May 7

A’maal to be done on any One Day in the Month of Jamadiul Aakher

Jamadul Aakher (Thani) 1434 From April 12, 2013 Until May 10, 2013

Recommended A’maal to be done on any one day in the month of Jamadiul Aakher…

Sayyid ibn Tawus has stated that one should recite four rakaats of prayer - two sets of rakaats -during this month anytime he wishes. One who performs the following a’maals will have guaranteed safety for  his life, wealth, and family for the full year. If he dies, he will achieve the thawaab of a martyr.

METHOD :To pray 4 RAKAAT NAMAAZ- ( 2 RAKAAT X 2) as below:

1st RAKAAT- AFTER AL HAMD/FATIHA- ONE TIMEAYATUL KURSI


سُوۡرَةُالبَقَرَة


ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلۡحَىُّ ٱلۡقَيُّومُ‌ۚ لَا تَأۡخُذُهُ ۥ سِنَةٌ۬ وَلَا نَوۡمٌ۬‌ۚ لَّهُ ۥ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ‌ۗ مَن ذَا ٱلَّذِى يَشۡفَعُ عِندَهُ ۥۤ إِلَّا بِإِذۡنِهِۦ‌ۚ يَعۡلَمُ مَا بَيۡنَ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَمَا خَلۡفَهُمۡ‌ۖ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَىۡءٍ۬ مِّنۡ عِلۡمِهِۦۤ إِلَّا بِمَا شَآءَ‌ۚ وَسِعَ كُرۡسِيُّهُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَ‌ۖ وَلَا يَـُٔودُهُ ۥ حِفۡظُهُمَا‌ۚ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَلِىُّ ٱلۡعَظِيمُ (٢٥٥) لَآ إِكۡرَاهَ فِى ٱلدِّينِ‌ۖ قَد تَّبَيَّنَ ٱلرُّشۡدُ مِنَ ٱلۡغَىِّ‌ۚ فَمَن يَكۡفُرۡ بِٱلطَّـٰغُوتِ وَيُؤۡمِنۢ بِٱللَّهِ فَقَدِ ٱسۡتَمۡسَكَ بِٱلۡعُرۡوَةِ ٱلۡوُثۡقَىٰ لَا ٱنفِصَامَ لَهَا‌ۗ وَٱللَّهُ سَمِيعٌ عَلِيمٌ (٢٥٦) ٱللَّهُ وَلِىُّ ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ يُخۡرِجُهُم مِّنَ ٱلظُّلُمَـٰتِ إِلَى ٱلنُّورِ‌ۖ وَٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوٓاْ أَوۡلِيَآؤُهُمُ ٱلطَّـٰغُوتُ يُخۡرِجُونَهُم مِّنَ ٱلنُّورِ إِلَى ٱلظُّلُمَـٰتِ‌ۗ أُوْلَـٰٓٮِٕكَ أَصۡحَـٰبُ ٱلنَّارِ‌ۖ هُمۡ فِيہَا خَـٰلِدُونَ (٢٥٧)

and 25 X SURA AL QADR 

سُوۡرَةُالقَدر

بِسۡمِٱللهِٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِٱلرَّحِيمِ

إِنَّآأَنزَلۡنَـٰهُفِىلَيۡلَةِٱلۡقَدۡرِ (١وَمَآأَدۡرَٮٰكَمَالَيۡلَةُٱلۡقَدۡرِ (٢لَيۡلَةُٱلۡقَدۡرِخَيۡرٌ۬مِّنۡأَلۡفِشَہۡرٍ۬ (٣تَنَزَّلُٱلۡمَلَـٰٓٮِٕكَةُوَٱلرُّوحُفِيہَابِإِذۡنِرَبِّہِممِّنكُلِّأَمۡرٍ۬ (٤سَلَـٰمٌهِىَحَتَّىٰمَطۡلَعِٱلۡفَجۡرِ (٥)

