My teacher is giving us girls a royal hassle over the way we do the silent standing prayer—the Amidah. She screams at us, "How could you be staring all over the place, fidgeting and passing notes when standing before the King of kings of kings and making your requests?"
Okay, nothing wrong with that logic, but none of us have ever stood in front of a king, never mind a king of kings of kings. All I see is a wall, or the backside of the girl in front of me. How do I work with this?
I love this sort of question. I can so much relate. Kings have been out of style since we guillotined then a few hundred years ago. So, for myself, I had to come up with another set of imagery. And here it is:
Imagine you are in the middle of an intense dramatic scene, like rain pouring outside, a sick person shivering in bed under a thin blanket, a voice screaming, howling, persistent banging on the door, shaking the entire building, glass shattering...
..and then you yell, "Cut!"
The lights go up, the cameras are off, you turn to the director's chair and say, "I don't like the way this scene is going. How about we try…"
Next step: Imagine this was a big name director. Someone who had directed the stars and won a few Emmies doing it. And nevertheless, he wants to hear from his actors, and he often rewrites the script according to their suggestions.
So now perhaps you'll talk a little different. After all, you're more than a little bit in awe of him. You feel really privileged that he's listening to what you have to say. So you carefully balance every word you say and how you say it.
Now what if the director was also the producer–the guy who hires and fires? You're even more careful, right?
And now, really let go of your imagination and visualize that this is a 3D animation. You're just an animated character, and this director could change anything or make anything happen. Now you're getting to the real idea of what we mean when we call G‑d a king: A power so awesome, His creative decisions determine whether you exist, how you exist and the past, present of future of your existence. Yet, through some magical technology, this particular animated character can talk to her animator and make suggestions.
Sounds wild, right? Yet that's exactly what we do in prayer. We cut out of the drama, take three steps and address the Director. The Infinite and Omnipotent Mastermind Director-Producer-Animator of the entire universe (which is what's meant by calling Him a king, right?). And He listens to our suggestions, very carefully. What an opportunity! And we do it three times a day!
Try it out. Let me know how it goes.