Petitional prayer, the parts of prayer when we ask for things, plays a central role in Judaism. Of the 19 blessings in the Amidah, the centerpiece of the Jewish prayer, 13 of them are requests.
The question on the minds of many people who pray is: Does it work? It is, after all, hard to see direct results from the requests made in prayer. This reality results in people not praying or not taking prayer seriously.