When we start to pray, the forces of confusion and darkness gather against us. Layers and layers of thoughts culled from the recesses of our memory are dragged before us in the hopes of distracting us from our prayer. Many times these thoughts follow us from the beginning to the end – distressing us that our mission was a failure.
Rebbe Nachman teaches that no prayer is empty and no prayer fails to reach the Creator, no matter the darkness and confusion surrounding it. We may feel that nothing got through, because we were distracted and struggling with the thoughts and memories of our past, but within the storm raging in our minds, the pure prayer, the yearning to connect still exists.
The main thing is not to give up. One must keep praying despite the war raging within.
These layers of distraction, traumatic thoughts, and confusion are churned up when we draw close to the Almighty. Their purpose is to bring us down and to cause us to give up our quest for a clear connection to the Creator. The only way to battle them and to ultimately win is to ignore and know that your true prayer is within. It may be buried, but it is there, beneath all of the memories, illusions, and traumas that find their way to the surface only at the time of prayer.
Prayer is our weapon against the forces of disconnection and depression. This is why that part of ourselves that does not want to let go works along side of the dark side forces arrayed against us. It does not want to be disregarded like a soiled garment. Yet, this is what we must do. Ignore the illusions and confusions within and move forward to strike out at our enemies with precise prayer.
(Based on Sichot HaRan 72; Likutey Halachot Betziyat Pat Halacha 5.5)