My daughter once asked me why we have to repeat our prayer 30 times. What is the purpose? If we are asking God 30 times to save us, is this reasonable? This is my opinion, that the first part of “ashiki o haroute” is reminding ourselves to sweep away the dusts of greed, arrogance, self-love, regret and covetousness. These dusts are very difficult to remove if we do not concentrate on removing them every day, especially when inconveniences come from our hearts(mune no uchi yori). This is why in verse 14-92, God tells us to firmly or with with resolute determnation pray. God tells us concentrate by repeating this verse “ashiki horoute” ; it helps us focus on our mission to remove these dusts from our minds for our prayers to be effective. The second part of “tasuke tamae” is referring to the saving of others. We are not asking God to save ourselves with our prayer like many believe to be; we as followers already know how to save ourselves by purifying our minds by understanding the heart. The “tasuke tamae is directed to the people that do not understand the heart. God knows how difficulty it is to convince people of our teachings, especially in the western countries where the concept of reincarnation and innen is foreign. This is why God has given us the prayer that will first remind us to purify our minds (chanting 29 times), and 2nd to ask God to help others understand the heart, and what God will do to make this happen.
To me this prayer makes sense in that we have to save ourselves first before we can save others. It is like the analogy of placing the oxygen mask on ourselves before we place it on our children when flying. God has given us this special prayer that will continue to remind us to purify our own minds, while also giving us an opportunity to share our teachings with others. For some, this opportunity to share may come, as we chant the last verse of ashiki o harote tasuke sekikomu ichirestsu sumashite Kanrodai. For others, God’s blessing may take more time because of the difficulty of purifyling one’s mind. This is why we repeat our special prayer 30 times twice a day!