Why do we begin every Shemone Esray prayer with Avot?

The Avot prayer is a microcosm of Jewish history. It begins with Abraham and concludes with the promised redemption. This formula underscores that the mutual relationship between God and Man is rooted in the history of the Jewish people. Far from a deity that is cold and detached from the nitty gritty dirtiness of life here on Earth, Jewish belief sees a God present in our history. Through the good times and the bad times, through the tests and tribulations of our ancestors God is as still present now as He was then. And it’s from the recognition of His presence that we can get on with the business of prayer.