This week’s parsha continues its discussion with the commandment to pray, to love, and to serve Him with all our hearts (1:13). The minimum obligation a person has is to formulate a daily personal prayer (in his own words). In addition to one’s daily personal prayers, the sages instituted three daily prayer, shachrit, minchah, and ma’ariv;however, if for some reason a person misses these prayers, he is obligated to formulate a personal prayer so that the person recognizes Hashem as the omnipresent ruler of the universe who continuously provides him with everything has or does not have (not having something is also a blessing, ie. Sickness, etc.).
Additionally, the mitzvah of prayer benefits us in many ways.
1. By fulfilling this commandment of praying, Hashem listens in and if He feels that our prayers are genuine, He answers them.
2. Through prayer, we can grow spiritually. When we pray to Hashem for the things we want and need, we are reaffirming our belief that is Hashem who provides us with everything.
Furthermore, prayer is meant to act as the “service of the heart.” When we pray to Hashem, we need to clear our minds of all external thoughts and imagine ourselves standing in front of the shechina- divine presence. This should act as meditation, and stir the mind to contemplate Hashem’s awesomeness and infiniteness. We must also strive to understand all the words we are reciting. Some of us unfortunately are not able to pray in lashon hakodesh- the holy tongue; however, if we recite our tefillot with a true heart, they are nonetheless accepted and heard by Hashem.
Additionally, by making requests to Hashem, we think introspectively about what it is that we really want and need; thereby, that enables us to contemplate how that certain request will fill the void we feel in our lives. With that in mind, we can see the true intentions of our request. Will the fulfillment of that void change us internally or make us happier? Is what we are asking for going to help us actualize our potential in this world? Prayer is meant to evoke this questioning within us. Next time you feel the need to connect with the Source of all, let your prayers act as a meditative experience within yourself to contemplate your very existence, your desires, your needs, and your growth.