Allah called His Messenger an `Abd (servant) when He mentioned sending down His Book, the Prophet's involvement in inviting to Him, and when mentioning the Isra' (overnight journey from Makkah to Jerusalem and then to heaven), and these are the Prophet's most honorable missions. Allah said,
﴿ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنزَلَ عَلَىٰ عَبۡدِهِ ٱلۡكِتَـٰبَ ﴾
(All praise and thanks be to Allah, Who has sent down to His servant (Muhammad the Book (the Qur'an)) (18:1),
﴿ وَأَنَّهُ ۥ لَمَّا قَامَ عَبۡدُ ٱللَّهِ يَدۡعُوهُ ﴾
(And when the servant of Allah (Muhammad) stood up invoking Him (his Lord ـ Allah in prayer)), (72:19) and,
﴿ سُبۡحَـٰنَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَسۡرَىٰ بِعَبۡدِهِۦ لَيۡلاً۬ ﴾
Since the praise of Allah, Who is being sought for help, was mentioned, it was appropriate that one follows the praise by asking for his need. We stated that Allah said,
« فَنِصْفُهَا لِي وَنِصْفُهَا لِعَبْدِي، وَلِعَبْدِي مَا سَأَلَ »
(One half for Myself and one half for My servant, and My servant shall have what he asked.)
This is the best method for seeking help, by first praising the one whom help is sought from and then asking for His aid, and help for one's self, and for his Muslim brethren by saying.
﴿ ٱهۡدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٲطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ ﴾
(Guide us to the Straight Path.)
This method is more appropriate and efficient in bringing about a positive answer to the pleas, and this is why Allah recommended this better method.
Asking for help may take the form of conveying the condition of the person who is seeking help. For instance, the Prophet Moses said,
﴿ رَبِّ إِنِّى لِمَآ أَنزَلۡتَ إِلَىَّ مِنۡ خَيۡرٍ۬ فَقِيرٌ۬ ﴾
(My Lord! Truly, I am in need of whatever good that You bestow on me!) (28:24).
Also, one may first mention the attributes of whoever is being asked, such as what Dhun-Nun said,
﴿ لَّآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّآ أَنتَ سُبۡحَـٰنَكَ إِنِّى ڪُنتُ مِنَ ٱلظَّـٰلِمِينَ ﴾
(La ilaha illa Anta (none has the right to be worshipped but You (O Allah)), Glorified (and Exalted) be You (above all that they associate with You)! Truly, I have been of the wrongdoers) (21:87).
Further, one may praise Him without mentioning what he needs. The Meaning of Guidance mentioned in the Surah
The guidance mentioned in the Surah implies being directed and guided to success. Allah said,
﴿ ٱهۡدِنَا ٱلصِّرَٲطَ ٱلۡمُسۡتَقِيمَ ﴾
(Guide us to the straight path) meaning guide, direct, lead and grant us the correct guidance. Also,
﴿ وَهَدَيۡنَـٰهُ ٱلنَّجۡدَيۡنِ ﴾
(And shown him the two ways (good and evil)) (90:10), means, `We explained to him the paths of good and evil.' Also, Allah said,
﴿ ٱجۡتَبَٮٰهُ وَهَدَٮٰهُ إِلَىٰ صِرَٲطٍ۬ مُّسۡتَقِيمٍ۬ ﴾
(He (Allah) chose him (as an intimate friend) and guided him to a straight path) (16:121), and,
﴿ فَٱهۡدُوهُمۡ إِلَىٰ صِرَٲطِ ٱلۡجَحِيمِ ﴾
(And lead them on to the way of flaming Fire (Hell)) (37:23). Similarly, Allah said,
﴿ وَإِنَّكَ لَتَہۡدِىٓ إِلَىٰ صِرَٲطٍ۬ مُّسۡتَقِيمٍ۬ ﴾
(And verily, you (O Muhammad) are indeed guiding (mankind) to the straight path) (42:52), and,
﴿ ٱلۡحَمۡدُ لِلَّهِ ٱلَّذِى هَدَٮٰنَا لِهَـٰذَا ﴾
The honorable Surah Al-Fatihah contains seven Ayat including the praise and thanks of Allah, glorifying Him and praising Him by mentioning His most Beautiful Names and most high Attributes. It also mentions the Hereafter, which is the Day of Resurrection, and directs Allah's servants to ask of Him, invoking Him and declaring that all power and strength comes from Him. It also calls to the sincerity of the worship of Allah alone, singling Him out in His divinity, believing in His perfection, being free from the need of any partners, having no rivals nor equals.
Al-Fatihah directs the believers to invoke Allah to guide them to the straight path, which is the true religion, and to help them remain on that path in this life, and to pass over the actual Sirat (bridge over hell that everyone must pass over) on the Day of Judgment. On that Day, the believers will be directed to the gardens of comfort in the company of the Prophets, the truthful ones, the martyrs and the righteous. Al-Fatihah also encourages performing good deeds, so that the believers will be in the company of the good-doers on the Day of Resurrection. The Surah also warns against following the paths of misguidance, so that one does not end up being gathered with those who indulge in sin, on the Day of Resurrection, including those who have earned the anger and those who were led astray.