You know who wakes up with energy every single day? You know who wakes up motivated, ambitious and enthusiastic for another day? Can you guess?

There is a force inside of us that is tenacious and consistent. And that force is our yetzer hara, our “evil inclination.” It never sleeps in, and it never gives up. Each and every morning, it starts doing its mental push-ups, threatening to topple us over with its tactics of temptations and self-defeating thoughts. It knows that our goal is to differentiate between holy and unholy, between good and evil. So it tries to twist things up.

There’s only one way to defeat it. We need to match its enthusiasm with a dose of our own by strengthening ourselves spiritually. If the evil inclination steps up its game each morning, we need to give our G‑dly soul a chance to express itself, to counteract these efforts and even refine this animal soul of all bad. And the time to do that is during prayer.

By praying with intention, by arousing within us a yearning and thirst for a true connection to G‑d (see “Experiencing the Desolation of the Desert”), we weaken and reduce the harmful effects of the evil inclination, and instead bring out the Divine energy in our animal soul.

Don’t think it doesn’t protest our strategy. Ever wondered why when you pray, you are suddenly inundated with the randomest of thoughts—thoughts that don’t ever occur to you in the middle of a regular Tuesday? That’s because when you try to think thoughts about G‑d and His greatness, and the evil inclination senses that its negative power will be diminished, it puts up a fuss. It tries to distract you, since that is its job. When you are just living your life and not putting in effort to neutralize this force of negativity, it has no need to distract you.

But if you can remain razor focused, and pray with concentration and effort, then your words and the resulting fire of longing and thirst for G‑d brings G‑d immense pleasure. As it says in Song of Songs (4:3): “Your words (of prayer) are lovely.” The word, umidevaraich has a dual meaning: It can mean “your words” or it can be understood to mean “your desert.” This phrase can also be understood to mean, “your words of prayer—that result from the feeling of being thirsty in a desert—are lovely” and bring much joy to G‑d.

This type of longing and spiritual fervor can only be felt by a soul that is in a body, for while a soul is in heaven, it doesn’t feel far from G‑d and therefore can’t experience an intense longing for Him. The soul on high already has this closeness, so it isn’t missing it.

Only while down here, surrounded by physical pleasures and experiences, can a soul experience such a deep thirst and longing for connection to G‑d. And this is a major advantage and accomplishment! When it says that the soul being born is a descent for the sake of an ascent, this is the type of ascent we are referring to.

So only down here are we faced with a daily internal challenge—only down here can that be a catalyst for great spiritual accomplishment, a thirst for G‑d that cannot even be accomplished in Heaven.

Source: From the Maamar in Likkutei Torah “Vayidaber ... Bamidbar Sinai B’Ohel Moed” as explained in Chassidut Mevueret, Chapter 4.