Our work lies in attaining the perfect desire. The first desire is given to a person from above, from the Creator, as it is written, “I am the first.” This is the spark called “the point in the heart,” the aspiration to something higher, a yearning or attraction. By virtue of some seemingly chance occurrence, a person receives his first desire for spirituality and begins to advance.
And then, his entire work lies in asking for this desire to be slightly increased: by a fourth, then by a third, and thus, slightly adding more and more to his advancement. He discerns what is called progress with increasing clarity until he understands that it is the aspiration to bestowal, an exit out of himself toward the neighbor, self-cancellation.
That is how he asks time after time, completely egoistically for now, without understanding exactly what to ask for. Then he begins to understand it better, but conceals it from himself, until finally, he agrees and is willing to give in a little, to bend down and unite with others, to come out of himself to the outside and begin to live inside of them.
He already has a slightly better understanding of the right request, which must come from the very bottom of the heart in order to rise above oneself and give up everything, to cleave to the upper one and be inside of Him like an embryo in the mother’s waters. That is how he senses himself within the group, all of humanity, within the Creator. This is a constant process, “From love to the creatures to love to the Creator,” until a person aims himself correctly and attains the right prayer.
The heavens do not respond to a fourth, a third or any part of a prayer, but only to a full prayer. However, a person is continuously aided in advancing toward this perfect prayer, and when he really does attain the full request, the cry, then it becomes revealed to him. And this is called, “I am the last.” The Creator begins and ends everything. In the end, through many actions, a person attains an answer to his prayer.
From the Preparation to the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 9/12/12