Transform Your Prayer: Day 8

You're Invited...

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Imagine yourself as a peasant working the fields in some faraway land, a long time ago...

One day you are invited to attend a private meeting with the King of the land in his grand palace.

This is no ordinary King. He not only reigns over vast swathes of land with formidable armies at his disposal, but he is also known as a merciful and generous ruler. 

Whatever little you have, you owe it all to him as he has granted you access to your resources and means of livelihood.

You arrive at the palace courtyard, a little dishevelled and dusty from your labour and travels.

You are immediately overcome by the grandeur of your surroundings, and you are informed that the time will soon come for you to enter the palace doors and present yourself before His majesty. 

But before you are allowed to do so, you are given a container of water and told to wash up...

Because no one should show themselves before the King except in a state of cleanliness. 

You take the container, go to where you are directed and begin to wash up, thinking about the meeting that is about to take place.

What do you feel? 

- excitement?
- awe?
- trepidation? 
- gratitude? 

How do you feel?

- honored?
- overwhelmed? 
- nervous? 
- content? 

You finish washing up, feeling fresh and ready for the biggest occasion of your life. 

You are shown to the palace doors and are told to enter when you are ready.

Whatever is about to happen, you know it will be something special...

You take a deep breath, push the door open and enter.

The door closes behind you and the rest of your journey continues... 

No analogy is perfect, but picturing the above scenario should help you think about the appropriate emotions to experience when completing the ablution (wudhu) in preparation for prayer. 

Isn’t it easy and common for us to go through wudhu without feeling much, or any, of the above sentiments? 

A wudhu in which you feel something deeper is one that can be considered a genuine and respectful act of preparation for standing before the Divine. 

But one that is conducted only as a formality with no thought of what is about to happen is not unlikely to be followed with a similarly hollow prayer...

...which is exactly what we all want to avoid.

So before you begin your next wudhu...

1. Take some moments to think about what you’re about to do and why you’re doing it.

Start to realize the grandeur of the occasion that is salat.

2. As you wash each part of yourself in readiness, start to experience the emotions that you would want to feel within the prayer itself. 

Finally, if you feel your ego slightly pinched at having to think of yourself as a peasant...

...then know that we are all impoverished and needy before God and we should come to Him accordingly, without taking anything, not even our own existence, for granted:

People, it is you who stand in need of God; God needs nothing and is worthy of all praise. If He wills, He can do away with you and bring in a new creation. That is not difficult for God.

(Qur’an, 35:15-17)