The underlying factor in every korbon is that it is Re’ach Ni’choach. This means that we bring great satisfaction to Hashem by listening to His command. Actually, we are not giving Hashem anything at all. The animal is being burnt. One must also realize that even a million animals are totally meaningless since Hashem can create all He wants. What importance can my one animal have?
Therefore, it’s really the idea that counts. That’s why by a poor man’s korbon mincha it also says reach nichoach. This is to show that even though he brings the cheapest type of korbon, Hashem equally accepts it. In fact, it may even be more treasured than the rich man’s korbon. That is because it’s a far greater strain on the poor man. The little bit of flour represents all he possesses. Therefore, Hashem considerers it as if he had offered his very life. For this reason, by the poor person the posuk uses the word nefesh – soul. It’s not the bit of flour that has the real meaning, but rather it’s the thought behind it that counts most.
That’s why we find that a korbon can easily be ruined by a bad thought. After all, what use is the animal itself if the person’s thoughts are not good. In fact, it’s the thought that counts most!
One can compare it to a person bringing a present to a king. The king is so wealthy that this person’s small present is meaningless to him. Yet the king is happy to receive it because it shows his subject’s appreciation for what he is doing for them. So it’s not the value of the present that counts, but rather the person’s thought when bringing it to the king which is most important.
As we all know, the davening we do today comes to replace the korbonos that we used to bring. Therefore, it’s very important that we daven with all our soul. We must have the proper understanding of what we are saying. We must daven with all our heart. Hashem looks at our thoughts when we daven. If you’re davening Shmone Esrei but thinking about a baseball game, then Hashem sees your baseball game. Words alone, without the proper thoughts, make a very poor davening. Our hearts must be filled with fear and love for Hashem in order for our tefillos to be accepted.
Tefillah is called a service of the heart. If the heart is missing then it’s like an electronic machine that’s left unplugged or is missing its batteries. It may have all its parts, but it’s completely useless. It can accomplish absolutely nothing.
Let’s therefore try our very best to give our davening everything we’ve got. Forget that there’s a world around you. Put everything aside and concentrate your entire heart to our Father in Heaven.