Baal HaSulam, Letter #32: In order for a prayer to be complete, a person must come to feel that closeness to the Creator is his lawful right and necessity, as if for an organ that is separated from the body. Because then he will be able to pour out the indignation of his heart before the Creator.
But at the same time, he must praise and thank the Creator for the closeness allowed to him, as if it is a high favor that he receives undeservedly. Because then, he will be able to feel a true gratitude to the Creator who chose him to serve Him out of all the people who stand before Him.
This is big and difficult work, composed of two such opposites that must always be combined in our heart. The second condition, which requires one to feel oneself as insignificant and distant from the Creator, while the Creator’s help as undeserved mercy, is much more difficult than the first. In most cases, a person stumbles precisely on this.
A person, who rises above the still, vegetative, and animate levels is someone who includes two forces in himself: reception and bestowal. These two forces he needs to multiply to the full measure determined in the thought of creation, to Malchut of the World of Infinity. Therefore, he must constantly work on increasing in himself the forces of reception and bestowal.
Without the force of reception, he won’t be able to reveal the Creator, while without the force of bestowal, he won’t be able to come closer to Him, that is, to adhere to Him. Both of these forces need to intertwine and support each other, and a screen binds them together in the middle line.
Work with these two forces is called prayer and gratitude. In prayer, a person must feel close to the Creator, asking and penetrating straight into the Creator’s heart. He needs to imagine himself inside the Creator, because one normally makes requests of someone who is close to him.
However, in gratitude, a person needs to feel himself as low and small, and the Creator as high and distant. Only then a person can be truly grateful for the fact that the Creator chose him specifically.
It turns out that you need to feel the Creator sometimes close, and sometimes distant, working with both of these directions in full force. And it is a lot more difficult to work on the second condition.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 8/21/2012