I read an interesting paragraph in an Annie Dillard book.
I admire those eighteenth century Hasids who
understood the risk of prayer. Rabbi Uri of Strelisk took sorrowful leave of
his household every morning because he was setting off to his prayers. He told
his family how to dispose of his manuscripts if praying should kill him. A
ritual slaughterer, similarly, every morning bade goodbye to his wife and
children and wept as if he would never see them again. His friend asked him
why. Because, he answered, when I begin I call out to the Lord. Then I pray,
“Have mercy on us.” Who knows what the Lord’s power will do to me in
the moment after I have invoked it and before I beg for mercy?
Annie. The Writing Life. New York: Harper Perennial, 1990, p. 8, 9.