The shabbat candle lighting prayer, or hadlakat nerot shabat, is a ritual that does not exist for itself, but for us. The ancient words of this prayer were curated to manifest a physical and spiritual experience just for us; one where our bodies take rest so that our souls can be refilled with family, love and G-d's light.
The Shabbat candle is like a soul. Just as the flame depends on the physical candle, the soul depends on the body to express its potential in this world.The flame gives light, which is in essence intangible, like the soul. And just as a flame is reaches for G-d, so does the soul.
Our sages believe that, through this ritual, we turn a warm centerpiece for our home into a symbolic reminder to keep and remember Shabbat. In lighting the candles, we are offered a physical reminder to slow down, to see each other differently, ourselves and the world differently, with the light of Shabbat reflecting in our eyes.