2nd  RAKAAT- AFTER AL HAMD/FATIHA- ONE TIME SURA AT TAKATHUR (102)

 

سُوۡرَةُالتّکاثُر

بِسۡمِٱللهِٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِٱلرَّحِيمِ



أَلۡهَٮٰكُمُٱلتَّكَاثُرُ (١حَتَّىٰزُرۡتُمُٱلۡمَقَابِرَ (٢كَلَّاسَوۡفَتَعۡلَمُونَ (٣ثُمَّكَلَّاسَوۡفَتَعۡلَمُونَ (٤كَلَّالَوۡتَعۡلَمُونَعِلۡمَٱلۡيَقِينِ (٥لَتَرَوُنَّٱلۡجَحِيمَ (٦ثُمَّلَتَرَوُنَّہَاعَيۡنَٱلۡيَقِينِ (٧ثُمَّلَتُسۡـَٔلُنَّيَوۡمَٮِٕذٍعَنِٱلنَّعِيمِ (٨)

 
and   25 X SUR AL IKHLAS

 
سُوۡرَةُالإخلاص

بِسۡمِٱللهِٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِٱلرَّحِيمِ

قُلۡهُوَٱللَّهُأَحَدٌ (١ٱللَّهُٱلصَّمَدُ (٢لَمۡيَلِدۡوَلَمۡيُولَدۡ (٣وَلَمۡيَكُنلَّهُۥڪُفُوًاأَحَدٌ (٤)



After salaam to commence second prayer.

3rd  RAKAAT- AFTER AL HAMD/FATIHA- ONE TIME SURA AL KAFIRUN

 
سُوۡرَةُالکافِرون

بِسۡمِٱللهِٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِٱلرَّحِيمِ

قُلۡيَـٰٓأَيُّہَاٱلۡڪَـٰفِرُونَ (١لَآأَعۡبُدُمَاتَعۡبُدُونَ (٢وَلَآأَنتُمۡعَـٰبِدُونَمَآأَعۡبُدُ (٣وَلَآأَنَا۟عَابِدٌ۬مَّاعَبَدتُّمۡ (٤وَلَآأَنتُمۡعَـٰبِدُونَمَآأَعۡبُدُ (٥لَكُمۡدِينُكُمۡوَلِىَدِينِ (٦)

 
and  25times X SURA AL FALAQ

 
سُوۡرَةُالفَلَق

بِسۡمِٱللهِٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِٱلرَّحِيمِ

قُلۡأَعُوذُبِرَبِّٱلفَلَقِ (١مِنشَرِّمَاخَلَقَ (٢وَمِنشَرِّغَاسِقٍإِذَاوَقَبَ (٣وَمِنشَرِّٱلنَّفَّـٰثَـٰتِفِىٱلعُقَدِ (٤وَمِنشَرِّحَاسِدٍإِذَاحَسَدَ (٥)

4th  RAKAAT- AFTER AL HAMD/FATIHA – ONE TIME SURA AN NASR (IZAA JA)

 
سُوۡرَةُالنّصر

بِسۡمِٱللهِٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِٱلرَّحِيمِ

إِذَاجَآءَنَصرُٱللَّهِوَٱلفَتحُ (١وَرَأَيتَٱلنَّاسَيَدۡخُلُونَفِىدِينِٱللَّهِأَفوَاجًا (٢فَسَبِّحۡبِحَمدِرَبِّكَوَٱستَغفِرۡهُۚإِنَّهُ ۥڪَانَتَوَّابَا (٣)

and  25 times X SUR AN NAAS

 

سُوۡرَةُالنَّاس

بِسۡمِٱللهِٱلرَّحۡمَـٰنِٱلرَّحِيمِ


قُلۡأَعُوذُبِرَبِّٱلنَّاسِ (١مَلِكِٱلنَّاسِ (٢إِلَـٰهِٱلنَّاسِ (٣مِنشَرِّٱلۡوَسۡوَاسِٱلۡخَنَّاسِ (٤ٱلَّذِىيُوَسۡوِسُفِىصُدُورِٱلنَّاسِ (٥مِنَٱلۡجِنَّةِوَٱلنَّاسِ (٦)


