Knowledge is Power -- G-dly Knowledge is SUPER Power.
Abraham traveled south after the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were punished by G-d.The King of Gerar, Avimelech, summoned Sarah to his Palace. Because Abraham identified Sarah as his sister, Avimelech saw nothing wrong in taking her for himself.
At Sarah’s request, G-d made it impossible for anyone in the Kings palace to violate her. In addition, G-d came to Avimelech in a dream and told him Sarah was a married woman. G-d assured Avimelech, Abraham would know prophetically his wife was not violated and would pray for him and his household that their health is returned to them.
Avimelech made amends by gifting Abraham and Sarah with much cattle and valuables, and Abraham prayed for Avimelech and his household to be cured.
Immediately after this story in the Bible, G-ds book of wisdom and instruction tells us Sarah was remembered by G-d and miraculously conceived.
The commentator Rashi tells us, that from the order of Sarah conceiving, after the prayers of Abraham for Avimelech, we are taught, “whoever pleads for mercy for someone, and can use that exact need themselves, they get answered first.”
Now, we know Abraham and Sarah were already promised by G-d to miraculously in their old age beget children and parent a great nation. All this, even without the story and experience between Sarah and Avimelech.
How did the story and encounter with Avimelech accomplish anything more, than what was already promised and assured by G-d Himself ???
The very simple answer is the following. The promise to Abraham by G-d was already a number of years old, and had still not been fulfilled. It was only after Abraham prayed for Avimelech the Torah makes a point to immediately tell us Sarah conceived.
Therefore it becomes pretty obvious the lesson the Bible (G-d) is teaching us: Even if there is a promise from G-d Himself, it is still helpful and necessary for prayer to bring about the results sooner rather than later.
The act of praying and opening up ones heart to connect with the source of all that is, and that can be, accelerates the fulfillment of those needs.
Prayer for the sake of someone else, is so powerful, that G-ds promise did not materialize until Abraham prayed for Avimelech, and it was only then, that his own need was immediately granted.
Prayer, is a commandment in the Bible. As Maimonides writes, “the obligation of this commandment is that a person prays and requests his wants from G-d, when he feels the need.”
When a person needs something himself, and he is also aware that this same need is lacking and desired by his friend, he could rightfully quote Jewish law that says, “your own life always takes precedence”, and perhaps, the proper thing would be to focus first on one’s own needs.
The above mentioned story is teaching a fundamental aspect in the principle in love for another, that he/she is concerned and praying for someone else even when he/she himself needs the same matter, and finds the time and energy for the other even before and at the expense of their own needs!!
When the other person is so important to him to the point where he is more concerned for the other than even his own self, the overabundance of good energy that is generated as a result of this act, gives him/her first and foremost the benefits of this extraordinary kindness of charity and he/she is answered first.
The mechanics of this is such that it doesn’t even matter, even if the only reason he is praying and concerned for the other is because he knows how valuable this is in the eyes of G-d, and all his energy towards the other is really only so that he gets the benefits of this prayer for himself first.
There is no question, that doing this effort for the altruistic reason of truly being there for another remains the purest form and the most valuable.