There was a time when praying five times a day felt like such a burden in life. The times were so inconvenient to my schedule and my heart was never truly in it. Then I came to know of the following saying of God:
I have divided prayer between Myself and My servant into two halves, and My servant shall have what he has asked for. When the servant says:
All praise belongs to Allaah the Rabb of all the Worlds.
God says: My servant has praised Me. And when he says:
The Most Gracious the Most Merciful
God says: My servant has extolled Me, and when he says:
Master of the Day of Judgement
God says: My servant has glorified Me -and on one occasion He said: My servant has submitted to My power. And when he says:
You alone do we worship and from You alone do we seek help
God says: This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for. And when he says:
Guide us to the Straight Path, the Path of those whom you have favored, not of those upon whom is Your anger, nor of those who are astray
God says: This is for My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for."
[Narration reported by Muslim, Maalik, at-Tirmidhee, Abu Daawood, an-Nasaaee and Ibn Maajah]
The verses that God responds to in the above narration are the translation of the verses from the Opening Chapter of the Qur'an. It is what Muslims recite in every prayer unit every time they pray.
Prayer to me is my time of solitude with God; one-on-one time with Him. Its the time that I get to talk to God and I know that He is responding and its almost as if I can physically hear it. And most of all it is a time in which God will answer my prayer of seeking guidance directly with no hesitation and no doubt on my part.
I try to surround my day, my activities, my schedule around prayer. When I'm in class I think about where I'll pray after it. When I'm finished with one prayer I'll think about when the next prayer is. When I sleep I think about when I'll wake up for prayer again. Its a cycle that keeps going on without end.
Sometimes people get frustrated with my constant worry about my prayers and not missing them. But I don't care because when you drink from the elixir of God's love who cares about what others think? Its His love thats a necessity for me in life.
The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, "When anyone of you is engaged in the prayer, he is holding an intimate conversation with his Lord."
May we be amongst those who are intimate with God. Ameen.