Free to Pray
Good prayer has three ingredients; time, place and person.
Time – there is a time for certain prayers and there is a time to not pray certain prayers. For example, when the Jewish People stood at the sea, they were instructed not to pray but to move forward. Or, would it make sense to pray for rain in the summer season?
Place – the environment should be conducive to prayer. Clean, holy, and prayer is often times more powerful in locations that have a more direct channel eg; The Western Wall, the resting places of the righteous or the synagogue.
Person – being clean and presentable (be as you would before an important dignitary, king or official) and being in the correct mindset and focused.
These are indicated from the opening of this weeks Torah portion. The verse states “with this Aaron shall enter into the Holy”. It then proceeds to define the clothing he must be wearing (place), the sacrifice he is bringing (person) and the time of the sacrifice in discussion is Yom Kippur (time).
This is all true regarding formal prayer. To talk to G-d from your heart for the purpose of connecting, well, for that any time, any place and however you show up is good. After all which parent wouldn’t want to hear from their child when they come as they are?!