AFTER NAMAAZ RECITE THE FOLLOWING TASBEEHS

1. TASBIHATE ARBAA X 70 times

 
  ُسبْحَانَاللَّهِوَالْحَمْدُلِلَّهِوَلاَإِلَهَإِلاَّاللَّهُوَاللَّهُأَكْبَرُ  

2. SALAWAAT X 70 times

 
  اللَّهُمَّصَلِّعَلَىمُحَمَّدٍوَآلِمُحَمَّدٍ

3. ALLAHUMAGHFIRLil Muminina wal Muminat…. X3 times


   اللَّهُمَّاغْفِرْلِلْمُؤْمِنِينَوَالْمُؤْمِنَاتِ

Go to SAJDAH /PROSTRATION & RECITE THE FOLLOWING :

YA HAYYU YA QAYYUM, YA DHALJALAL IWAL IKRAM,

YA ALLAHU YA RAHMAAN, YA RAHEEM, YA AR HAMARRAHIMEEN.



يَاحَيُّيَاقَيُّومُيَاذَاالْجَلاَلِوَالْإِكْرَامِيَااللَّهُيَارَحْمَانُيَارَحِيمُيَاأَرْحَمَالرَّاحِمِينَ

 

August 7

Condemnation Of Defamatory Personalities And Organisations

myWPEdit Image

In His Name, the Most High,

The AhlulBayt Islamic Mission (AIM) condemns and denounces activities that slander the wives and companions of the Holy Prophet [peace be upon him and his family] who are revered by our Sunni brothers and sisters.



We believe that such actions are executed in service of the enemies of Islam who wish to exploit sensitivities and incite sectarianism amongst Muslims.



In this regard, the Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, has issued a clear verdict stating:

It is not permissible to undermine the symbols of our Sunni brothers and more so it is not permissible to accuse the wife of the Prophet [peace be upon him and his family] in what would dishonour her. This is something not permissible for all prophets including their master the Holy Messenger [peace be upon him and his family].



In light of this, AIM feels obliged to warn the community of personalities and organisations that intentionally take advantage of religious symbols in order to provoke tension and hostility, all the while neglecting the major challenges that face the Ummah.



AIM believes such activity to be contrary to the teachings of the Prophet [peace be upon him and his family] and the Imams [peace be upon them] and calls on all believers to undertake the utmost of vigilance in this matter.



Wa Min Allah Al-Tawfiq.

Wasalaamu Alaikum

AhlulBayt Islamic Mission (AIM)
19th Ramadhan 1433 / 7th August 2012

February 13

Valentines Day

And every time February 14th approaches, I think of Imam Khomeini ……

Imam’s wife would say, "I was never woken up by Imam praying Salatul Layl because he would never switch on the room light. When he would go to do wudhoo, he would place a sponge in the sink under the tap so that the sound of the falling water would not wake me."

Agha always offered me the better place in the room.  He would not start
eating until I came to the dinner table.  He would also tell the children:

‘Wait until Maa comes.’ 

He was not even willing that I should work in the house.  He would always
tell me: ‘Don’t sweep.’  If I wanted to wash the children’s clothes at the
pond, he would come and say: “Get up, you shouldn’t be washing.” 

On the whole, I have to say that Imam did not consider sweeping, washing
dishes and even washing my children’s clothes as part of my responsibilities. If out of necessity I sometimes did these, he would get
upset considering them as a type of unjust dealing towards me. Even when I entered the room, he would never say: ‘Close the door behind
you,’ but waited till I sat down and then would himself get up and shut the door.

His daughter Siddika says: My father had an extraordinary respect for my
mother.  In the period of 60 years of living together, he did not even reach
for food (on the dinner table) before his wife, nor did he have even the
smallest expectation from her.  I can even say that in the period of 60
years of living together, at no time did he even ask for a glass of water,
but would always get it himself. 

