|Positive Mitzvah Five
To Worship G-d
Shemot 23:25 You shall worship Hashem, your G-d, and He shall bless your bread and your water, and I shall remove illness from your midst.
It will be if you hearken to My mitzvot that I command you today, to love Hashem, your G-d, and to serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul,
Hashem, your G-d, shall you fear, Him shall you serve, and in His Name shall your swear.
Hashem, G-d, shall you follow and Him shall you fear; His mitzvot shall you observe and to His voice shall you hearken; Him shall you serve and to Him shall you cleave.
The Sifre says: "'to serve Him"
(Devarim 11:13) means Prayer' (ibid., Sifre). The Sages also say:
"'to serve Him' means study of the Torah" (ibid., Sifre)
The Sages also say: "Serve Him through His Torah, and serve Him in His sanctuary" (ibid.,
Sifre), which means that we should aspire to pray either in the Temple or towards it, as
Shlomo clearly said
The chief thing in prayer is
kavanah, devotion, or
more literally: direction of heart.
Maimonides (RaMBaM) writes:
"Prayer without devotion is no prayer at all. The who has prayed without devotion is under obligation to recite his prayers over again. Now what is devotion? One must free his heart from all other thoughts and regard himself as standing in the presence of G-d. Therefore, before engaging in prayer, the worshipper should collect himself in order to bring himself into a devotional frame of mind, and then pray quietly and with feeling, not like one who carries a weight and throws it away and goes farther; hence after prayer the worshipper should linger a while, and only then depart. The pious of old tarried an hour before they engaged in prayer and an hour after completing it, likewise remaining in prayer for a whole hour" (Mishneh Torah, Ahabah, Hilchot Tefillah, 6, 15-16)
G-d is near to all who call Him, if they call Him in truth, and turn to Him. He is found by everyone who seeks Him, if he always goes towards Him, and never goes astray.
(Moreh Nevbuchim, 3, 54)