Shlomo Ezagui

The Purpose and Power of Prayer


The couple came in to see the great Tzadik, a holy spiritual person, to ask for a blessing to have children, but he told them he could not grant their request. They promised to donate any money he would demand of them to give this blessing, but the Tzadik stuck unwaveringly by his word.

Both weeping, they came out of the great Rabbi’s room and said, “We do not need the Rabbi. We’ll go straight to God and pray to Him.”

When the Rabbi heard these words, he called them back and granted their wish.

The Rabbi wanted them to feel and know God is the source of blessings, and it is just that a Tzadik can many times help facilitate that blessing that originates from God Almighty.

The book of the Midrash tells us that God desires our prayers, as it is written, “The work of your hands I yearn for.” God enjoys when prayers come from deep down inside of us.

When the Israelites were about to enter the Land of Israel, Moses blessed them. “May God, the God of your forefathers, multiply you a thousand-fold and bless you as he has promised.”
The Israelites approached Moses and complained that he was placing a limit of one thousand-fold to a limitless blessing God had already promised, “Like the stars of the heaven!”

Moses replied, “What I grant you with my blessing is my gift. God, however, will surely grant you in tremendously greater measure.”

Moses had a plan. By clearly offering something that appeared less than what was already promised, he wanted to arouse within the children of Israel the desire to demand that the greater blessing from God, which was already promised, not be eclipsed by this blessing coming from Moses.

Moses wanted the children of Israel to pray and demand what they wanted and needed directly from God.

This answers a general question. If God knows of all our needs in advance, and it is something positive and good that we deserve, why must we pray for it? Why doesn’t God grant it to us on His own?

God created this pattern specifically so that we should receive it only after we have prayed and asked God for it. This is “His desire.” Like everything else God created, this, too, is for our good.

Moses was about to pass away, and as the ultimate leader who cared for every sheep, he intended to bless them “one thousand times” to open their minds and hearts and whet their appetites. In doing so, the Children of Israel remembered the earlier promise God gave their forefathers, pushing them to pray for God’s promise.

The Talmud derives from a verse in Psalms that there are things that stand “at the height of the world,” yet people belittle and demean them. One of the greatest commentators, Rashi, explains that this refers to prayer which “goes up above to God Himself.”

“And you shall serve him with all your heart,” the Talmud says of prayer.

Prayer is a moment in our day spent with God, Creator of the universe. The words of the prayer were designed so that when understood and felt in our hearts, we will soar up to the clouds, and our bodily existences in this physical world become temporarily, or maybe even permanently, elevated.

This experience will refine and spiritually strengthen, transform, and elevate the person to a higher consciousness throughout the day.

The purpose of prayer is not just to come before God and ask. The purpose of prayer is to develop our vessel, mind, and feelings, to be more sensitive and receptive to Godliness all day. When we realize that all is God, and He is the only source of everything, we have become God-conscious, and our lives take on a new, expanded dimension.

Prayer has the power and potential to change the will of God in our favor. Because God commanded us to turn to Him when we feel a need in our lives, through this commandment, God grants us the possibility and opportunity to connect and attach ourselves to the source of everything in this Universe. 

Chapter 153

About the Author
Rabbi Shlomo Ezagui is an author and lecturer. "A Spiritual Soul Book" ( & "Maimonides Advice for the 21st Century" ( In 1987, Rabbi Ezagui opened the first Chabad Center in Palm Beach County, Florida, and the first Orthodox Synagogue on the island of Palm Beach, Florida.
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