It was 6 am and the blaring sound of my phone jolted me awake. I grudgingly yanked it off the nightstand and with one eye open took a peek at the screen. I could see the preview of my unopened WhatsApp message.
The words glared at me from the bright screen. Causing me to quickly close my eye and slowly re-open as it adjusted to the light. The message challenged me to accept its request. It urged me to start off my day, prostrating to my Lord. I knew it was something I should do, but the warm covers on my bed lured me back to sleep. Just a few more minutes I told myself as my eye slowly shut. My phone fell out of my hand as I drifted back to sleep. The light on the screen faded to black and the message disappeared into its darkness.
Challenge denied. Another sunrise, another missed prayer.
My struggle with Salah goes back as far as I can recall. I always loved how I felt after prayer, but I also struggled to find the motivation to pray. For the soul to be at peace is the greatest nourishment in the world. But why do I continue to starve it day after day?
I am still trying to find the answer.
This is a struggle that many of us do not talk about. An inner battle faced every day. Stigma is also a major factor, due to the fear of judgment and chastisement. How does that empower us to run back to prayer?
Daily, I try to drown out the clanging of the swords as they fight to preserve the honor of prayer. I turn the TV up loud or engross myself in work to suffocate the noise. My heart screams at me, begging me to get up, splash the cold wudu water on my face and spend time with my Lord.
But many times, my legs feel like bricks chained to the floor.
Yes, I am fearful. Fearful of the day when I will inevitably meet my Lord. Fearful of the lightness of my scale, due to the lack of prayer. My Lord asking me what went wrong? Knowing that my answer will not be enough.
I am married and a mother now. I can see the sadness on my husband’s face when I don’t pray and my daughter watches my every move. My heart sinks every time she asks: “Mommy why didn’t you pray today?”
I have no excuse. I am starting to notice that when my husband asks her to pray, she is no longer interested. Following in my footsteps and it breaks my heart.
I have to do better.
I am one of her biggest influences and also need to reconcile my relationship with my Lord. I sat down to think about what really sparks my desire to pray. Here is what I discovered:
- Environment: I realize when my source of peace becomes disorganized and messy, the calmness and tranquility gets buried under the clutter. Being a mom and on the go, it’s easy for my home to become chaotic. But even if I can just find one corner or area to reserve and clear for prayer, I know this will bring me one step closer.
- Friends: Having like-minded friends who are striving to observe and protect their prayer is beneficial. Every morning, my friend Mariam faithfully texts me on Whatsapp. Reminding me to pray. She never gives up. Even when I barely text her back and I am thankful to her for it. May Allah reward her, ameen.
- Alarm: We get so busy with life and sometimes lose track of time and then the window for prayer has passed. Set an alarm. Let your phone be a reminder for you.
- Athan Clock: I have one. But the batteries died and I never replaced them. I never really stopped to think about how helpful it was and is. I also keep the clock in another room, so I just can’t roll over and turn it off. When you hear the beautiful call to prayer, it’s really hard to ignore.
- Mental Health: I find when I am stressed or neglect my mental health, prayer is pushed to the back burner. Take time for you sis. This is not something to be ashamed of. I’m not afraid to admit I seek professional counseling in my times of need. Healthy mental health is essential to complete many daily activities, including prayer.
I know I will never be perfect and my willpower must remain strong, but I have faith I am heading in the right direction. Remember, that our Lord is most forgiving and most merciful. He understands our struggles and knows our intentions. Keep fighting sis and never give up.
What helps you to pray?