He behaved this way not only with his wife but also with all of us who were
his daughters. If he ever wanted water we would all enthusiastically run to
get it, but he never wanted us to bring and give him a glass of water in his hand.

During the difficult last days of his life, each time he would open his
eyes, if he was capable of speaking, he would ask: ‘How is Khanom?’  We
would reply: ‘She is good.  Shall we tell her to come to you?’  He would
answer: ‘No, her back is hurting.  Let her rest.’

Here is one of the letters he wrote to her:

To my beloved wife,

imam khomeiniO’ I die for you. I have always remembered you when you – the light of my eyes and strength of my soul- have been away from me. Your pretty face is shining in my heart like in a mirror…..

I really miss you her in Beirut. You can find a lot of beautiful places to visit in the city and at the sea. What a pity that my dearest is not with me……

This has been a good journey so far  trip but you are  really and truly missed. I miss our son, Seyyed Mustafa. I pray that  God will protect you both.

I love you so much.

Duas & Salaams

Ruhullah Khomeini

February 9

A Crabby Old Woman

A Crabby Old Woman

When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee Scotland, it was believed that she had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through her meagre possessions, they found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital. One nurse took her copy to Ireland. The old lady’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the North Ireland Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on her simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this "anonymous" poem winging across the Internet:

Crabby Old Woman

What do you see, nurses ?  What do you see?
What are you thinking when you’re looking at me?

A crabby old woman, Not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, With faraway eyes?

Who dribbles her food and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice,  "I do wish you’d try!"

Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe?

Who, resisting or not,  lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill?

Is that what you’re thinking?   Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse;    YOU’RE NOT LOOKING AT ME.

I’ll tell you who I am as I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, as I eat at your will.

I’m a small child of ten with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters who love one another.

A young girl of sixteen with wings on her feet
Dreaming that soon now a lover she’ll meet.

A bride soon at twenty -  My heart gives a leap,
Remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

At twenty-five now I have young of my own,
Who need me to guide and a secure happy home.

A woman of thirty  my young now grown fast,
Bound to each other  with ties that should last.

At forty, my young sons have grown and are gone,
But my man’s beside me to see I don’t mourn

At fifty once more,  Babies play ’round my knee,
Again we know children – My loved one and me.

Dark days are upon me, My husband is dead,
I look at the future, I shudder with dread.

For my young are all rearing young of their own ,
And I think of the years and the love that I’ve known.

I’m now an old woman and nature is cruel;
‘Tis jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles, Grace and vigour depart,
There is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass A young girl still dwells,
And now and again, My battered heart swells.

I remember the joys, I remember the pain,
And I’m loving and living life over again.

I think of the years – All too few, gone too fast,
And accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people, Open and see,
Not a crabby old woman;   Look closer….see, ME!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within…..we will all, one day, be there, too!

February 5

Do You React Or Respond..

At a restaurant, a cockroach suddenly flew from somewhere and sat on a lady.

She started screaming out of fear.

With a panic stricken face and trembling voice, she started jumping, with both her hands desperately trying to get rid of the cockroach. Her reaction was contagious, as everyone in her group also got panicky.

The lady finally managed to push the cockroach away but it landed on another lady in the group.

Now, it was the turn of the other lady in the group to continue the drama.

The waiter rushed forward to their rescue.

In the relay of throwing, the cockroach next fell upon the waiter.

The waiter stood firm, composed himself and observed the behaviour of the cockroach on his shirt.

When he was confident enough, he grabbed it with his fingers and threw it out of the restaurant.

Sipping my coffee and watching the amusement, the antenna of my mind picked up a few thoughts and started wondering, was the cockroach responsible for their histrionic behaviour?

If so, then why was the waiter not disturbed?

He handled it near to perfection, without any chaos.

It is not the cockroach, but the inability of the ladies to handle the disturbance caused by the cockroach that disturbed the ladies. 

