Beginning with a short period of silence can help people connect to God through themselves. Encourage people to completely focus on God during this time. Alternatively you can sing two or three worship songs before prayer begins. Give brief instructions about prayer.
It can help to give a few instructions about prayer before beginning the prayers. People need guidance and direction in order to feel comfortable during the meeting. This way they will also be more open and willing to participate actively. Have a short discussion about prayers and requests. Sometimes it is nice to allow people to request certain prayers or topics to pray for. However, be careful that this discussion does not take more than five minutes.
It is very easy for a prayer meeting to turn into a discussion about prayer rather than a time for actual prayers. Read a short passage from the bible. This is not required but can help get people into a spiritual mode. Make sure this passage is short; it should be about 5 minutes long and definitely no longer than 10 minutes. The point of a prayer meeting is to pray. If you let people speak about their own personal prayers or read verses for a long time then it is no longer a prayer meeting.
Make sure you keep the focus on prayer throughout the meeting. Use variety. Make prayer meetings different from one another and use different prayers within the prayer meeting. Try different forms for the meetings such as singing prayers, changing between small and large groups, being led in prayer, praying through confessions and taking prayer requests.
Allow people to pray for short periods. Allow people to pray when they feel they want to rather than going around the circle and having everybody pray. Going around the circle is time-consuming and people end up composing their prayers as the circle gets closer to them rather than fully joining the prayers. Pray for one topic at a time.
Choose an issue and stick to it for a time until you are finished praying for that topic. Only once you have finished praying for that issue should you move to another. Keep prayers focused on one topic to keep the people focused and thus make those prayers strong. Keep things moving.
Praying for an hour can seem difficult but if you break it up into shorter prayers, including silent prayer, led prayer, read prayer, large group prayer and small group prayer then you have broken it into smaller pieces. Keep the prayers moving and over time an hour of prayers will no longer seem like a long time.
Give people a time to let the prayers sink in and connect with their hearts. End the prayer meeting in a way that gives it structure and closure. One good way to end the meeting is with a Bible reading relevant to the meeting topic. Be patient. Praying out loud is difficult for some people and praying for minutes can feel awkward at first. It takes practice. Keep working at your prayers and the group will grow together and become stronger. Allow for spontaneity. You want people to feel comfortable praying so the meeting should be flexible and intentional.
Create an open environment for those who attend the meeting so that they can pray with their whole hearts and minds. This will also help to get everyone to participate. Include children if appropriate. Once this is relieved, your interpersonal relationships will improve, as you emanate warmth from being at peace with yourself. Once stress has been dissipated through an effective meditation and relaxation exercise, your view of the world becomes much more pleasant. This way the brain is also relieved of the pressure from the overload and you are able to concentrate in your Prayer.
It is therefore recommended that you exercise, meditate and relax, employing deep breathing strategies before resting at night and in the early morning hours. Silence is part of wisdom. It is a sign of every virtue. It is the style of The Prophets AS , and the habit of the chosen people. According to traditions, all the organs in your body are safeguarded when your tongue is protected. However, in many cases, silence is strenuous to practice but very fruitful in the end.
By maintaining silence and pondering over every sentence you speak, you would hardly commit yourself to speculation, backbiting, pride, mockery, lying, etc. This way, you have less to think about and less thoughts to interrupt you in your Daily Prayer. It will only add to your disadvantage if you involve yourself in careless and purposeless conversations, as you increase the chances of losing the train of your thought in your Prayer. You should be careful of your tongue at all times and employ it in earning only the pleasure of Allah SWT. You are dictating to your angel a letter to Allah SWT , so speak what concerns you and omit that which does not concern you.
The celebrated mystic of our time, the great al-Taba Tabai RA concludes the following, after years of struggle in his quest for attaining spiritual perfection:. I have witnessed the most precious effects of silence. Practicing silence for forty days and nights, speaking only when it is absolutely required and remaining occupied in meditation and invocation until attaining purity and enlightenment.
Eating and drinking is also one of those matters with regard to which people go to extremes and, of course, mostly towards excess. No doubt, you need food to live and it is necessary that food should reach the cells of your body to maintain life. However, the important question is how much food your body needs and whether excessive food is good or harmful. You should know that a human body is like fertile land. If moderation is exercised in the matter of its development, i. However, the land will become barren if not properly looked after.
