Rebbe Nachman told his followers to concentrate on the simple meanings of the words of their prayers.  He was speaking about praying from a siddur or saying Tehillim, Psalms, or other text-based prayers.

He didn’t want people to worry about complex and mystical kavanot; he said just saying the words simply and honestly, is the way most of us should be davening. (It’s actually not as easy as it sounds.)

Try it yourself. When you say your prayers today or tomorrow, try and concentrate on every word in one paragraph of prayer, or even one sentence of prayer. Try to connect with the simple meaning of the word from your heart.

Rebbe Nachman said it is good to feel excitement about what we’re saying.  It’s good to be enthusiastic, and we should listen to the words of our prayers as we say them.

Once I was davening very early in the morning in Uman.  For the first time in a long time, I felt able to connect with every word of the davening in the Shemoneh Esrei.  I felt  on fire.  It was so heartening.

Then, when I came home, I struggled to connect again as much as I had in Uman.  But I kept reminding myself of Rebbe Nachman’s advice:  Go slow. Keep pulling your thoughts back around to focus on each word.  Word after word after word.

When this happens, Hashem will help you feel the special spiritual light that is in the words of the prayers you are saying.  You will be able to gain new faith and strength in your belief and your connection to Hashem.

May you have a day where you have faith in the words of your prayers, and are able to say them from the heart.

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Chaya Rivka Zwolinski

Chaya Rivka in her own words: What do we want? To feel less pain and more optimism. To be happy and lead meaningful lives. This all requires healthy relationships. If we learn, share, and live his teachings, Rebbe Nachman gives us real, practical tools to improve all our relationships—with G-d, with ourselves, and with each other. Chaya Rivka Zwolinski “discovered” Rebbe Nachman in her late thirties and credits his profound wisdom with helping her make a 180 degree-turn in life. She loves sharing Breslov teachings with women in her classes and workshops. Chaya Rivka has written books; writes articles for,,, and numerous other publications; is a consultant to Breslov Research Institute; and is the director of curriculum and program marketing at She lives with her family in Brooklyn, NY.

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