It is believed that a collective prayer occurs when a person raises his or her prayer among others who are praying at the same time. Yet, those who are more spiritually aware believe that a collective prayer is a plea for society. Such a prayer is immediately accepted by the Creator, whereas an egoistic prayer (when a person prays for himself ) is not heard.
Nevertheless, even a request to the Creator for society is not perfect. In fact, if the Creator “is good that does good,” my request implies that society is suffering because of the Creator, doesn’t it? It seems like I think that the Creator is mistreating society, and that I should pray for them. However, if the Creator is always benevolent to everybody, for whom am I asking?
It follows that I cannot ask the Creator to change His attitude toward me (a personal prayer) or toward society (a collective prayer). Since the Creator is absolutely and invariably good, I can ask Him only to correct me and all the others in such a way that we will feel that He is only good.
If all who desire to be connected to the Creator in the property of love and bestowal are willing to unite with others in the same property, then through their aspiration, they create a place where the Creator is revealed. That place is our mutual love.
However, such a state can be achieved only through the correction of each individual’s 613 desires, which is called the “fulfillment of 613 commandments.” In the degree of our correction, we draw closer to each other since the correction of desires lies in their unification.
This is why the sages said that “love of others is the greatest law of the Torah,” and all the commandments are necessary only in order to attain the last one, the universal commandment: love. As a result, in these individual and collective corrections, we will feel the power of love and bestowal filling us.
But if we are not corrected and united, and everyone wants to receive for himself, our prayer is solely for material things. (Material is what is received egoistically, whereas spiritual is what is received in order to bestow). In this case, receiving for ourselves, we become “the nations of the world,” and not “Israel” (straight to the Creator).
These terms are not related to some nation or nationality. They describe the states of a person on the spiritual path. According to this, our prayer is either to improve our personal state of existence or to correct our attitude toward the others and the Creator.
From the 1st part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 7/12/10, Article “The Importance of the Prayer of the Many”