Therefore, over-eating is a major cause of inattention in Prayer, and one needs to take care of this problem five times a day before every Prayer. Luqman Hakim once said to his beloved son:. Dear son!
When the stomach is full your faculty of thinking goes to sleep, and your tongue of wisdom becomes dumb and your limbs fail to worship Allah SWT. Keep track of the level of your attention and concentration in Prayer. If it is the right level, give thanks; if wrong, ask for forgiveness. Self-conditioning, contemplation and self-examination are essential pre-requisites for a seeker of truth who is battling with his self.
This is the time to see whether you have been honest to the Giver of all, to whom everybody is accountable. If you have been faithful to Him, you should be thankful to Him that He has made you successful in your intentions. Furthermore, Shaytan and his accursed legions may magnify the volume of the task in your eyes, but these are the guile played by the cheat. You should always curse, and drive away the devil and evil thoughts from within the depths of your heart and the domain of your mind.
Reviewing your performance on the Daily Prayer should be part of the contemplation you employ every night, to be able to scan through all the problems and suggest possible solutions. Thus, the next Prayer is significantly different from the previous one. Unfortunately, in any relaxed state and in particular the Prayer, it is only human to have numerous creative thoughts, as well as recollections of things you forgot or need to do. It has been advised by great scholars to write these thoughts down on a piece of paper so you may free your mind to concentrate on the Prayer.
You can then more easily continue without clinging to thoughts you fear you might forget. You will be bringing your conscious and subconscious mind closer together and this will yield much useful information and ideas you will want to pursue upon completion of your Prayer. As such, you should relieve yourself before starting Prayer, and you should satisfy your hunger or thirst as well.
Also, since over-eating creates a lack of attention and concentration, you should observe moderation if you have to eat before Prayer. Drinking a full glass of water is recommended before Prayer. A campaign has been launched in several schools in the United Kingdom to encourage children to drink more water to increase their concentration.
Studies have found that children who are dehydrated do not work as well in the classroom as those who have drunk the recommended eight glasses of water a day. All brain activity is neurological and is a chemical activity which doesn't function without water. If you are busy investigating something or you are disturbed and agitated about a particular event, you should try within the bounds of possibilities, to eliminate the causes of the worry before Prayer. Think it, and work it out before you stand in front of the Almighty.
This way you appear before Allah SWT secured and free from insecurities of life. The cloth you wear during Prayer may also be an obstacle if it is tight, or very loose and uncomfortable. The following tradition gives us an idea of what could transpire in Prayer and what one is supposed to do to maintain the concentration in his Prayer. The Imam did not arrange it until he had finished his Prayer.
When I questioned him about it, he said:. No doubt, sadness brings to your soul many benefits, one of which is a revolution of the soul. It is the time when you are sad and grief-stricken, that you are able to fully organize and empower yourself to be most attentive in Prayer. It is widely accepted that a sad mind is more attuned towards an objective Allah SWT , in this case and more capable of maintaining a high level of attention and concentration.
Allah SWT has described the learned and said:. They fall on their faces crying and they become increasingly humble. At this juncture, it should be made clear that crying and shedding tears for personal reasons during Prayer will make your Prayer null and void. You should be patient with your practice of attention.
You do not perform masterfully the first time in any given circumstance.
It is the continued practice of meditation, relaxation and attention that reaps benefits. You should not expect specific benefits in a short period of time. Invoking Allah SWT and addressing your problem of inattention is a good practice, as He would definitely assist you in this matter. As He has said:. Patience on My obedience is easier for you than patience in the Fire of Hell. Hadith al-Qudsi. Whenever you intend to perform a good deed, Shaytan is there instantly to persuade you not to do it.
He may practice tricks on you and convince you not to do the deed, but you have to be careful. You should be able to identify these tricks and discard them. Diagnosing his entrance to your soul is an effective way to solve this issue. And if Shaytan is not successful in convincing you not to do a particular obedient act then he will try his level best to make you do it quickly and with the least of concentration. What a difference between us and those obedient servants of Allah SWT who welcome acts of worship, attend to them with pleasure and fulfill them efficiently.
We think that Allah SWT Almighty has burdened us with duties, consider them troublesome and view them as a burden. This is surely not so. Patience at the time of Affliction; Patience in regard to Obedience; Patience in regard to Disobedience. One who bears patiently with affliction, resisting it with a fair consolation, Allah SWT uplifts him degrees, the elevation of one degree over another being like the distance between earth and heavens.
