Transform Your Prayer: Day 10
Keep the Scene Clean
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I had just put the kids (two boys under the age of 2, and a 9-year-old daughter) to sleep after a long day, and I had to pray Isha before going to bed myself.
I was exhausted. I didn't have wudhu. I was uncomfortable. My bedroom was a bit of a mess.
I wanted to relax, but I needed to pray first.
So here's what I did...
- I thought about Wonderful Wudhu and motivated myself to do wudhu. This made me feel refreshed and less tired.
- I changed into more comfortable clothes.
- I quickly tidied up my room... because when my room is cluttered, my mind is easily distracted (just by seeing the mess around me).
- I put my phone next to my bed, away from me.
- I lit a candle and turned off all the lights, so the room was now dimly lit and cozy.
- I turned on my oscillating fan for a nice, cool breeze.
- I laid out my soft prayer mat on the floor.
As I stood there about to start praying, I did The Golden Minute. I took a deep breath, cleared my mind, focused on the meeting I was about to have with my Lord...
...and I felt good. I felt calm, comfortable, collected.
I looked around... no noise, no one else except me and Allah, no clutter, no distractions.
And that prayer, in that setting, was incredible. It was peaceful. I was able to focus. I felt like I was really connecting with Allah.
It was truly one of best, most meaningful prayers I had experienced in a while.
Then I thought to myself... what led to that?
I honestly believe it had a lot to do with my physical environment.
You see, your physical environment plays a big part (perhaps bigger than you may think) in the quality of your prayer.
That's why I call this tip: Keep the Scene Clean
I mean, think about it...
How many times have you been praying and something (outside of yourself) distracts you?
Your kids, other people, your phone, some noise, something around you... on the floor next to you, or on the wall in front of you, etc.
It happens quite often, doesn't it?
And then what happens?
That physical distraction leads to mental distraction.
You lose focus. Your mind starts wandering. Your thoughts spiral.
And before you know it... you're nearly done with your prayer and you think:
What just happened?! Where was I the entire prayer?
So, practically speaking, how can you use your physical environment to have a higher quality prayer?
Here's the process I recommend:
Step 1: Make a list of what your ideal physical environment for prayer looks like.
In my list above, I mentioned eight things: by myself, no noise, comfortable clothes, clean room, no phone, dim lighting, cool breeze and a soft prayer mat.
So, what's your list? Take 1-2 minutes to make your list now.
Tip: It may be helpful to think about the last time (or last few times) you experienced an amazing salat... what made it amazing?
Step 2: Every time you're about to pray, check off as many of the things on your list as possible.
Try your best based on the circumstances. It's unlikely that you'll be able to check off every item for every prayer... and that's okay.
At least you'll have an ideal standard to aim for, so you can try to get as close as possible to that ideal.
Step 3: Make sure at least ONE of your prayers every day checks off every item on your list.
For me, the easiest time to do this is either Dhuhr (when the babies are taking a nap), or Isha (once the babies are asleep).
Think about your daily routine - for which prayer will you make sure to have your ideal physical environment?
I hope you found this prayer tip to be beneficial and practical.