I realized that, it is not the shouting of my father or my boss or my wife that disturbs me, but it’s my inability to handle the disturbances caused by their shouting that disturbs me.

It’s not the traffic jams on the road that disturbs me, but my inability to handle the disturbance caused by the traffic jam that disturbs me.

More than the problem, it’s my reaction to the problem that creates chaos in my life. 

Lessons learnt from the story:

The women reacted, whereas the waiter responded.

I understood, I should not react in life…

I should always respond.

Reactions are always instinctive whereas responses are always well thought of, just and right to save a situation from going out of hands, to avoid cracks in relationship, to avoid taking decisions in anger, anxiety, stress or hurry.

And indeed this is the test – do you react or respond?

February 3

The Greatest Role Model

By:  Huda Jawad

rawla_202How can we describe a personality so great that history has not been able to contain it? What of the presence that has survived limitless attempts to demean its greatness? How does one pay due respect to the Mercy of Mankind and its greatest teacher? Indeed, as the season of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him and his progeny) unfolds, many Muslims find themselves seeking the best method we can honour our beloved Prophet.

This is where the immense contradiction the Muslim world faces today manifests itself. The Prophet Muhammad was a man of gentleness, and yet, Muslims continue to suffer from harshness towards themselves and others. The Prophet was a man of forgiveness, and yet we hold grudges and seek revenge. The Prophet was a man of the hereafter, and yet we are individuals concerned with this world. Above all, the Prophet Muhammad is the most outstanding exemplar of a man of God, and yet we are surrounded with men of materialism.

The character of the Prophet Muhammad is the standard by which we should all conduct ourselves. But although we have recognized his greatness and perfection, we have yet to implement his examples and teachings into ourselves. Indeed, the Holy Qur’an mentions the status of the Prophet Muhammad before Muslims: "Certainly a Messenger has come to you from among yourselves; grievous to him is your falling into distress, excessively solicitous respecting you; to the believers is he most kind and merciful." (9:128)

It now becomes apparent that the beauty of Islam is found in its teachings being practical and implementable. God did not just list commandments for us to follow and laws to obey. Instead, He blessed mankind with the most esteemed leaders and teachers who practically implemented every single one of those commandments and laws.

Forgiveness
The Prophet forgave and showed patience towards the shortcomings of others. It is well-known that even those who mistreated the Prophet were visited by him during their illnesses or times of grief, including the woman who tormented the Prophet every day on his way to prayer. He said, "Forgiving is the best of all deeds. Pardoning is incumbent upon you, for verily pardoning [others] only increases the servant’s honour, so pardon each others’ faults, and God will grant you honour." (al-Kafi)

Meaningful and Kind Speech
The Prophet Muhammad was the first to greet others. The Prophet of Islam spoke in short, meaningful sentences and never disrupted the speech of others. The gatherings in which the Prophet was present were dignified, with a clear level of modesty, dignity, truthfulness, and pleasantness. He advises us "Say a good (word) to derive benefit, and avoid speaking evil words to be safe."

Sublime Morals
The Prophet said, "The first thing that shall be put in the Scales (on the Day of Judgment) are good morals." The morals and ethics of the Prophet were recognized by God in the Qur’an: "And truly you (Muhammad) possess great morals." (52:4) It is through the exalted morals of the Prophets that God was able to lead otherwise ruined and corrupt societies towards the ark of salvation. Consider then the impact of our morals and behaviour on ourselves, our communities, and our social spheres.

Attaining Honour Through Humility
When attending gatherings or entering a room, the Prophet did not seek out a specific place to sit and instead sat anywhere. The Prophet Muhammad held the status of prophecy and divine leadership, and yet his humility and modesty in dealing with the people and his way of life were so simple and gentle that when he was among the people and a newcomer wanted to speak to him, he would need to inquire and ask, "Which one of you is the Prophet?" During journeys and trips, the Prophet would do work just like everyone else, including collecting firewood. He declared, "I do not like to be treated as if I were privileged, because God does not like any of His creatures to consider himself privileged or to be treated as if he were privileged over others."

