by Reb Aharon Rubin, from Eye to the Infinite, shared with permission.
How to attach to G-d through prayer
Prayer is a very powerful and potent form of meditation. Just as Torah-learning has two purposes – learning in order to cleave to G-d or to acquire Torah-knowledge, so prayer has two distinct objectives: to pray for one’s needs or to come close to G-d.
Asking G-d to fulfil our requests is essential to attaining deveikuth, since it cultivates the mindset that only G-d can truly look after us and provide for us. Using prayer to gain awareness of G-d’s Presence is the mitsvoh of attaching to G-d, ובו תדבק – “And in Him you shall cleave” (Deut. 10:20). This is indicated by the Hebrew word for prayer, תפלה–tefilloh, which is related to the word פתל PSSL, meaning, “entwine” or “attach to”. Prayer attaches one to G-d.
At its essence, prayer is a communion in the innermost chambers of one’s heart, one’s personal Holy of Holies (Qodesh Qodoshim) where the G-dly soul resides and emotion unites with truth. Here, deep within one’s psyche, the heart whispers words of prayer and praise to G-d; there is a natural bond with G-d, a connection to the Holy of Holies of the Divine.
This spiritual union has G-d’s Seal. The art of prayer lies in accessing this hidden, inner sanctum. By internalising that G-d is the reason of your existence, your prayer will come from the depths of your being and penetrate the heavens.
The word, tefilloh, also implies another highly important component of prayer. Tefilloh, from the verb, leHithpallel, “to pray”, comes from the root, pallel, “to imagine”, “to visualise”. The reflexive, mithpallel, means to imagine oneself, i.e. to self-visualise. Praying to G-d is an exercise in self-visualisation – realising the self to be before G-d and verbalising that visualisation. Only relatively recently has prayer been read from a prayer book. In times gone-by, the leader of the service would have lead the service orally; the entire prayer was a mindful experience of standing before G-d.
This is the secret of efficacious tefilloh: the steadfast conception that you are standing before G-d, speaking directly to Him. This visualisation/perception PLL causes a spiritual bond, a פתל PSSL, an attachment, the strength of the bond depending on the depth of the perception.
Since having this awareness is not always easy, the Ba’al Shem Tov outlines three steps:
- hachno’oh – humility before G-d,
- havdoloh – separating from the physical and from anything that is holding you back from attaching to G-d, and
- hamtoqoh – the resultant spiritual ‘sweetening’ of the self and all worlds, consequence of the soul’s attachment to G-d.
Humility and self-nullification (hachno’oh, by attaching to the words), separate you from the physical (havdoloh), bringing you to deveikuth (hamtoqoh). These three steps can be seen in the simple yet profound aphorism, with which we start morning prayers:
לעולם יהא אדם ירא שמים וכו' ומודה על האמת ודובר אמת בלבבו – “Let a person always be aware of G-d and fear Heaven, agree with the truth and speak truth in his heart.” 
 Ramban says that attainment of true reliance on G-d is our purpose on this world (Ramban, Exodus 13:16 and Sefer Emunoh Ubitochon). This increases closeness to G-d, which in turn brings down influx.
 See Rashi, Genesis 30:8, Deut. 32:5. תפלה Tefilloh is also related to the verb tofel used in Mishnaic Hebrew, which means ‘secondary to’ or ‘to bind together’.
 Sifri Deut. 22:25.
 מה הקב"ה יושב בחדרי חדרים אף נשמה יושבת בחדרי חדרים יבא מי שיש בו חמשה דברים הללו וישבח למי שיש בו חמשה דברים הללו – “Just as G-d dwells in the innermost chambers, so the soul dwells within the innermost chambers (of a person); let that which has these five properties come and praise He Who has these five properties.” Brochoth 10a.
 Rabbi Naftoli Tzvi of Robschits, Zera Qodesh, Bereishith. Also Noam Elimelech, Beshalach, s.v. biqtsei hamidbor.
 See also Bovo Qamo, 3b, where man is called “the beseecher”. This means that to pray and beseech G-d is a natural, inherently human, quality.
 See Da’ath Tevunoth [Ramchal] 5:6, Nefesh HaChaim, Chapter 1.
 See Shabboth 55a; Yoma 69b – the Seal of G-d is אמת Emeth (truth). The letters of the word emeth (truth) occur as the last letters of words at the beginning and end of the Genesis creation narrative.
 See Rashi, Gen. 48:11.
 Tanna D’vei Eliyohu (possibly quoted in Kesuboth 106a) Chapter 21.