Although we often say that prayer is a weapon, we tend to forget that it is also a privilege. When we begin the shemonei esrei we ask, “Hashem sefatai tiftach.” Hashem open my mouth to speak with you. Rav Soloveitchik would say many times that a person needs a license to pray. You have to go through a certain regimen and routine before beginning the quintessential tefilah. Whether it’s in the morning with pesukei d’zimra, birchat kriat shema, and ga’al yisrael, or ashrei in the afternoon, a person cannot just begin asking Hashem for whatever he wants. You have to get yourself ready and prepare the groundwork for your audience with Hashem.
Prayer is an opportunity. It’s not something we can take for granted. Therefore, it’s very important to feel humble when we begin to pray. As David Hamelech says, “Anochi tolaat v’lo ish.” I am a worm and not a person. We must stand before Hashem k’ani b’petach, like a pauper at a rich man’s door. We must know that we are imperfect and that only Hashem can help us.
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