He also reminds us, "Humility adds nothing to God’s servants but dignity. Be humble, therefore, and God will grant you dignity." The Prophet also said, "There are four distinguishing marks of the humble ones: they pay constant attention to Allah in private and in public, they carry out good works, they contemplate about the Day of Resurrection, and they engage in intimate supplication with God."

Respect: A Sign of a Muslim
The Prophet respected everyone, regardless of their social class, profession, religion, or race. He was patient, loving, and peaceful with everyone he met, and through his great conduct Islam spread throughout Arabia. Our Prophet stayed away from things that lacked value and listened attentively to the speech of others.

A Perfect Exemplar
The perfection of the Prophet Muhammad cannot be expressed by the writer, poet, historian, scholar, or observer. Instead, we must turn to the most perfect divine book, the Holy Qur’an to understand the superiority and status of the Prophet Muhammad: "Certainly you have in the Messenger of God an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in God and the latter day and remembers Allah much." (33:21)

February 2

The Wooden Bowl

nonameI guarantee you will remember the tale of the Wooden Bowl tomorrow, a week from now, a month from now, a year from now.

A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-yearold grandson. The old man’s hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered.

The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather’s shaky hands and
failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth.

The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess.

‘We must do something about father,’ said the son.

‘I’ve had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor.’

So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl.

When the family glanced in Grandfather’s direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food.

The four-year-old watched it all in silence. One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor.

He asked the child sweetly, ‘What are you making?’ Just as sweetly, the boy responded,

‘Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.

‘ The four-year-old smiled and went back to work.

The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done.

That evening the husband took Grandfather’s hand and gently led him back to the family table..

For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.

On a positive note, I’ve learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.

I’ve learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles four things:

A rainy day, the elderly, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights.

I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as making a ‘life..’

I’ve learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance.

I’ve learned that you shouldn’t go through life with a catcher’s mitt on both hands.You nee d to be able to throw something back sometimes.

I’ve learned that if you pursue happiness, it will elude you

But, if you focus on your family, your friends, the needs of others,
your work and doing the very best you can, happiness will find you.

I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.

I’ve learned that even when I have pains, I don’t have to be one.

I’ve learned that every day, you should reach out and touch someone.

People love that human touch — holding hands, a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back.

I’ve learned that I still have a lot to learn.

January 18

An Hour Of Prayer

By Barbara Bartocci (Readers’ Digest – September,1988)

It was my birthday, that morning in February 1978, and I felt harried as I grabbed my briefcase and headed for a business breakfast. Life had been a good to me overall. My small advertising agency was thriving. Husband and children were well. Yet something seemed to be missing – something that didn’t even a have a name. I felt it only as a small emptiness inside.

At the restaurant I joined Don Campbell, a tall, lantern-jawed man of 60-odd years. He was a successful marketing consultant with an unusual empathy for people. I was always struck by his calm, peaceful manner.

Over poached eggs we discussed an advertising project and then, business behind us, I mentioned my birthday and confessed to my nagging feeling of emptiness.

"Want to fill it?" Don asked.

"Sure."

"Start your day with an hour of prayer."

"I don’t have time for that!" I gasped.

"Exactly what I said twenty years ago. I was president of a Chicago ad agency and running every which way just to keep up.. I couldn’t find time for it. I had the sinking feeling that my life was getting out of control. Then a friend told me I was going about things backward.

" ‘You’re trying to fit God into your life,’ he said. ‘Five minutes here, ten minutes there. You need to fit your life around God, and you do that with a commitment. An hour a day – now that’s commitment.’ The idea is to take a chunk of time big enough to mean something to you and then, give that chunk to God."

Don’s eyes twinkled. "I thought my friend was off his rocker. To find an extra hour for God, I’d have to get up an hour earlier. I’d lose sleep and ruin my health." The twinkle turned into a grin. "But I haven’t been sick in twenty years."

