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A successful prayer

Words of Faith, Prayers of Ostad Elahi

Prayer is the most universal spiritual practice. It connects the spirit of human beings to the Divine, thus preventing them from forgetting Him. But it also enables one to revert back to oneself, to one’s true dimension, which is spiritual in nature.

Ostad Elahi practiced prayer in various forms since childhood and referred to the essential conditions of prayer many times in his works. Some of his recommendations regarding prayer can be found in Words of Faith: Prayers of Ostad Elahi, which was published on the occasion of the centennial of his birth.

Here are some excerpts from this book:

  • Intention is the main thing in praying. No matter what your religion or what language you speak, as soon as your attention is focused on God, your prayer is accepted.
  • To be effective, prayer must combine action, attention and recollection.
  • The act of prayer is not limited to a particular time and place: wherever and whenever you are with God, God is with you.
  • The effect of prayer depends on the time, the intention, the sincerity and the feelings of the person who is praying.
  • Praying must not be motivated by fear, hypocrisy, or greed; it should spring from pure intention, aiming at nothing but God’s satisfaction.
  • Why are there repetitions in prayers? Because repetition eventually results in concentrated attention which in turn strengthens the capacity for attention.
  • Do not let yourself be deceived by the imperious self when it says “Now that you can’t pray as you should, you’d better not pray at all!” This is typical of the imperious self; it shouldn’t be listened to.
  • Every intimate discourse with God is registered in the spiritual world and stays there forever. Likewise, every time your thoughts wander, it is reflected there.
  • Praying for one’s parents and for people of faith is a service rendered to society, for it is like sowing the seeds of goodness.
  • While praying, in order to achieve attention to God, think that you are addressing a large assembly: you must feel every word before you speak it, and concerning humility and submission, imagine that you stand before God and He is listening to you.
  • Praying, even reluctantly, is better than not praying at all.
  • You should all reach the level where praying, far from being an obligation, gives you joy and elation.
  • A heartfelt prayer leaves a trace that lasts for a thousand years.
  • Wherever you hear the Name of God, respect it, welcome it, and be blessed by it—never mind who speaks it or where it is spoken. Do not set yourself apart.

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  1. tom Nov 13, 2017 5:05 pm 1

    “While praying, in order to achieve attention to God, think that you are addressing a large assembly: you must feel every word before you speak it, and concerning humility and submission, imagine that you stand before God and He is listening to you.”

    Does anyone have experience with this? I have tried to do this, but still get lost in my words and can get distracted.

    1. Ash Aug 02, 2018 3:00 pm 1.1

      When I try to get into the right mentality, I just try to describe God’s magnificence in my mind. That God is omnipresent and omniscient and that I can’t even be considered a drop in the ocean of things he has willed into existence. I am dependent on God to exist and express my desire to fulfill my duties in order to satisfy my creator. I try to also recall something Malak Jan Nemati said, that is, that one should not pursue spirituality to obtain a specific result; not power, visions, miracles, or even progress towards perfection. That we should fulfill our duties for the sake of fulfilling them and adore God simply because He is worthy of adoration (See “Malak Jan Nemati” by Leili Anvar Page 52)

      From experience, these thoughts become more sincere the more I try to pay attention to God through my actions against the imperious self towards speaking, thinking and doing good.

      1. tom Aug 03, 2018 1:23 pm 1.1.1

        Thank you for this beautiful comment.

    2. Haleh Jun 26, 2021 3:11 am 1.2

      I am a teacher. When I am teaching in class, nothing distracts my mind. All my attention is on what I am saying to my students and I look at the faces of my students to see if they understand and follow what I am talking about. Sometimes, when I am praying, I pretend I am in class and together with my students we are performing a group prayer. I say the words thinking if everyone truly understands the meaning and if they can all relate. So, most of the times, I can keep my attention to what I am saying.
      (It has been a long time since you wrote that comment, hope it still interests you.)

    3. Bob Jan 05, 2024 6:37 pm 1.3

      When I pray, I do try to visualize a large assembly and speaking to God with heartfelt love and gratitude. I need prepare myself for prayer to have this effect. I like to mouth the words slowly whispering the words and trying to feel every word carefully as though God is listening intently. It also helps to envision myself as a microscopic being before God’s vastness and this helps to instill humility as I pray.

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