“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me and believe in Me that they may be guided.”
وَإِذَا سَأَلَكَ عِبَادِي عَنِّي فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ ٱلدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ فَلْيَسْتَجِيبُواْ لِي وَلْيُؤْمِنُواْ بِي لَعَلَّهُمْ يَرْشُدُونَ
When you read this ayah, the thought that is forced into your head is, when exactly did Allah call on me such that I need to respond? In reality, Allah has made the call and continues to call upon us in many ways. We have to answer His call in the general sense of believing in Him. More specific are the calls Allah makes in the course of our lives as Muslims, e.g., the call to prayer, the call to fast in Ramadan, the call to make hajj, the call to help the needy, etc.
But there are also specific calls that Allah makes to us individually. Only we can know those calls. Only we can recognize that those calls are from our Lord. We can either ignore them because we want to follow the nafs or because we are so embedded in the lowly dunya. Or we can hear the call and try our best to respond for the sake of Allah, because of our love for Him. Those are the calls that can be life-changing and that can raise our rank in the sight of Allah. Have we prepared ourselves to answer those calls when they come suddenly without warning? Are we going to set ourselves up for success?
Look at how even the Prophet ﷺ prepared for Allah’s call. Before he received revelation, he believed in Allah and did not associate any partners with Him. His wife Khadijah -r- also relates how the Prophet ﷺ was before revelation: “Allah would never humiliate you, for you are good to your relatives, you are true to your word, you help those who are in need, you support the weak, you feed the guest, and you answer the call of those who are in distress.
Prepare yourself and then wait for the opportunities for mercy and forgiveness your Lord will provide. Seize those opportunities bit-tawfiq inshaAllah.