Question: I am trying to clarify, what is it that my prayer needs to include?
Answer: Prayer is work with the heart. If you try to relate to reality correctly, then what happens in your heart is called “prayer.” You cannot plan to pray between 10:00 and 10:30. It’s not possible to work this way.
Everything that we experience in the depths of the heart is called prayer. We can carry out all sorts of different actions to influence the heart, but we are not able to arrange a prayer in it. We can only prepare the heart to feel, and then this sensation will be a prayer.
The Creator is within your heart in its most central part where the fourth phase (Behina Dalet) of your desire is felt. The Light acts from the depths of the heart, in the fourth phase. Arranging the prayer means carrying out a variety of activities around the desire that form an impression in it, soften it. Yet ultimately what happens with this desire will be called prayer.
We are not masters over the prayer itself. Sometimes you invest immense efforts in order to reach the heart, yet it remains dry and doesn’t want to react. You run and try, sing and cry, read emotional texts, yet the heart doesn’t react.
Maybe it only seems that way to you, for who knows what happens within the heart? We don’t feel its depths. However, the efforts that you invest bring much benefit. The strongest prayer is when you don’t feel that your heart reacts even though you do everything to change it. And it is silent and doesn’t react.
You understand your absolute powerlessness and you feel the true stony heart within yourself that is not changed at all. You can cry, run, jump, do everything, read psalms, prayers, Shamati articles, go out to look at the sky, be integrated into a group, yet the heart remains a stone. But specifically these efforts to change it to a heart of flesh are the most beneficial means. Then you will receive a response to your efforts.
From the 2nd part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 3/31/14, The Zohar