The Rabash, Shlavei HaSulam (Rungs of the Ladder) (1987/88), Article 27, “What is, The Creator will not Tolerate the Proud, in the Work”: … Hence, when one prays, he acts as a “representative of the collective” because he is praying for the entire assembly of Israel, of which he is a part, and for this reason one offers a special prayer, namely requesting the Creator to give him help from above, in order to know his true deficiency, and precisely according to this, one prays for help.
Often, we stand on the path of the correction of the soul, not knowing what to do. Something happens to us, but what it is, is unclear. For example, we do not understand how to address the wide audience, how to take care of it.
From time from time, it will appear more distinct. We do not know what exactly to ask, what exactly we lack. This problem occurs constantly and we must get used to it.
In general, our Reshimot aimed at the purpose of creation, albeit broken, are directed toward correction. And it would seem once this Reshimo has been manifested in me, what more is there? It remains only to awaken, ask for the desire, and receive the Light that Reforms.
However, it is difficult to discern exactly what I am missing. Therefore, a person raises the “prayer before the prayer,” and this request is not verified yet, as much as our work with the masses is not verified. In this case, it is important to establish the primary connection, like an annoying child who in principle does not need anything but wants attention. Something similar happens between adults; it is a matter of communication or its renewal.
It is customary to behave with the Creator in the same way. Honestly, it is not important what question I ask Him. The very address helps me take the right direction. I want connection. I want His attention, I ask Him to look at me, and only then do I raise the true request.
The initial prayer does not even have to come from the heart. Let’s say that I open a prayer book, and reading the text, I tune in a bit to the desired wave. Then, the true desire is revealed to me from Above.
Why is this desire considered true if I have not experienced it before? It is because the Reshimot that remained after the breaking of the soul are revealed to me.
Thus, writes Rabash, the prayer that a man raises for what seems missing to him is just a wonderful means, due to which the Creator sends him from Above the answer for the knowledge of what he really lacks. This is what a person really asks the Creator about.
This happens because it is very difficult for us to find and extract the true Reshimot remaining from the breaking of the soul. They appear as a sequence on the path from here to the end of correction, and the main thing is to ask, to demand, so that the correct desire is revealed to me.
It is said about this, “Let them understand what they say; answer what they ask.” In other words, put the right prayer into their mouths.
Thus, the true prayer is revealed from Above. When a person comes to this in his mind and heart, when he merges with this desire, then he reaches this miraculous means, the prayer that precedes the prayer. He prays from the bottom of his heart, not yet knowing what he will ask later.
This state is called a “messenger of society.” A person prays for the whole community of Israel, in which he is included.
From the Preparation for the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 6/20/14