Like any other mitzvah, prayer is regulated by numerous restrictions, and a person cannot hope to experience fulfillment of his supplications unless he follows the rules, exactly as they have been formulated. In the words of Harav Chaim Kanievsky, shlita, “It is an absolute obligation to be proficient in the laws of prayer, since a person who approaches the King and does not know how to behave, will certainly be expelled by the King.
There is probably no activity more deeply and naturally ingrained in the human soul than prayer. In the words of Dovid Hamelech, “And [as for me,] I am prayer” (Tehillim 109:4). Although man serves Hashem in many ways, the most fundamental form of service to Hashem is tefillah, in which a person can pour out his heart and express his complete dependence upon his Creator. Throughout the generations, the Jewish nation has relied upon prayer as the sole means of survival in times of distress and oppression. Today more than ever, as Jews the world over are living like sheep surrounded by seventy hungry wolves, the nation must turn to its only source of salvation, our Father in Heaven As precious as the gift of prayer is, it is surprising and tragic that so many people are ignorant or negligent about the observation of its laws.
The primary intent of the book is to guide the reader through the maze of laws and customs that abound in the area of prayer, hence the title GUIDELINES. Although the present volume contains much of the most basic information, it is far from complete, and it is our hope to continue the subject in a second volume, with the help of Hashem. This will deal with topics such as krias hatorah, prayer on Shabbos and Yom Tov, kiddush levanah, bedtime shema, prayer in the house of a mourner, visitors to and from Eretz Yisroel, and laws for a traveler.