Advice from Murshid Shaykh Taner and Shaykha Muzeyyen Vargonen Ansari
If you do not know the meaning of what you are saying in Arabic, do not say it. This is in reference to the practice of praying with Allah’s Names to get things. There are a lot of these “magical” formulas out there which if you repeat a certain amount of times, you will get anything you want. People have been victims of these. So, if you are not sure about such formula, do not use it to pray to Allah because you do not know what you are asking. It is in the ten commandments: “Thou shall not mention God’s Name in vain.” Prayer in vain is praying for evil or what Allah is not happy with, for example, negativity.
You have to know the meaning of what you are saying. For example, you should not say Ya Qabid [O Constrictor] 100 times a day with the intention of making friends. As you can see, this does not make sense. Another example is you should not use Ya Qahhar [O Overpowering One] and expect positive things. This is a power name that Allah uses for destruction. So, the meaning of the name should make sense and be in line with the purpose of the prayer. For example, for less stress, you can repeat Ya Latif Ya Salaam [O Subtle and Kind One, O Source of Peace]. The purpose and prayers are in sync. A recommended positive prayer in order to generate love, peace and unity in goodness is Ya Wadud Ya Salaam Ya Jami Ya Nafi.