Excerpted from Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller’s Question and Answer series on Naaleh.com
How can I increase my kavana (concentration) in tefila? Can you provide some practical ideas?
Create an image that speaks to you and use it to guide you through prayer. I’ll suggest one but you can use your own.
Close your eyes and picture yourself as a young child, way before you realized that your parents didn’t have much control over events. Imagine your father or mother telling you, “It’ll be ok.” Take that moment of absolute trust and transfer that feeling to Hashem. Only He cares for you in the ultimate sense and only He can give you what you need. Any image that evokes a feeling of faith, love, reliance, and dependence will work. Take it along with you when you start davening.
It’s difficult to move from an outside action-oriented world to an internal world where you have to feel absolute reliance on Hashem. Try to concentrate on the meaning of the words.
When you say Pisukei D’zimra, visualize drawing Hashem’s infinity into your heart. And when you get to Shemone Esrei, think about Hashem’s omnipotence and recognize that it’s only Hashem’s life force and essence that can give you anything at all.