Twenty years!

I left the restaurant in turmoil. An hour of prayer? Preposterous! Yet I couldn’t get Don’s idea out of my mind.

Saying nothing to our three teenagers or to my husband, Bill, I set my alarm for 5 a.m. We live in the Midwest and oh, it’s cold and dark at 5 a.m. in February. I wanted to curl back under the blanket, but I forced myself to get up.

The house wrapped around me, dark and gloomy. I tiptoed to the living room, ignoring Burt, our Labrador retriever, and settled on the couch. It was peculiar being alone with God. No church rituals.. Just me. And God. For an hour.

I glanced at my watch and cleared my throat. " Well, God, here I am. Now what?"

I would like to report that God replied immediately, but there was only quiet. As I watched the first tinges of sunrise I tried to pray, but thought instead of my son Andy and the fight we’d had the day before. I thought about a client whose business had hit a rough spot.. I thought of inconsequential things.

Yet gradually my erratic thoughts slowed. My breathing slowed, too, until I sensed a stillness within me. I grew aware of small sounds, the refrigerator hum, Burt’s tail slapping the floor, a frozen branch brushing a window. Then I felt the warm presence of love. I know no other way to describe it. The air, the very place in which I sat, seemed to change, as the ambiance of a house will change when someone you love is home.

I had been sitting for 50 minutes, but only then did I really begin to pray. And I discovered I wasn’t praying with my usual hurried words or my list of "gimmes."

All my life I’d been told God loves me. On that cold February morning I felt his love, and the immensity of it was so overwhelming that I sat in quiet thanksgiving for nearly 15 minutes. Then Andy’s alarm went off and Burt gave a small woof. The ordinary day had begun. But all through the rest of that day, I felt warmed by the memory of that love.

The next day morning the house seemed even darker and colder than before. But, shivering, I did get up. One more day, I thought.

And the next day, One more day.

Day by day, six year passed.

There have been plenty of crises in those years: difficulty with one of our teenagers, marital turbulence, a big financial loss. Through every crisis, I have found a quietness of soul in that hour with God. It gives me time to put things in perspective, to find God in every circumstance.Once I find him, there seems to be no problem that cannot be resolved.

Some mornings, I am quickly filled with the wonder and glory of God. But other mornings, I feel nothing. That’s when I remember something else Don Campbell said: "There will be times when your mind just won’t go into God’s sanctuary. That’s when you spend your hour in God’s waiting room. Still, you’re there, and God appreciates your struggle to stay there. What’s important is the commitment."

Because of it, my life is better. Starting my day with an hour of prayer has filled the empty space to overflowing.

January 18

Sile Rahm: The Best Art Of Forgiveness

Subject: THE CARPENTER

image001Once upon a time, two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side-by-side, sharing machinery and trading labour and goods as needed without a hitch.

Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference and finally, it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.

One morning there was a knock on John’s door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter’s toolbox. "I ‘m looking for a few days’ work," he said. "Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there I could help with? Could I help you?"

"Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That’s my neighbour. In fact, it’s my younger brother! Last week there was a meadow between us. He recently took his bulldozer to the river levee and now there is a creek between us.  Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I’ll do him one better. See that pile of lumber by the barn? I want you to build me a fence an 8-foot fence — so I won’t need to see his place or his face anymore."

The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I’ll be able to do a job that pleases you."

The older brother had to go to town, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day. The carpenter worked hard all that day — measuring, sawing and nailing. About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job.

The farmer’s eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped. There was no fence there at all.

image002It was a bridge .. A bridge that stretched from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work, handrails and all! And the neighbour, his younger brother, was coming toward them, his hand outstretched..

"You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I’ve said and done."

The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in middle, taking each other’s hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox onto his shoulder.

"No, wait! Stay a few days. I’ve a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother.

"I’d love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but I have many more bridges to build."