There are seven different elements that need to be examined in order to ensure prayers are being done properly. They are:
- to focus,
- to concentrate on the meaning of the words you are saying,
- to maintain a positive attitude towards God as you worship Him,
- to feel a sense of awe when you are standing in front of God,
- to have hope,
- to have a sense of shame about your mistakes and sins when you stand in front of God, and
- to have pure intentions.
Your goal in examining these elements is to get closer to God spiritually.
There are other acts in our religion that even if our intention and focus is not in sync, they will still count.For example, if you give to the poor, although you may not truly want to give charity, but you do it anyways, it is still a good deed. If you fast during the month of Ramadan and your focus is on how much you cannot wait to eat, your fast still counts. However, when it comes time to prayer, if your heart and mind are not completely focused then your prayers do not count the way your other acts might.