He had nothing to eat and neither was he invited for a meal on that strenuous day. He thus decided to visit one of the houses of Allah SWT i. It is reported that he passed the whole night in hunger and his invocation was not answered. The next day The Prophet S was informed of the situation. He S , at that very moment, was blessed with a revelation from the Almighty that:.
Tell our guest that We were his Host last night and wanted to provide him with sumptuous food, but found no better food than hunger! How sweet and beautiful are the hunger, silence and seclusion? Fasting has not only been well established and well researched as a primal source of mental alertness, but the act has also been well ignored.
Fasting is considered one of the safest therapeutic agents known today in natural as well as conventional medicine. If only we could use fasting, as a way to increase our mental capability to concentrate, not only would we benefit from the fast, we would also achieve the pleasure of Allah SWT. In its wisdom, and here lies the secret of the extraordinary effectiveness of fasting as a powerful mode of therapy, the body will decompose and burn those cells and tissues which are diseased, damaged or dead and responsible for accumulating toxins in our body and brain.
During fasting, there also occurs the building of new, healthy cells thus bringing your body to a dynamic state. In this process, the cleansing capacity of the eliminative organs - lungs, liver, kidneys and the skin - is greatly increased, and masses of accumulated metabolic wastes and toxins are quickly expelled. Fasting also offers physiological rest to all the major organs in the body, including the brain, and there is a stabilizing effect on all the vital physiological, nervous and mental functions.
Mental powers are thus improved. If a servant performs the Prayer as much as that of the people of the earth and the heaven, and fasts as much as that of the people of the earth and the heaven, and refrains, like the angels, from food, and wears the apparel of a devotee, then I see in his heart a bit of love for this world or for worldly reputation, leadership, celebrity and ornaments, he will not be in an abode in My neighborhood and I will drive My love out of his heart and make it dark until he forgets Me.
I will not let him taste the sweetness of My love. According to Ayatullah Ibrahim Amini, one of the greatest obstacle to attaining the state of perfect communion with Allah SWT is unwavering attachment to worldly allurements namely, wealth and property, power and position. There are various interpretations of the term World.
What is essential here is to understand the Disapproved World. According to al-Majlisi RA :. All things that prevent men and women from obeying Allah SWT and keep them away from His Love, and from seeking the hereafter, is defined as the Disapproved World. These attractions may include television and radio and their related illicit pleasures; being part of a group that only backbites people and uses foul language; fill oneself with food at all times; being lazy and wasting time on useless matters, and so forth.
This is the world one has to refrain from. The disapproved world is cursed! And there is nothing more hateful to Allah SWT than the disapproved world. He created it then left it. Blessed are those people who stay far away from this world, and those who await the Hereafter.
They take the earth of Allah SWT as a carpet, its soil as a pillow and its water as perfume. The abode of truth for him who appreciates its truthfulness, a place of safety for him who understands it, a mine of treasures for him who collects provisions from it for the next world , and a house of instructions for him who draws lessons from it.
Herein, they earn His Mercy and herein they acquire Paradise by way of profit.
This is the Approved World. When a thought comes, a command stop is used subconsciously to arrest and halt that thought and the person does not dwell on it. If this strategy is used on all incoming thoughts, then one will assume command and control over his incoming thoughts during Prayer. When doubts in the Prayer become too frequent, do not give heed to them, and regard the Prayer to be correct.
It is hoped that this state would leave you, as Shaytan causes it. Shaytan is evil and gets accustomed to what he is habituated to. That malignant Shaytan, the Accursed wants to be obeyed. So, if he is disobeyed he will not come back to you. Arresting your thoughts can help you overcome nagging worry and doubt, which stands in the way of your attention towards the Almighty. Arresting a thought involves concentrating intensely on the unwanted thought and suddenly stopping and emptying the mind.
The command STOP is generally used to interrupt the distracting thought. One technique is to draw a small dot on a piece of paper and concentrating on it very intensely. Any thought coming to your mind has to be thrown back and ignored. Focusing more on the dot, and freezing your mind will give rise to unwavering meditation. This way your brain gets habituated to concentrating for longer periods of time without letting distracting thoughts interrupt your goals. Figure One. It is also more effective if you explore and list down all the stressful and negative thoughts that interfere with your Prayer.
