The Sefer Hachinuch, in discussing the mitzvah of tefillah (431), writes that Hashem wants to bestow goodness upon us, and so He provides a means whereby we can obtain all forms of goodness, and that is prayer. He describes prayer as follows:
“They should ask Him, blessed is He, Who has the capacity and ability, for all their needs, for He will answer from the heavens to all who call out to Him with sincerity.”
There is so much good waiting for us, but Hashem wants us to ask for it, in order to develop a relationship with Him. The source for this concept is in Beresheet, where the Torah relates that even after the vegetation was created Hashem did not immediately allow it to grow, because “there was as yet no human being to cultivate the earth.” Rashi explains this to mean that Hashem waited for the creation of Adam, who would recognize the need for vegetation and pray for it. Rav Yerucham Levovitz (Daat Torah, Vol. 2) commented in light of Rashi’s explanation that there is an abundance of blessing at the edge of the heavens waiting for us, but Hashem created a system whereby prayer is required to bring forth that blessing.
This answers the question that many people ask as to the purpose of prayer if everything has already been decreed on Rosh Hashanah. Just as we obviously cannot sit around at home all day waiting for Hashem to miraculously send us a check, and we must instead do our hishtadlut (personal effort) to earn a living, similarly, we must pray for our blessings to arrive. Prayer is also part of our hishtadlut, because it is part of the system through which the world operates. In fact, prayer is the primary hishtadlut. Our livelihood derives mainly from our recitation of bareich aleinu, and only secondarily from our input. Our health derives primarily from our recitation of refa’einu, and only secondarily from our medical treatments. Hashem is our Provider and Healer, but He created the world in such a way that we must ask Him for His blessings. If we do not pray with the proper kavanah (intent), we deprive ourselves of all the goodness that is waiting for us.
We read in Parashat Shemot (6:12) that when Hashem first appeared to Moshe and assigned him the task of leading Bnei Israel out of Egypt, Moshe initially refused. One of the reasons he gave for his refusal is that he suffered from a speech impediment, which compromised his ability to
effectively confront Pharaoh. Hashem replied that he should nevertheless approach Pharaoh, and his brother Aharon, will serve as his spokesman. The Ramban (Shemot 4:10) raises the question of why Hashem did not simply cure Moshe’s impediment, rather than have Aharon speak in Moshe’s place. The answer, the Ramban explains, is that Moshe did not ask to be cured. The Ramban suggests a reason why Moshe did not ask, but what is significant for our purposes is the fact that Hashem was prepared to provide the cure, but He withheld it because the request was not made. Asking is necessary and required to bring down the berachah.
Let us utilize this wonderful gift of prayer, and constantly ask Hashem for anything and everything we need and want, so He can bestow upon us all the many berachot waiting for us.