Rabbi Sholom Dov Ber was once sitting together with his followers when one of them decided to make a toast. “May the merit of the holy Rabbi Shnuer Zalman protect us.”
The Rebbe retorted, “Why?” The student was dumfounded.
The Rebbe explained. “When someone asks you for money, do you just dig into your pocket and give the person what he is asking for. Or, do you ask, “why”?
“You just requested and asked that all the good this great Rabbi stands for and he accomplished in his lifetime , should bless and protect us. As you are requesting for something, shouldn’t you be asking yourself, why?” And the Rebbe continued.
“When the good angel created from your toast, goes up to heaven to request from the soul of this Holy man a favor for someone, the angel himself needs to come prepared with an answer when he is asked,why? A person must always make himself worthy of the blessing.”
Prayer is many times compared to a ladder whose bottom is on the ground and its head is in the heaven.
The power of prayer, instituted by the men of the great assembly, is such that it can elevate a person from the abyss of his soul experience to the highest of the high. The ladder of prayer has inherently built into it, this connection. It is up to the one who prays to elevate and raise himself through proper meditation and dedication of his deeds and actions to what is higher and more noble than the coarse world we are living in, towards heaven, and the connection is done.
This connection with the spiritual when it is real and tangible, tranforms the person into a more refined person. The person himself feels and knows he is not the same as he was before this spiritual experience.
Prayer is not just a time to ask for things, from the Almighty. Prayer is an opportunity to become more, by dedicating ourselves and connecting more of who we are with G-dliness. “The more one is connected above, the less chances a person has, to slip and fall, down below.”
That talmud tells us that the most powerful prayer of the day comes in the afternoon. Elijah the prophet when he had his great face off against all the false prophets, he was answered spectacularly in the afternoon. Not because he was Elijah, but because the afternoon has this very special quality.
In the morning a person is fresh and in the mood. At the end of the day everything is already behind him. It’s smack in the middle of a person's busy day, all is worries and stress is at its highpoint, it is then that he connects his world, the deepest of his world with the highest of the high.
The further back an elastic band is pulled the greater the momentum and force it has when let go.
Prayer is not just for those who” get it” and are already “up there”. Talking to G-d in prayer has the opportunity to connect one and all with the power above. Then, the above is able to influence and permeate our lives with blessings, down below.