We have now arrived at the following premises: Prayer is the service of the heart, the worship of G‑d involving the totality of man. It is the ladder by means of which man steps out of befuddling worldliness, and ascends toward the spiritual reality to become joined to the Divine.

The essence of prayer is bitul hayesh, self-negation, loss of selfhood, divesting oneself of physical and material bonds, thus to acknowledge and submit to an all- encompassing consciousness of the Divine. Even while seeking the fulfillment of specific, immediate goals, the involvement with prayer has a long-term, reflexive effect upon man: purifying and elevating man and everything associated with him.

As for the immediate goal, the specific need and request, all prayer is basically the formula of Yehi Ratzon Milfanecha, petitioning for a state of Divine grace and mercy, the effect of which is the fulfillment of man's suitable wishes. As man ascends on the ladder of tefilah, the Divine blessings descend correspondingly.

In short, this means that prayer prompts and motivates man. It moves him from one place to another - a higher - one. In turn, man's prayer also `moves' and elicits the Divine grace and blessings.

It is now possible to deal directly with our original problem, the basic problem of prayer: what is the meaning of the request Yehi ratzon, which seems to imply that G‑d should change and have a different will? How could there be a change in G‑d of whom it is said, "I G‑d, I have not changed" (Malachi 3:6)!

In other words: "how can prayer avail to change G‑d's will to decree good for someone after it had not so been decreed? Surely G‑d does not change from 'willing' to `not-willing', or from 'not-willing' to 'willing'!"