Growing up, you learn to accept prayers as part of your daily routine, but the unfortunate issue is that without the right motivator, it feels like yet another ritualistic thing that you do as you get through your day. For a long time, that’s just what it was for me. A ritual. A banal part of one’s day. Something you do because you know you’re supposed to.
It was never really a conversation with God. Nor was it a time where I could slow life right down and just breathe. But, I’ve been trying to change that over the years. I’m not sure if you guys remember but sometime last year I did a whole post called ‘Writing to my Beloved‘ (I’ve linked it if you want to have a read) and that was a real game changer in understanding who I am in relation to God rather than who He is to me – I’m unsure how else to explain this but that I finally understood. I understood what it means to stop the formalities and really put your hands out before the One who already knows before you even do. In many ways, it crossed that bridge that we’re often too hesitant to walk across because we risk blurring the line between respect for our Lord and getting chatty patty as though He’s a mate. I very clearly remember reading the following verse and knowing it was time to make this change in my life:
If God is truly this close to me, surely He is aware of even my most intimate thoughts? And if this is the case, why am I so afraid of vocalising them? Why am I so afraid of giving life to the thoughts that He already knows about? Perhaps my biggest fear has been judgement of my own self.
That been said, I knew that it wasn’t enough to just be able to feel I can sit down with a pen and paper and write out everything I’m thinking and feeling to God, I knew I also needed to use the time I spend in prayer wisely rather than speeding through it. But this wasn’t as easy. Having reached this point after near 25 years of life, it is a lot to unlearn. More importantly, with the English language being my strong suit (most of the time anyway…), it seemed a lot harder to make that personal connection in prayer when its entirety is conducted in the Arabic language.
Determined not to give up, I tackled the speed first. I asked myself the following question: if I spoke to people in the same speed I recited in, would these people ever speak to me again? The answer was clear as day. So I forced myself to slow it down to the point where I could hear myself enunciate each letter of each word (where appropriate, of course) – to do this, I had to pray a little louder for a while so I could really hear myself. When I felt comfortable enough with the speed, I moved on to building a connection that was rooted in a good place rather than a fleeting one. I begun by learning the translations of each of the chapters of the Qur’an that I’d use frequently – this helped massively because I was no longer doing lip service but actually knew what I was saying. I could hear the translation in my head and feel more personally involved with the words coming out of my mouth. Each verse, and each action of prayer felt like I was calling out to Him.
I know that am nowhere near where I want to be, but I am so far from where I used to be, and that is worth every bit of effort.
May we all grow in our love for Him, and may we all learn how to address the actions of our own selves before it is too late. My loves, may we all grow and flourish most beautifully in His Light, but most of all, may His words soothe our souls when we need it the most.