Power of Prayer
The practice of praying at the gravesite of the Tzaddik is an ancient Jewish concept and custom. We see in the Torah that Yaakov buried Rachel on the road outside of Beit Lechem because he saw with prophesy that when the Jews would be exiled to Babylon, they would pass that spot and have the opportunity to pray there, and in the merit of the Matriarch Rachel, Hashem would promise to bring the Jews back from exile.
As part of an ancient custom, Jews from all over the world travel to the gravesite of Rebbe Shimon bar Yochai and the other tzadikim in Tzfat and the Upper Galilee.
The visitors give charity and utter heartfelt prayers on the spot, drawing on the reserve of holiness and power etched in the stone and vested in the earth surrounding the resting place of Reb Shimon and the other tzadikim.
As from the very beginning of the creation of the world – prayer existed, as we can read in the holy Torah: "Then they began to call in the name of G-d" (Genesis 4:26) – Telling us that in the days of Enoch people began to pray to G-d at their times of trouble and ask for all their needs.
Until the days of Enoch they didn't think that praying helps them, because they reckoned that what G-d had decided could not be changed.
Eliezer, on this way to Aram-Naharayim in order to bring a wife for Isaac, turns to Hashem in prayer, that Hashem make his mission a success. We see that Hashem accepted his prayer willfully and that he was immediately answered.
Once he had concluded his mission successfully, Eliezer did not forget to thank Hashem: "Blessed is Hashem the lord of Abraham that did not leave his virtue and truth from my master."
From this we must conclude that one must thank Hashem and bless him after Hashem accepts his prayer.
When Isaac learned that his wife was sterile, he multiplied his prayers, as written: "And Isaac pleaded to Hashem in the face of his wife…" Multiplied prayer and coaxing succeeded to change the verdict. From this we learn that multiplied prayer may change reality that has already been decided upon in heaven.
Also Jacob prays to Hashem: "Save me now from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau", and does not prevent himself from prayer even at the very last moment, and alas his prayer is accepted.
And from this we learn that one should not prevent himself from mercy and prayer even if he thinks that he is facing a dead end.
When Miriam, Moses' sister, became leprous as snow, Moses prayed on her behalf and said: "Oh, Hashem, please heal her now"; Moses prefaced hi prayer with words of mercy, before he asked for what he had requested.
And from this we learn that when one prays and requests something from Hashem, he should begin with words of praise, glory and supplication, and only then should he request what he wishes for, so that his prayer will be accepted more rapidly.
When Hashem wanted to exterminate whose who had worshiped the golden calf – then Moses, the most humble of all men, made a great effort in praying for the sinners; although at according to logic there is no place to pray for sinners, Moses put himself at risk with an extremely strong will and devotion, till the point that he said: "And if not, then erase me, please, from your book which you have written".
And from this we learn of the power of prayer – that we must pray for everyone, even for sinners, as for prayer that is whole hearted is willfully accepted.
WHAT SHOULD WE BE PRAYING FOR?
Every day millions of Jews worldwide open their prayer books (sidurim) to pray Looking beyond ones proficiency in the language, the prayer structure and the outstanding beauty of the prayers themselves, what exactly are people praying for? What should people be praying for?
Of course the answer is different for every person. Some are praying for health, children, shiduchem others for happiness, and still others for livelihood, success, serenity. There is no question that prayer is very personal.