One of the first things you learn in AA about how to stay sober is about ego deflation at depth. And the steps of AA are intended to help with this. I believe that ego deflation is needed for success in any behavioral change as well as spiritual progress.
Ego deflation is such a quandary. An ego cannot fix itself. Therefore, some other part of my consciousness has to desire and practice ego deflation in such a way as to achieve the detachment. The higher self is not yet my consciousness. So I have to find a standpoint which realizes it is not the ego and which realizes it wants to identify with the higher self.
Assuming there is a higher self. Is there a higher self? Is my belief in the higher self just programming from new age books? Well, not just new age. The destruction of the small self was also part of Benedictine monastic teachings. The higher self comes forth in Buddhist teachings. It is all over the place.
I don't really know my higher self except for the workings of intuition.
If I go to a teacher or guru, I end up with their teachings AND my ego.
I think prayer towards the higher self opens the door to receiving the needed outside help; as in circumstances arrive in which the ego becomes deflated and other points of view become possible.