It is narrated from Hazrat Jaabir (Radhiyallaho anho ) that Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) used to teach us the dua of istikharah for important matters in the same manner as he used to teach us the Surahs of the Qur’aan. He (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam) used to say, ”When you intend doing any important work, then read two rakaats nafl salaat and thereafter read this dua.” (which is mentioned below) (Bukhari pg. 944)

 Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam ) once remarked to Anas (Radhiyallaho anho)
“O Anas! When you are undecided with regards to any matter,then seek counsel from your Rabb and do this seven times. Thereafter, whatever decision prevails in your heart  regard it to be beneficial.” (Shaami Vol.1,pg. 507)

Note: It is not necessary that one sees a dream or hears a voice. Asking another person to make
Istikhaarah on one’s behalf is not substantiated from any hadith. To make Mashwarah
(consultation) with someone else is Sunnah.

It has been mentioned in the hadith that whomsoever makes Mashwarah will never regret and
whomsoever makes Istikhaarah will never be unsuccessful.
O Allah, I ask You of good through Your knowledge, and ability through Your power, and
beg (Your favor) out of your infinite bounty. For surely You have power, I have none. You know
all, I know not. You are the great knower of all the things. O Allah, if in Your knowledge this
matter is good for my faith, for my livelihood, and for the consequences of my affairs then
ordain it for me and make it easy for me and bless me there in. But, if in Your knowledge this
matter is bad for my faith, for my livelihood, and for the consequences of my affairs, then turn it
away from me, and turn me away from it and ordain for me the good wherever it be, and cause
me to be pleased therewith.

After having recited this dua, adopt that aspect towards which the heart is inclined.

It is reported from Abdullah bin Abi Aufa (Radhiyallaho anho ) that Rasulullah (Sallallaho Alaihe Wasallam ) is reported to have said that whomsoever has any need from Allah Ta’ala or any person then he should make wudhu thoroughly. Thereafter he should perform two rakaats of salaah, recite praises on Allah Ta’ala and recite a durood sharief. Then he should recite this dua:
(Tirmidhi‐Vol.1,pg.108 Shaami‐Vol.1)
Trans: There is no Deity but Allah, the Most Tolerant, Most Generous. 
“The Tolerant” means one who does not hasten in punishing. “The Generous means one who
grants favors despite the recipient not being deserving and worthy of it.”

Glory be to Allah the Rabb of the Great throne.All praise is exclusively for Allah, the Rabb of the
universe. O Allah, I beg You of that which will guarantee Your Mercy, actions which will make
certain Your Forgiveness, a supply of every virtue and freedom from every sin. O Allah, do not
leave any sin of mine unpardoned, remove all my worries and fulfill every need of mine which
conforms to your pleasure.

Reciting Darood Sharief before and after any dua is a powerful means for the acceptance of that
dua. It is reported from Allaamah Shaami that Allaama Abu Ishaaq Ash‐Shaatibi has mentioned:
Trans: Durood Sharief is definitely accepted by Allah Ta’ala. It is unlikely that Allah, The Most
Generous will accept one part of dua and reject the other.
Allaamah Abu Sulaymaan Duraani says that dua wherein Darood Sharief is recited before and
after it is unlikely that Allah Ta’ala will accept the first and last part of the dua and reject the
middle portion.
Whenever one is faced with any problem related to this world or the hereafter, be it a bodily
affliction or a spiritual one i.e. desire to sin, one should perform two rakaats salaatul haajaat
with the relevent duas. Thereafter make dua sincerely and repeatedly every day. Allah Ta’ala will
create means of overcoming the problems from the unseen. Whomsoever wishes, should take
the favors of assistance and generosity from his Lord.

[Source: The above description is taken from the book
Beautiful Sunnats of the Beloved Nabi Sallallahu `alaihi wasallam
by Shaykh Muhammad Hakeem Akhtar]
Darood Sharief = “Sending blessings on our Prophet Sallallahu `alaihi wasallam”