Pesukei D’Zimrah: Psalm 30: Working at Prayer
“Rabbi Huna taught: “I have regarded iniquity by my tent, the Lord would not hear.” In this verse, David meant that whenever he considered doing a good deed, even though he had not been able to do it, The Holy One Blessed be He credited him as if he had done it.” You can see for yourself that this is true. David but considered starting the building of the Sanctuary and though he was unable to build it, its dedication was written in his name. For it is written, “A psalm – a song for the dedication of the House of David.” (Midrash Tehillim:30)
Why do you say this at the beginning of the Tefillah? – Because hopefully with the beginning of davening, one has the energy and the thoughts that ‘today I will have kavanah.” The commentaries say that this is all you need. Based on this Midrash, all you need to say is, “Today I’m going to do it right.” Even if you don’t finish it alright, it’s OK. This psalm reminds us that God looks at what our intentions are, and allows those intentions to work for us, even if they don’t pan out later.
Is there a way to make our Tefillah even stronger? The Midrash continues: “Hence, whenever a person suffers for a cause, it is called by his name. We find that this was true for Moses. He suffered grief for the Law as it is written: ‘He was there with the Lord for forty days and forty nights. He did neither drink bread or drink water…’ and the Law came to be called by his name, as it is written, ‘Remember the Law of Moses…’ It was also true of David. He suffered grief for the Sanctuary having sat forsaken in the dust of the earth, as it is written, ‘Surely I will knock him into the tent of my house, I will not give sleep to my eyes till I find the place of the Lord…’ The Sanctuary was called by his name, as it is written, ‘A psalm – a song for the dedication of the House of David.’
In other words, there is a simple way to make the prayer yours – to work for it, to suffer a little for it. The more work you put into it, that davening is yours whether it succeeds, or not. That is the theme of this psalm.