We often wonder how strong and effective our prayers are.
One way of assessing the effectiveness of our prayers is to see if there is a negative relationship (correlation) between our prayers and our longing for the materialistic aspects of the world.
Don’t get me wrong! I am not saying that the materialistic aspects of the world are necessarily bad or useless. We all have responsibilities and we are all human beings who need to live comfortably and there is nothing wrong with making sure that from the materialistic perspective we are fine or even more than fine.
However there is a fact that desire for materialistic aspects of life does not help a lot with our longing for spiritual purification. A good prayer not only adjusts our desire for materialistic aspects of the world, but also cleans up any dirt that our natural (or sometimes unnatural) worldly efforts may have brought to our hearts.
Accordingly, in assessing the effectiveness of our prayers, the following criteria may help:
- Does my prayer stop me from evil thoughts and intentions?
- When I have been involved with worldly affairs for a long time, do I feel that I need to pray to refresh my soul? (just like when I have had too much sweats and feel longing for a toothbrush).
- Do I feel spiritually fresh after a prayer?
- Do I feel the difference between a prayer that is done on time and one that is done much later than its start time?
- Do I look forward for the next prayer?
If our answer to the above contains more ‘Yes’ than ‘No’, then we can hope that we are seeing indications of effective prayers. As our ‘Yes’ answers become stronger we can hope that we are getting better in offering effective prayers.
A wise man once said: “If you want to see how strong your relationship with God is, see how much you enjoy your prayers”.
(Dr Abdullah Rahim)