You should then categorize them in the following four sections - No interference, Interferes a little, Interferes moderately and Interferes a great deal. This way, you have a list, and all this needs to be done in writing. It should be understood as an accepted fact that none of these thoughts are productive during Prayer.
Arresting your thoughts requires consistent motivation. You should decide now that you really want to eliminate these negative thoughts during Prayer. Once this is done and the thoughts put in writing and categorized as mentioned above, close your eyes and visualize each thought, starting with the one that interferes a little only, and try and solve the problem in your mind.
This way, a thought will be eliminated and will have no place in your Prayer. Together, and after some time, you will eliminate all the thoughts including the ones that interfere a great deal. This exercise should be performed daily so no thought is misplaced or forgotten.
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Some thoughts may return again and again, so you will just have to learn to interrupt them. Like the experts say, the main effort is to stifle each thought as it begins, and to concentrate on your Prayer.
The Ways to Pray Series Significant quantity discounts available. Now, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth, making a quiet, breezy sound as you gently breathe out. Other denominations Pentecostalism and other churches For the first 60 years of the 20th century, Pentecostalism was largely confined to specifically Pentecostal denominations, but in the s Pentecostal ideas became a source of renewal in other Protestant churches, and this extended to some Roman Catholic churches shortly afterwards. It is a sign of every virtue. Fill them with steadfastness, patience, and hope by the Holy Spirit Col. If one does not succeed in the very first attempt, instead of getting disappointed, he should become more determined and serious in trying again, until attaining domination over the self gradually. Ephesians is a good example.
The thoughts will return less and less readily in most cases, and eventually cease to be a problem. The principal way of taming it evil desires is to act to its contrary. That is, at the time of the Prayer one is to prepare himself to control the imagination during the Prayer and confine it to action, and, as soon as it tries to slip out of his hand, to recapture it. One should carefully watch it in all the actions, recitations, invocations, etc. At the beginning, this seems to be a difficult task.
But after a while of strict practice and treatment, it will certainly become tame and obedient. You should not, of course, expect yourself, at the beginning, to be able to control the bird of imagination along the Prayer completely. Actually, this is impossible. Perhaps those who stressed this impossibility had such expectations. The situation requires intention, careful patience and gradual training.
It is possible that you can first control your imagination during only one-tenth of the Prayer or even less than that, in which you can have the presence of heart. Then, if one pays more attention, and if he feels himself in need of that, he can attain a better result, and can gradually overcome the Shaytan of fancy and the bird of imagination, such that they come under his control in most of the Prayer.
The idea is to develop piety and fear in you and to convince your soul the importance of Prayer. Everyday your life is getting shorter but still you do not understand? Each day I send down to you My bounties but you are not thankful to Me about them. You are neither content with My little provision nor are you satisfied with a lot of it. You can only fear death if you have the knowledge of what will happen to you after death.
Indeed, the Infallible Imams AS have advised you to constantly think and fear death and that death is a strong weapon for the devout believer to defeat Shaytan and his weak forces. He who is cautious about his performances, big or small, will not commit any wrong act. Apparently, this is one of the most efficient ways to scrutinize your behavior and lead a good and decent life.
This way, you would have a strong and valid reason not to lose your concentration whilst communicating with Allah SWT. Remembering death suppresses inordinate desires. It uproots the very foundation of negligence and apathy. It softens the hard mentality of a man. It demolishes the banners of inordinate desires and transgression. When the son of Adam comes to his last day in this world and the first of the next, his property, his children and his actions flash before him. I was covetous of you and avaricious. What have you got for me? Surely I was your love and I was your protector.
What have you in store for me? I was indifferent to you and you were distasteful to me. What do you have for me? And he recognizes the one who washes his body and earnestly appeals to his carrier to hasten him to the grave. Then when he enters his grave, two angels come to him and they are the interrogators in the grave, with elegantly dressed hair, writing on earth with their teeth, their voice like roaring thunder and their eyes like streaking lightening.
And who is your Prophet? And what is your Religion? Allah SWT confirms those who believe with the sure word in this worldly life and the Hereafter. The dwellers of the Garden shall on that Day be in a better abiding place and a better resting-place. And yet again, a desperate prayer. In Jonah, prayer is all over the place. He responds. He dialogues. Because of prayer, people get saved—sailors, a prophet, a king, and a city of more than , people.
