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Health, Healing & Overcoming Difficulties

in Explore > Themes

At some point in our lives, we all suffer from illnesses of the body or the mind and we face tests and difficulties. This collection highlights resources dedicated to physical and spiritual health and well-being, healing, resilience and overcoming challenges.

The Long Healing Prayer: A Personal Reflection

July 31, 2016, in Articles > Baha'i Life, by

The Long Healing Prayer revealed by Baha’u’llah is a potent medicine, an elixir. It offers a unique approach to healing; this prayer is a remedy many turn to in times of tests, difficulties and pain. Its potency is felt always. Below is a brief reflection on this powerful prayer, particularly as it relates to the spiritual healing of humankind.

My love for this Long Healing Prayer comes from an appreciation and curiosity into the statement made in one of Baha’u’llah’s Hidden Words:

The healer of all thine ills is remembrance of Me, forget it not.1

Is not the recitation of this Long Healing Prayer and calling Him to remembrance, striving to understand the inner reality of God, and therefore ourselves, a remedy for all our ills? What a magnificent gift, bestowed by the Grace of God, that the healer of all our ills is remembrance of Him!

The Long Healing Prayer was revealed in Arabic, but even the English translation maintains its lyrical, repetitious, soul circling form. It can be said to be broken into three major parts. The first and briefest is the introductory sentence: “He is the Healer, the Sufficer, the Helper, the All-Forgiving, the All-Merciful.” This is followed by the body of the prayer which transports me to realms of reflection regarding the soul, and its myriad associations to its Creator as it repeatedly invokes “these most beauteous names […] these most noble and sublime attributes”. It is 34 sentences in total, with over 102 unique ways of calling on the Maker. Every sentence ends with the statement, “Thou the Sufficing, Thou the Healing, Thou the Abiding, O Thou Abiding One”. The third part is its concluding remarks on the all-embracing love of God which alone has the power to heal “every sick, diseased and poor one, from every tribulation and distress, from every loathsome affliction and sorrow,” allowing the one who recites it with “purity of heart, chastity of soul and freedom of spirit” to understand and be guided.

Reflecting on the Long Healing Prayer cannot help but raise these questions about healing:

  • What does it mean to heal?
  • Are we talking about physical, psychological, spiritual, emotional, or social healing?
  • Are we talking only of the individual or can healing also occur in society?

And these questions about prayer:

  • What is prayer?
  • Why does the soul long to engage in this process?
  • How do we engage in the healing process as we pray?
  • How do our prayers contribute to the healing of others?
  • How do our prayers contribute to the healing of humankind?

The heart of this article relates to this last question: I have recently been reflecting on three of the unique Names of the Creator that are mentioned in the Long Healing Prayer (the Enkindler, the Brightener, and the Bringer of Delight) and how attempting to embody these qualities can contribute to the healing of humankind.

For me these three qualities in particular clearly raise the idea of latency. Latency is that undeveloped, untapped, unfulfilled potential that lies hidden in the depths of our being and in society. It is this latent potential in our individual lives, in our associations, in our communities and in our social institutions that must be realised as we engage in a process of transformation, as we engage in the generation, application and dissemination of knowledge for the betterment of the world. Ultimately aren’t all educational ends focused on the development of our latency? Baha’u’llah tells us:

Regard man as a mine rich in gems of inestimable value. Education can, alone, cause it to reveal its treasures and enable mankind to benefit therefrom.2

I love the idea that we can continue to grow and evolve, that we have the potential to become even more enkindled, even brighter, even more delightful in such a way that we must shine out in all our myriad associations like the full moon of a dark night, lighting the way.

The Enkindler

One way we can reflect on this state of enkindlement and calling to remembrance the Enkindler is by our deeds. As we act in the world, we teach and share the uplifting transformative spirit of this Dispensation with all, and we become enkindled. The Universal House of Justice writes in its 2007 Ridvan Message that it looks

…with expectant eyes to the day when teaching is the dominating passion in the life of every believer and when the unity of the community is so strong as to enable this state of enkindlement to express itself in unremitting action in the field of service.3

We, as individuals and as groups of believers, can become energised and enkindled by our unremitting efforts in the field of service to transform, not only our inner life, but also the life of our society. We become enkindled and aspire to live up to these words:

Make me as a lamp shining throughout Thy lands that those in whose hearts the light of Thy knowledge gloweth and the yearning for Thy love lingereth may be guided by its radiance.4

The Brightener

As we become enkindled, our capacity to brighten those places and spaces we inhabit takes on new meaning. We now have a responsibility to brighten. We endeavor to take on, in the most unassuming and humble forms, the transcendent reality described by the Bab:

Though the ocean of woe rageth on every side, and the bolts of fate follow in quick succession, and the darkness of griefs and afflictions invade soul and body, yet is My heart brightened by the remembrance of Thy countenance and My soul is as a rose garden from the perfume of Thy nature.5

When we are brighteners, we fear nothing in the face of oppression, turmoil and hurt. We are neither attached, nor detached, we are neither here nor there, we are of the Bright Band of God, seeking with all sincerity to be those bright hearts in a desolate world consoling and inspiring those around us to keep moving towards our bright future, always kindled by the remembrance of the Grace that is ours.

