The Rebbe told his followers that it is beneficial to declare before davenning: “I hereby bind myself to all the tzaddikim of the generation.”
(Likkutei Moharan I, 2:6, 9:4; Sichos ha-Ran 296. Similarly, in many Chassidic circles such declarations or kavannos have not been uncommon. For example, see Rabbi Meshullam Feivish of Zabarazh, Yosher Divrei Emes II, 33; Rabbi Yechiel Michel of Zlotchov, Toras ha-Maggid mi-Zlotchov, Tefillah 3, p. 320; Rabbi Menachem Nochum of Chernobyl, Me’or Einayim, Beshalach [end], in the name of the Baal Shem Tov; ibid. Yismach Lev, Berakhos 2 [end]; Rabbi Pinchas of Koretz, Imrei Pinchas [Bnei Brak 2003], Sha’ar Parshiyos u-Moadim, Elul, 424; Rabbi Chaim of Chernowitz, Be’er Mayim Chaim, Vayetzei (s.v. vayachalom); Rabbi Chanokh Henikh of Alesk, Lev Same’ach, Hakdamas ha-Mechaber le-Derekh ha-Tefillah; Rabbi Aryeh Leib Tzintz, Kometz ha-Minchah, Vayikra; Rabbi Yerachmiel Yisrael Yitzchak of Alexander, Yismach Yisrael, Be-ha’alosekha; Rabbi Yaakov Yitzchak of Lendov, Emes le-Ya’akov, Bereishis; Rabbi Shaul Brakh of Kashau, Giv’as Shaul, Va-eschanan; Rabbi Eliezer Zusia Portugal of Skulen, Kedushas Eliezer, Tzava’ah 4, Minhagim Tovim; et al.)
The Rebbe explained that this is because the tzaddikim elevate the prayers of the entire Jewish people, conveying each prayer to its proper heavenly gate.
(Likkutei Moharan I, 9:3)
It has become customary for Breslover Chassidim to recite the following verbal formula before each prayer service (as well as before performing any mitzvah or religious practice, such as immersing in a mikveh, studying Torah, lighting the Chanukah Menorah, etc.):
Hebrew: Hareini mekasher ‘atzmi le-khol ha-tzaddikim amitiyim she-be-doreinu, u-lekhol ha-tzaddikim amitiyim shochnei afar, kedoshim asher ba-aretz hemah, u-be-frat Rabbenu ha-Kadosh, ha-Nachal Novea Mekor Chokhmah, Rebbe Nachman ben Feige—zekhusam yagen ‘aleinu ve-’al kol Yisrael, amen.
English: I hereby bind myself to all of the true tzaddikim of our generation, and to all true tzaddikim who rest in the dust, “holy ones who are interred in the earth” (Psalms 16:3), and in particular our holy master, the “flowing brook, source of wisdom” (Proverbs 18:4), Rabbi Nachman ben Feige—may their merits shield us, amen.
(Oral tradition, although this nusach has been published in numerous Breslover texts over the years. The reference to those who “rest in the dust” is based on Likkutei Moharan 65:5.)
The Rebbe also instructed us to follow the hanhagah of the ARI zal by stating prior to davenning: “Hareini mekabel ‘alai mitzvas ‘asei shel ve-ahavta le-re’akha kamokha—Behold, I accept upon myself the positive commandment to ‘love your fellow Jew as yourself.’ ” Thus, one becomes united with all of Klal Yisrael. He also explained: “Through love and peace, it is possible to speak words of prayer. This is because speech is essentially bound up with peace, as it is written, ‘I shall speak of peace…’ (Psalms 122:8).”
(Likkutei Moharan I, 239; cf. Pri Eitz Chaim, Sha’ar ‘Olam ha-’Asiyah 1:3:2; Sha’ar ha-Kavannos, ‘Inyan Birkhas ha-Shachar, beginning. Re. the essential unity of all Jewish souls, see for example, Rabbi Moshe Cordovero, Tomer Devorah, chap. 1, s.v. “le-she’aris nachalaso,” and earlier sources. This is also one of the foundations of the derekh ha-Baal Shem Tov, as discussed in Toldos Ya’akov Yosef, Kedoshim, et al. The Rebbe discusses this in Likkutei Moharan I, 260, et al.)
It is proper to make this declaration prior to each of the three daily prayer services.
(Heard from Rabbi Elazar Mordechai Kenig)