This is a story of one of the early Bahá’ís in the West, Lua Getsinger, and an important lesson she learned about prayer. Lua loved God very much, and she often turned to Him in supplication, that she might be enabled to live a life of service. She prayed, too, that her eager and enthusiastic spirit would learn to be patient. Of course, she wanted to learn it quickly, without having to wait too long! Lua knew that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá also wanted her to learn patience. One day, when she was visiting Him in the Holy Land, He helped her to see that there are some things for which we must always make time, no matter how hurried we might feel. Rushing off to breakfast without having said her usual morning prayers, Lua met ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the hallway. He looked at her, staring deeply into her eyes. And what do you think he said to her? “Lua.” He said, “You must never eat material food in the morning until you have had spiritual food.” So it was that Lua learned she must never fail to draw sustenance form God’s heavenly bounties, the source of true strength.
(Ruhi Book 3, Grade 2, lesson 2, p 16-17)
Food was first offered Him (‘Abdu’l-Bahá), but He refused until all were served when He took some also. Then looking around the table and noting that none were eating, He said ‘Bismillah!’ (In the Name of God), signifying that we should eat. That one expression, accompanied with his brilliant smile, was a blessing.
(Thornton Chase, In Galilee, republished by Kalimát Press in 1985, p 31)
One early pilgrim noted that grace was not said before meals. She mentioned this to the Master, to which He replied, ‘My heart is in a continual state of thanksgiving and so often those accustomed to this form say the words with the lips merely, and their hearts are far from being in a state of thanksgiving.’ (‘Abdu’l-Bahá words to Mrs. Mary L. Lucas, as quoted in A Brief Account of My Visit to Acca (Chicago: Bahá’í Publishing Society, 1905), p 29-30) (You can see the full text of this Brief Account at http://brittlebooks.library.illinois.edu/brittlebooks_open/Books2009-12/lucama0001briacc/lucama0001briacc_ocr.txt