07 Jul I Have Trouble Praying Consistently
I Have Trouble Praying Consistently
Salam and inshaAllah you’re in good health. For a few years now, I’m having great difficulty in performing my salah (5 daily prayers). After saying “Allahu Akbar” I find it hard to focus and find myself thinking about other things. I also have a bad habit of sometimes skipping. The thing is, I dont want to think of salah as a chore, i want to do it out of love for Allah. What’s the best advice you can give me? Shukran in advance 🙂
Wa alykum as-salaam,
So stop praying.
I’m not saying completely, but it may be useful for you to take a step back, for a moment and to look at what you are doing and why.
Now, it can become very easy, and in fact, when you look at prayer as a chore, you will be inclined to thinking that life is better without prayer, because you are not doing something that you “have to.”
I think it would be useful for you to look at prayer in a different way, and it must be your way, but you must connect to prayer and make prayer relevant to your life in the way that makes the most sense. I’ve actually written a response on that, which I give strategies on how to focus on your prayers, and to make the process of prayer easier for those of us who might have trouble concentrating.
You can read that response, here.
I wrote another response on the issue, which you can read here, but I’d like to point your attention to something specific, from this last link I posted:
First things first, don’t compare yourself to others. I did this when I was younger, when I saw a woman on some documentary, who seemed like she had some super amazing connection during prayer, and I didn’t feel like I had the same connection, and I freaked out.
That’s exactly what you shouldn’t do. You need to figure out what is the best way for you and not for someone else, you need to figure out what that is, not me, because I do not know your mind and what motivates you, how you understand things, only you do.
One of the major changes that I used and found helpful, was to equate prayer with my physical well-being. As some of you know, I am particularly fond of sports, but I really did not like practice or working out, and this would drive my coaches mad.
What made me a better athlete, was with the work that I put in, not only did my performance in games improve, but I felt better about myself. My body felt stronger, leaner, as if it had a purpose. Clothes fit better, too, and that was pretty awesome.
Then, during a two month period, I slacked going to the gym, a lot. I felt like I was useless, I was moody, I did not really do things, and I could not play to my abilities, my movements were more labored, and while my body once felt like a purpose-built machine, it now felt like jello (the pork gelatin-free kind), and it just was easier to not work out, because I felt bad, so I just sat around, I did less productive work, I vegetated, it was an endless cycle. Being lazy was awesome, or so I thought, because of the mental state that I had.
However, that first day back in the gym, which I somehow stumbled into, started me back on the right track. I felt better the next day, that soreness, that burn, it felt amazing.
So why do I tell you all this? Because I thought of my prayer the same way. By praying on time, I gave myself discipline, it was something I did not for myself, but to show to God that I was dedicated and that dedication to prayer provided the same sort of discipline and sharpness to my life that working out did for my body. Once I realized that my physical well-being influenced my emotional state of mind, and that my mental strength would push me to maintain my physical body, I began to see all those things as interconnected.
So, if you only want to pray because you want to do it for your love of God, you have to break down and deconstruct what that love means, and more importantly, how you understand that love.
I gave you my perception of things, and my perception is that by following God I improve myself, and that prayer for me is my way of showing to God that I appreciate all that he has given me, and that prayer helps discipline me.
The central issue is how you want to perceive of things, and you have to make it your own. I used a corny sports analogy and working out, and it might be really stupid, but it really worked for me. I know some people who liken prayer to humbling themselves before their Creator, and think of God as their “King,” and so they humble themselves before God. Honestly, prayer is for us, God doesn’t need our prayers, and so I think we should realize that when praying and attempting to rationalize prayer.
So the best advice I can give you is to figure out what “method” and what “perception” will ensure that you pray and continue to do so, and to understand yourself, rather than comparing what you think prayer “should be” to what others think, and just make it what will benefit you.
Again, I’d suggest taking a look at my article on how to think of what you are saying during prayer, which, again, you can read here.
Thank you for your well-wishes, alhamdulilah, I am in good health; insha Allah, I hope you and your family are in the best of health and Iman.
Insha Allah, I hope this helps you, and that if you, or anyone else, has a question on this, or any other subject, please do not hesitate to ask me.