You shall serve Him [through prayer]. (Devarim 6:13)
Prayer is the service of the heart. We are required to praise Hashem, ask Him to fill our needs, and thank Him for His help daily.
Prayer is so basic and fundamental that it stems from the very beginning of our history. Avraham Avinu, our first patriarch, instituted shacharis (the morning prayer). Yitzchak, his son, instituted minchah (the afternoon prayer), and Yaakov, the last patriarch, instituted maariv (the evening prayer) [Rambam, Hilchos Melachim 9:1].
Prayer allows a person to communicate with his Creator, the source of his life and sustenance. When we recite Shemoneh Esrei, the daily prayer which was instituted by the Sages of the Great Assembly over two thousand years ago, we connect to our Creator in an incredible way. In order to appreciate this opportunity to the fullest, we must realize that we are standing before Hashem and praying to Him.
The Rambam includes the obligation to recite one hundred berachos daily in Hilchos Tefillah (7:14). These berachos encompass all those that we recite during the regular prayers, in addition to the berachos that we say throughout the day over food and other matters. Thus, we are always reminded to think of Hashem and His benefits to us.
**The seven mitzvos listed until here apply to both men and women.
Text Copyright © 2006 by Rabbi Moshe Goldberger and Torah.org.