inspiration that every single member of their bodies intoned Thy praise and vibrated to Thy remembrance, not to withhold from us the things Thou hast irrevocably ordained in this Revelation—a Revelation the potency of which hath caused every tree to cry out what the Burning Bush had aforetime proclaimed unto Moses, Who conversed with Thee, a Revelation that hath enabled every least pebble to resound again with Thy praise, as the stones glorified Thee in the days of Muhammad, Thy Friend.
These are the ones, O my God, whom Thou hast graciously enabled to have fellowship with Thee and to commune with Him Who is the Revealer of Thyself. The winds of Thy will have scattered them abroad until Thou didst gather them together beneath Thy shadow, and didst cause them to enter into the precincts of Thy court. Now that Thou hast made them to abide under the shade of the canopy of Thy mercy, do Thou assist them to attain what must befit so august a station. Suffer them not, O my Lord, to be numbered with them who, though enjoying near access to Thee, have been kept back from recognizing Thy face, and who, though meeting with Thee, are deprived of Thy presence.
These are Thy servants, O my Lord, who have entered with Thee in this, the Most Great Prison, who have kept the fast within its walls according to what Thou hast commanded them in the Tablets of Thy decree and the Books of Thy behest. Send down, therefore, upon them what will thoroughly purge them of all that Thou abhorrest, that they may be wholly devoted to Thee, and may detach themselves entirely from all except Thyself.
Rain down, then, upon us, O my God, that which beseemeth Thy grace and befitteth Thy bounty. Enable us, then, O my God, to live in remembrance of Thee and to die in love of Thee, and supply us with the gift of Thy presence in Thy worlds hereafter—worlds which are inscrutable to all except Thee. Thou art our Lord and the Lord of all worlds, and the God of all that are in heaven and all that are on earth.
Thou beholdest, O my God, what hath befallen Thy dear ones in Thy days. Thy glory beareth me witness! The voice of the lamentation of Thy chosen ones hath been lifted up throughout Thy realm. Some were ensnared by the infidels in Thy land, and were hindered by them from having near access to Thee and from attaining the court of Thy glory. Others were able to approach Thee, but were kept back from beholding Thy face. Still others were permitted, in their eagerness to look upon Thee, to enter the precincts of Thy court, but they allowed the veils of the imaginations of Thy creatures and the wrongs inflicted by the oppressors among Thy people to come in between them and Thee.
This is the hour, O my Lord, which Thou hast caused to excel every other hour, and hast related to the choicest among Thy creatures. I beseech Thee, O my God, by Thy Self and by them, to ordain in the course of this year what shall exalt Thy loved ones.
Do Thou, moreover, decree within this year what will enable the Daystar of Thy power to shine brightly above the horizon of Thy glory, and to illuminate by Thy sovereign might, the whole world.
Render Thy Cause victorious, O my Lord, and abase Thou Thine enemies. Write down, then, for us the good of this life and of the life to come. Thou art the Truth, Who knoweth the secret things. No God is there but Thee, the Ever-Forgiving, the All-Bountiful.