Did you ever get up in the middle of the night to fetch something? You know your house inside out, each nook and cranny, and yet if the light is not on, you can trip on a chair that is out of place, or someone’s forgotten slipper, or even an errant LEGO piece. Ouch! I can feel you wince as you read this.

Because despite your knowledge of the layout of your house, if the light is off, you canIf the light is off you can tumble stumble.

It’s like that with our knowledge of G‑d. We may have knowledge of G‑d’s existence, a general theoretical awareness of it, but if the light is not on, we can stumble. We can forget His existence and His desires, and make choices inconsistent with His plan for us.

We need to turn on the light on a daily basis. And we do that by consciously thinking about G‑d. When is the opportune time for this? During prayer.

In fact, the point of prayer is to put us in a space where we can contemplate that G‑d is the Creator of the whole world. Not only that there is one G‑d, but that there is nothing else but G‑d.

Wait a minute. Once G‑d created the world, isn’t there now another existence? Like, G‑d and the world? When an artist creates a painting, there is now a new created item in the world.

But G‑d’s creation isn’t like man’s creations. His creations don’t have a separate existence from Him because He is constantly recreating and sustaining those very creations. It’s like implying that when I see my reflection in the mirror, there are now two mes. Or suggesting that a ray of light from the sun exists separately, or that this light has an impact and affects the sun. The sun is the same sun whether you see a ray of its light or not.

The entire universe is created, so to speak, from a ray of light emanating from G‑d’s light. While the world is dependent on G‑d for its existence, that very existence does not change G‑d in any way, or “add” a separate reality to Him. There is no duality! There is only G‑d and what He creates is part of His essential existence.

It’s a recognition. A lightbulb moment. Nothing really exists; independently, that is. Our entire existence is dependent on G‑d, which means G‑d is the only true Being.

The thing is, we have to actually spend time thinking about it. Contemplating it. Turning it back and forth inside our brains, and comprehending in the moment that every living thing is only breathing and existing due to G‑d's constant recreation of it.

Prayer is designed to help us realize this.This whole world, and everything in it, is not here randomly Over and over again. We sing G‑d’s praises and describe His wonders in detail, and consciously become aware that this whole world, and everything in it, is not here randomly. It could not exist without G‑d and is only here because of Him. And that is literally the goal of prayer. To turn on the light in our minds and imprint upon us in no uncertain terms that there is only one G‑d, and there is nothing else besides for Him.

And here comes the secret to loving G‑d: In direct proportion to how much we meditate on the above concept of G‑d’s unity, will be the resulting feeling of love of G‑d as expressed in the Shema prayer. Because the way to love G‑d is by thinking about Him.

That is why we say “Shema Yisrael Hashem Elokeinu Hashem echad, “Hear, O Israel: G‑d is our L‑rd, G‑d is one.” By thinking about echad—G‑d’s total and ultimate oneness and unity, then v’ahavta—we will come to develop a real love.

The secret is out.

Source: Inspired by Likutei Torah, Tachat Asher Lo Avadita, Chapters 2-3 (as explained in Chassidut Mevueret, Avodat HaTefillah).