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Spirituality, Sufism & Starbucks: Hello, It’s Me I've Been Wondering if After All These Years You'd Like to Pray

Spirituality, Sufism & Starbucks: Hello, It's Me -

While having coffee with a friend, she started venting about her work dilemma. She has been trying to find a new job for over a year and she was frustrated with the lack of progress. She was asking me for advice and I told her, “Just pray.” She immediately replied, “What’s the point? My prayers are never answered!”

Our prayers are always answered. Whether in this life or the next, God delivers. It is, however, on His timing, not ours.

I am the first to admit, this concept took me years to accept. I am an instant gratification type of person. When I go to the gym to workout, I expect to wake up having lost 10 pounds over night.

And your Lord says: “Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer)” (40:60).

God is not giving you the silent treatment. He hears you. “When my servants ask you concerning me, (tell them) I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on me” (2:186). Our prayers may not be answered [yet] because He may be testing our faith in order to develop our perseverance. Think of it this way, if every prayer we made was answered immediately, then how much faith would we really have? Or need? Sometimes you have to pull a Jacob and be patient and persistent. Jacob prayed to be reunited with his son, Prophet Joseph, after his devastating disappearance. Both Joseph and Jacob remained resilient and continued praying for a reunion. 40 years later, God answered both their prayers and brought them together. “Never give up hope of God’s mercy.” (12:87)

His “no” is not a rejection but perhaps, a redirection. God says, “And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. God knows but you do not know.” (2:216)

When I was up for a promotion, a few years ago, I not only prayed hard for it, I wanted it badly, too. The hiring manager told me he wanted to offer me the position but he needed to wait on the final approval from human resources. I did not end up getting the job and needless to say, I was devastated. A year later, the entire department was laid off and that position was eliminated. Not long after that, the entire company was acquired. Within that time of transition, I did receive a new job that gave me a senior level title, higher salary and relocated me to another part of California. Ultimately, I was given everything I had prayed for, but not in the manner in which I thought was best for me.

Are you praying for more money but not paying sadaqa? 

Often times, when we feel there is either a delay in our prayers or we do not receive an answer, we lose faith and thus start to lose hope. This in turn, causes disturbance with our spirituality and ultimately from our religion. This is a common issue and it is important to differentiate from the situation causing a delay and the spiritual component associated with supplicating. For instance, are you praying for material things but not putting in the necessary actions to purify your spirituality? In other words, are you praying for more money but not paying sadaqa (charity)? Once you can make this distinction, you will find your faith restored and ultimately your spirituality will be stronger.

As I told my friend, if some of your prayers have not been answered the way you want; it should not prevent you from continuing to make supplication. All our prayers are answered some way or the other.  Prophet Muhammad (SAW) tells us, “Do not stop making dua, because nobody who makes dua is forsaken.” It has been reported in a Hadith, that on the Day of Judgement, our deeds will be weighed on a scale, our prayers will be weighed, also. The prayers that were not answered in our life will give us a bounty of good deeds. Thus, tipping the scale in our favor. God will fulfill our desires. In that moment, we would wish for none of our prayers to have been accepted in this life, as the reward we will receive from it in the Hereafter, will be greater than we could have imagined. In the words of Uncle Jessie, “Have mercy!”

“And invoke Him with fear and hope, surely the mercy of God is near to those who do good” (7:56). I have found when I was in desperate need of Divine intervention and feeling broken, after surrendering to Him, and supplicating from the depth of my soul, my answer was given on miraculous timing. Not too long ago, after a routine check up, a physician gave me a horrific diagnosis that was life threatening. I felt defeated, physically, mentally and spiritually. I surrendered to God’s plan for me and continued praying even though the prognosis was grim. Within a matter of weeks, my follow up test results were reversed. The doctor walked in bewildered and he said, “I am at a loss for words. You are truly a miracle. I have never seen somebody’s results go from fatal to miracle.” I cannot fail to mention, in addition to my prayers being answered, so were my parents’, my other family members’, my friends’ and my spiritual mentors who graciously prayed on my behalf. Prayer is powerful.

Furthermore, when I make supplication during the third of the night, I find it to be the most powerful time. We know, between the hours of Isha and Fajr, the gates of heaven are open and Angels descend upon earth looking for those who are in supplication. This is confirmed by our Prophet’s saying, “Our Lord descends to the lowest heaven during the last third of the night, inquiring: ‘Who will call on Me so that I may respond to him? Who is asking something of Me so I may give it to him? Who is asking for My forgiveness so I may forgive him?”‘ 

Being grateful is a reoccurring theme that you will encounter in many forms, throughout your spiritual evolution. As I discussed on a previous post, being in a state of gratitude keeps you in His Divine vibration to receive His blessings. When you pray, give thanks for your current blessings and open your heart to make room for more of His blessings.

Recap:
1). Have conviction. Have trust. Have hope.
2). Surrender to Him.
3). Be patient and persistent, “And seek assistance through patience and prayer…”(2:45)
4). Continue to evolve in your spirituality

For those who follow the Islamic faith, I suggest to start by chanting the following on the prayer beads, daily. Astafighallah; Lahillah Lillah, and Al-Mujeeb (the One who responds) 99 times each. Praise Him for His Divine attributes and follow up with making sincere supplication

In love and light.

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