In conversation: Podcast explores power of prayer to shape communities

February 9, 2024

In Conversation: Podcast explores power of prayer to shape communities

In this podcast episode, we hear accounts of how prayer and efforts to apply spiritual principles to one’s daily life provide the seeds for social betterment.

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BAHÁ’Í WORLD CENTRE — During a recent visit to the Bahá’í World Centre, members of Bahá’í communities from various countries joined in conversation with the News Service to explore insights about fostering a pattern of vibrant community life.

Guests of the episode included Jorge Guerreiro from Brazil, Nazneen Rowhani from India, Confucius Ikoirere from Papua New Guinea, Rey Elmo from the Philippines, and Maria Simbowe from Tanzania. Among the topics they explored was how prayer and efforts to apply spiritual principles to one’s daily life provide the seeds for social betterment.

Mr. Elmo said: “When the family prays together, bonds within that family become solid.” He continued to explain that in these families, consultation becomes a valued means for making collective decisions and addressing needs. He noted that interactions among family members increasingly become characterized by greater humility toward one another.

Mr. Ikoirere explained that by praying together, families become more outward-oriented in their desire to address broader needs within their neighborhoods and villages. “There is progress from saying prayers to asking: ‘what can we do for our community?’” he said.

The discussion highlighted how in localities where a devotional spirit extends beyond the family to collective settings, friends and neighbors too begin to reflect on the material and spiritual advancement of their communities that often lead to social action initiatives.

On this journey, long-established barriers and prejudices give way to a newfound appreciation for unity and diversity, as individuals from diverse backgrounds come together to work towards common goals.

Ms. Rowhani shared a heartwarming example from experiences in Bahá’í communities across India. “We have seen that when people understand that what matters is their soul and not their physical body, the differences that the caste system brings tend to dissolve.

“We learn to relate to each other as human beings and not as different castes.”