The Bringer of Delight

We are bringers of delight by being true friends to humanity. Abdul-Baha says:

O ye friends of God! True friends are even as skilled physicians, and the Teachings of God are as healing balm, a medicine for the conscience of man. They clear the head, so that a man can breathe them in and delight in their sweet fragrance. They waken those who sleep. They bring awareness to the unheeding, and a portion to the outcast, and to the hopeless, hope.6

By bringing delight, we bring hope and in bringing hope, we provide spiritual healing. In this way, we can be agents and physicians in the healing process of the world.

To conclude, I personally recommend taking some time to read this most potent of prayers not just when you require healing but whenever you desire to grow and bring the life-enriching emanations of the Creator to your being. I think that the recitations of these names and titles uplift and energise the soul. They move it to action. They heal us by their imperative for action and reflection.

I believe that healing our souls and our societies from the maladies of self is a daily, rigorous and challenging enterprise — a challenge that could be dealt with by releasing our latent potential to be enkindlers, brighteners and bringers of delight to humanity.

  1. Baha’u’llah, The Hidden Words, p. 33 []
  2. Baha’u’llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha’u’llah, p. 260 []
  3. The Universal House of Justice, 2007 Ridvan Message []
  4. Baha’u’llah, Tablets of Baha’u’llah Revealed After the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 152 []
  5. Abdu’l-Baha, The Traveller’s Narrative, p. 13 []
  6. Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 23 []
Posted by

Pharan Akhtarkhavari

Pharan is in his late 20s. He loves embracing the beauty of life. He does this by praying, thinking, cycling, reading, writing, hiking, diving, conversing, and dancing and of course teaching. He eats yummy food whenever possible. He loves to travel and embrace the beauty and diversity of the world.
Pharan Akhtarkhavari

Discussion 10 Comments

Once again, a most inspiring commentary on the spiritual path. Gem! By His grace alone, this post comes to me on the very beginning days of a 33-day period of fervent prayer and medication for healing with the Long Healing Prayer as center. Thank you very much!


Barbra (July 7, 2016 at 11:34 PM)

Thank you so much for this lovely and thoughtful commentary on the Long Healing Prayer. As a physician, I have made it my practice to recite it every day since the beginning of my residency training 17 years ago, so I am always deeply interested to hear others’ experiences with this profound prayer. I offer the Long Healing Prayer on the way to work for the patients I am going to see, and then again on the way home for those I have just seen. It is a prayer for physical healing, and it also touches on the deeper meaning of illness as one of life’s tests that has the potential to help us grow spiritually, when at the end of the prayer it asks of God to “guide Thou by it whosoever desireth to enter upon the paths of Thy guidance, and the ways of Thy forgiveness and grace.” In this way, I can both pray for the physical healing of my patients, and also pray that whatever suffering and difficulties they are experiencing can become the means of bringing them to a better place in their lives.


Ramine (August 8, 2016 at 9:22 PM)

Dear Barbra and Ramine, Thank you for your kind compliments. It truly is a touching Prayer with profound inspiration. May we all, continue to move towards that ‘better place’ in our lives. Much love, pharan

Pharan Akhtarkhavari

Pharan Akhtarkhavari (August 8, 2016 at 9:24 PM)

You have given me a lot to think about, Pharan–thank you. This piece is beautifully written, and it encourages me to say the Long Healing Prayer more often. The following line that you wrote is especially moving: “When we are brighteners, we fear nothing in the face of oppression, turmoil and hurt.”


Martha (August 8, 2016 at 7:46 PM)

Agbor John from Mamfe,Cameroon. Thanks for these insights and inspiration. I really felt relieved and dazed from my heart’s depth. Allah’u’Abha !

John Agbor

John Agbor (November 11, 2016 at 9:45 PM)

We are so happy you enjoyed this article! Thank you for your comment!

Sonjel Vreeland

Sonjel Vreeland (November 11, 2016 at 10:21 PM)

Thank you for your thoughts and inspiration. I enjoyed how you discussed some attributes of God. I would love to offer you to listen to the long healing prayer that was set to music by a Baha’i. He traveled to 350 cities in 18 months offering the healing prayer experience. It’s so peaceful and melodic.


dawn (January 1, 2017 at 4:13 AM)

This is a beautiful reflection on the Long Healing Prayer revealed in Soul healing by Baha’u’llah and its potential for healing not just individuals, but society as a whole. The author’s focus on the three unique names of the Creator mentioned in the prayer – the Enkindler, the Brightener, and the Bringer of Delight – and how we can embody these qualities to contribute to the healing of humankind is particularly inspiring. It’s a reminder that we all have the potential to become enkindled, brighter, and more delightful, and that by doing so, we can bring hope and spiritual healing to others. The author’s emphasis on the importance of daily, rigorous, and challenging work in healing ourselves and our societies is also a valuable reminder that healing is a process, not a one-time event. Overall, this reflection is a beautiful testament to the power of prayer and the potential for each of us to contribute to the healing of the world.

Hazel Marie

Hazel Marie (June 6, 2023 at 11:14 PM)

Does anyone know the circumstances of the revelation of the Long Healing Prayer?

Karen Pritchard

Karen Pritchard (November 11, 2023 at 12:49 AM)

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