Ultimately, Jonah is not even really about prayer. Very few, you might think.
There are certainly people I pray for nearly every day. Some of them asked me five or 10 years ago to pray for them. Holy Spirit tells me not to stop, at least not yet. Or perhaps they do. I can guarantee someone is praying for you. See Luke ; John , 20; Hebrews Grab this picture—hang on to it. There are more people praying for you than you realise. Chief among them is Jesus. Imagine the power of his prayers for you. Stand up against the fury of my foes! Ever taught this kind of prayer to your children? Thank God that prayer is not make-believe.
If you feel a need for this kind of prayer—pray it. Become an intercessor. Pray for people devastated by abuse, crime, terrorism, or persecution. In your heart, enter their situation, and pray this prayer for them. When you read this kind of prayer in the Bible, consider your ultimate enemy. He has terrorised you, abused you. Of all the holy people of his time, Jesus was the holiest. He came to their level, and chatted with them.
They chatted back. Conversation included stories and laughter, and sometimes tears—this was their language, and the language of Heaven. Matthew —5. Ask God to help and bless them. Give thanks for them. Pray for kings. No-one has to tell us to pray for our loved ones. Then prayerfully select a country, district, or people group in the area of your choice. Put this on your regular list for intercession and thanksgiving. Learn about your selected nation. If you have children, involve them in this project of prayer. When you arrive in Heaven, imagine the stories Jesus will tell you, about the impact of your prayers in the nation of your choice.
I tried to find someone who would pray to me for the land. No-one to pray! All I need is a few people to look to me, and ask me for my blessing! This sad verse is good news, actually. We can turn things around by taking a stand. We can ask God for his blessing on our nation and our church. Pray for those who hurt you. What a challenging command. The alternative is bitterness and criticism—which poison our soul, stain our conscience, and jeopardise our health.
Love and pray. You cannot pray for someone, and hate that person at the same time. Prayer is a weapon of peace that might not change the other person right away, but it can change you right away. Seize the weapon! One of the holiest people in history knew that personal holiness is never the basis for answered prayer. How different are some of our prayers. So please answer this prayer! God values our holiness, and holiness keeps the pathway clear. But always, only, our prayers are answered because God loves us so much.
No doubt you have a schedule, too. Then, what will you do? Your schedule is impaired by impatience. You can hardly see tomorrow, let alone wait for it. I put my trust in him, and in his schedule. I will live in his love as I wait. There are some smart people out there who define God as the pulsating energy of the universe, the mysterious force that fills the void of our speculations. If there is a supernatural God, can we please let him speak for himself—instead of confining him to the limits of our natural intelligence?
God has spoken for himself. Then, you will receive, find and enter. Here is philosophy in a nutshell. God declares himself to us as real, personal, reaching out, inviting, connecting. The essence? Ask, search, knock. Then you will r eceive, find, enter. When you pray in simplicity of faith, you are transformed for eternity by Almighty God. In some congregations there are one or two people tormented by a spirit of criticism. Sad, toxic personalities, consumed by something they perceive as wrong—usually a minor point of belief or behavior.
Where we give grace, they dispense condemnation. Where we respond with the Gospel, they react with the law. Where we extend support, they demand control. One such person can keep a whole church on edge. The devil loves it—because it poisons the spirit of united prayer. In one fell swoop, the dark side dims the spiritual power of the church. But right here is our battle strategy! Pray all kinds of prayers. Bring specific, united, bold and relentless prayer into the situation. Then stand by for the miracle that will soon take place. Just say the word, and I have strength for the day.
Just say the word, and my family receives help. Just say the word, and my worries fall away. Just say the word, and our community is blessed. In our prayers, we beg, cajole, plead, complain, and weep. Sublime words. But through prayer you stand side-by-side with Almighty God, orchestrating plans and dispensing blessings around yourself and around our planet.
So it was only one in the large sanctuary. Prayer is not only a way to talk intimately with God. Why are you upset? Wait for God! For I will again give thanks to my God for his saving intervention. Look at who the psalmist is talking to—his deep, inner self. First, he is real about his discouragement. This is not incidental—the same words repeat in verse 11, and in verse 5 of the next psalm. This is encouraging.
Jesus prayed about things, too.