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Alhamdulillah we were blessed this past Jamad Althanee (February 2021) to complete Sillah’s first ever focus group! We are so grateful to all those who signed up and made a commitment to work on their prayers. May Allah bless their faith and grant them closeness to Him in all of their prayers and actions. If you want to skip all the minor minutia of how the focus group ran, feel free to scroll down. We’ve put together a simple infographic to share some of the results we got. If you like knowing the nitty gritty details read on!

Our focus group was survey based. We reached out to a personal network of friends and family and 20 people signed up. In the entrance survey, responders were asked to choose a focus area that they would most like to see improvement in with regards to their prayer experience: timeliness, concentration, connection, or stress relief. They were then prompted to consider what daily action would best help them target their focus area. They also had the option of choosing from a provided list. Daily action items included things like making duaa, praying within 15 minutes of the athaan’s call, daily intention journaling, and so on.  Participants committed to this action item for one month. 

Additionally, in our entrance survey, we asked some basic questions about respondents current prayers. We asked them to give a score from 1 to 5 for all the different focus areas as well as their excitement to pray, their feeling of presence, and the quality of their prayers overall. Weekly check-ins were sent out to help keep participants motivated and on track. Participants were asked to score their prayers for the above each week. 

At the end of the month an exit survey was sent to all who signed up asking about their experience with their new practice. They were also asked to score their prayers with respect to the same questions outlined in the entrance survey. Respondents were also asked to reflect on their experience overall and share their thoughts with us. 

Half of the initial sign ups completed the exit survey – i.e. 10 people. Despite the low completion rate, we still learned a lot about how people want to tackle improving their prayers. During the entrance survey about 50% of respondents indicated they wanted to work on their concentration, with another 30% wanting more connection, and the final 20% aiming for improved timeliness. No participants wanted to work on stress relief.  We also learned that most people were looking to have a consistent and formalized way to track and feel accountable for their prayers’ improvement.

From participants who did complete the exit survey, we compared their initial scores to the final ones. 70% Participants gave higher scores to their prayers with respect to their focus area of choice. Additionally, 50% of participants reported higher scores for at least one of the other categories: excitement, overall satisfaction, and/or presence. All of this was regardless of how consistent participants were in actually implementing their daily action items. 

Only half of participants reported that they were consistent with their new practice more than 50% of the time. Yet, 60% of participants reported a strong likelihood to continue with their practice moving forward. Only 1 person reported that they would most likely not continue with it. 

These are some of the highlights of what we learned about prayer from this very basic focus group! Though simple, there are so many interpretations and inspirations that we are taking away from the experience. We hope our findings inspire you to start your own journey towards more meaningful meetings with Allah. May God Bless You and Happy Praying!

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