Prayer, Ardaas or Dua whatever we call it, it is a means of ridding the mind of its ills and desires and filling it with pure thoughts and noble aspirations. The prayer requires an effort of heart-searching, an effort to become more pure and noble. The mind must be emptied of all worldly thoughts so that peace may enter it
[ courtsey: http://www.allaboutsikhs.com/prayers/ardaas.htm]
I recently read a beautiful article on Dua sent by a friend that I am quoting below.. I hope that we all can benefit from it ....
Allah (S.W.T) says in the holy quran, in Sura Baqarah, ayat 186,
"Wa idha sa alaka ibadi anni, fa inni qareeb. Ujeebu da’watad daa’ee idha da aaani, fal yastajeebu lee, wal yu’minu bee, la allahum yarshudoon."
This translates as: " And when my servant asks you concerning me, then surely I am very near; I answer the du’a of the caller when he/she calls me; so they should answer my call too, and believe in me, so that they may be guided aright."
Du’a in Arabic means call, request, supplication or prayer. Du’a builds up a collective discipline that can be used to set up the ideal society based upon love, peace, justice and freedom.
People often complain that their dua’s are not answered. Allah promises us in the Qur’an to answer us if we call, as is shown in the ayat that I read before you from Sura Baqarah.
Allah (S.W.T.) also says, in Sura al-Mu’min ayaat 60 : "Call to Me, I will answer you."
Then why do we sometimes feel that we are not getting an answer?
The following things prevent dua’s being accepted.
Firstly, sins. In one dua, we say to Allah, "Allahummaghfir liyadh dhunoo ballatee tah bisud du’a"
"O Allah, forgive me the sins which hold back supplication" Every sin is a barrier between us and Allah and certain types of sins prevent our duas being answered.
Secondly, that what we are asking for, is not good. In another Du’a we say to Allah:
"Fa in abta anni atabtu bijahli alayk. Wa la allalladhi abta a anni huwa khayrulli li ilmika bi aaqibatil umoor."
"Then if there was a delay in Your answer, I would blame You, due to my ignorance, and perhaps the delay was best for me, for You know the outcome of all affairs"
This verse talks about how disappointed we get when our prayers are not answered, but Allah knows best whether or not what we asked for was good for us.
Lastly, our dua’s might not be answered because we do not pray with total sincerity or because we lack trust in him.
Du’a must be accompanied with action. Imam ALI (as) has said: "One who merely does du’a and fails to act is like one who wishes to shoot an arrow with a string-less bow."
There was once a pious family whose town was flooded. The council sent a truck to rescue them, but they refused help saying that they had prayed to Allah and HE would save them. As the flooding increased, they move to the second floor of the house. The council sent a boat this time. Again they refused help, saying that Allah would save them.
The floods rose even further, and now they were on the roof of the house. The council sent a helicopter but they refused with the same answer. Eventually, they drowned and it is said that they complained to Allah saying they had relied on Him to save them.
The answer came down ~ "I sent you a truck, a boat and a helicopter. What more did you want ?"
Every du’a that is said receives one of the following three things:
Either an answer to the prayer.
Or the du’a will bring a blessing for the reciter.
Or the du’a will ward off a difficulty or calamity.
Thus we should never feel that if Allah does not answer our prayer there is no use of du’a. We may be getting one of the other benefits without realising it.