One time my kids outsmarted me. I had them in the van, and we pulled into a parking lot where a ferris wheel and other rides had been set up. But I had no time to take kids on merry-go-rounds on a hot summer day. I had work to do.
And then I heard from the back seat:
“Oh, thank you Daddy! You’re the best daddy in the whole world! You brought us for a surprise! Yay Daddy!”
Five minutes later, I was frying on the hot pavement, at the foot of a ferris wheel, waving to my kids.
It was then that I understood a teaching of the Rebbe:
Before we make any request, we praise the Master of the Universe.
We praise Him for the beauty of the world He has made.
We praise Him for rescuing the widow, the orphan and the oppressed.
We praise Him for the simple things, the lowly things, the everyday things that go unnoticed.
In that way, we are bringing Him into our world, and our prayers have an effect in this world.