Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 2: Salatul Istikharah
It is a sunnah that, if one must choose between permissible alternatives,one may pray two non-obligatory rak'at, even if they are of the regular sunnahprayers or a prayer for entering the mosque, and so on, during any time of theday or night, and to recite therein whatever one wishes of the Qur'an afterreciting al-Fatihah. Then one praises Allah and sends salutations to theProphet sallallahu alehi wasallam and recites the following supplication whichhas been recorded by al-Bukhari in Jabir's narration: "The Prophetsallallahu alehi wasallam would teach us al-istikhara for all of our affairs ashe would teach us a surah from the Qur'an. He said: 'If one of you isdeliberating over an act, he should pray two non-obligatory rak'at and say:
"O Allah, I consult You as You are All-Knowing and I appeal to You togive me power as You are Omnipotent, I ask You for Your great favor, for Youhave power and I do not, and You know all of the hidden matters . O Allah ! Ifyou know that this matter (then he should mention it) is good for me in myreligion, my livelihood, and for my life in the Hereafter, (or he said: 'for mypresent and future life,') then make it (easy) for me. And if you know thatthis matter is not good for me in my religion, my livelihood and my life in theHereafter, (or he said: 'for my present and future life,') then keep it awayfrom me and take me away from it and choose what is good for me wherever it isand please me with it."
There is nothing authentic concerning something specific that is to berecited in the prayer nor is there any authentic report concerning how manytimes one should repeat it.
An-Nawawi holds that "after performing the istikharah, a person must dowhat he is wholeheartedly inclined to do and feels good about doing and shouldnot insist on doing what he had desired to do before making the istikharah. Andif his feelings change, he should leave what he had intended to do, otherwisehe is not completely leaving the choice to Allah, and would not be honest inseeking aid from Allah's power and knowledge. Sincerity in seeking Allah'schoice, means that one should completely leave what he himself had desired ordetermined."