This article by Rabbi Berel Wein reminds us that that our father Yaakov prepared for his encounter with Eisav by adopting three possible strategies and not relying on prayer alone.
There is a common adage that God helps those that help themselves. To accomplish things in life, both spiritually and materially, effort and planning, devotion and industry must be expended.
Relying on prayer alone without the expenditure of one’s own talents and resources is a way of getting away cheaply in the matter.
How does Jewish thought look at the prayer which is uttered without “ expenditure of one’s own talents and resources”?
Is it considered a wasted prayer and the names of Hashem if used are uttered in vain?
Or because, after all, the person addressed his prayers to the only One who could help him, is it still a valid prayer – only not the best?