When an embryo is developing in its mother’s womb, it has no concept of the life outside the womb that it is preparing for. In the same way, we are preparing ourselves in this physical life for a spiritual life that we can’t fully understand yet. Just as the embryo needs to develop physical limbs and senses for physical life, so our souls must grow and prepare for the next life by developing our spiritual qualities such as kindness and love. In the Bahá’í view then, this life is a preparation for the life hereafter. We are told that our souls will continue to live on after physical death, on an eternal journey towards God.
Because we are spiritual beings, we need to recognise that true happiness is based on spiritual behaviour. We have been created noble and can choose to do good deeds which are worthy of our nobility or focus only on our own selfish desires which bring us down and ultimately lead to unhappiness. Bahá’u’lláh defined prayer as food for the soul – we need its nourishment every day. There are many hundreds of prayers revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, `Abdu’l-Bahá and the Báb, which Bahá’ís may choose to use at any time. Details of obligatory prayer and fasting can be found in the topic “Bahá’í Way of Life – for the Individual”.