Pay your mortgage. Make a buck. Scale your business.

No matter your industry, generating an income entails work. The question is: Can all that hard work be compatible with deep spirituality? With prayer and meditation? With a connection to the Divine?

The answer will stun you. Not only is prayer compatible with your business model, it is enhanced by it.

King Solomon said it way back when he wrote: “Many waters cannot extinguish our love (of G‑d), and floods do not wash it away” (Song of Songs 8:7). One would think that a flood of deadlines, pressures and stress could completely wash away our ability to feel connected to G‑d, or that being immersed in economic competition could override the soul’s desire to be close to G‑d.

But souls don’t work that way. A soul yearns to connect to G‑d, and the floods of creating a livelihood do not overpower it. The hard work of covering our bills doesn’t extinguish the love but actually fans it, creating a fire even hotter than when the soul was in heaven basking in the rays of G‑d’s light.

How does that happen? Here’s what it looks like:

You feel overwhelmed, in over your head with responsibility, so distant from G‑d. And that very feeling of being so far from G‑d can give birth to a burning passionate desire to be closer.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder. Just like being separated from a spouse leads to a yearning and desire that regular, day-to-day interactions don’t provide, you can be lovesick for G‑d when you feel you have a total lack of connection. Moreover, this love of G‑d that you reveal in your heart while struggling to feel connected during a regular business day is much greater than when there is no darkness or spiritual challenges.

But there’s a caveat: It doesn’t happen by itself. It takes sitting down in the morning as you are about to enter a hectic and challenging day, and contemplating during prayer.

Here’s what you need to think about:

You’re surrounded by a spiritual desert where the only thing that matters in life is making a dollar. When you think about how your life is so devoid of values and holiness, and how far you are from G‑d, it makes you desire G‑d so strongly! In other words, the very darkness becomes a catalyst for so much light!

And what type of relationship do you desire?

There are those friends or neighbors that you nod a token good morning to—you may know their habits and what car they drive, and their preferences and tastes. But do you know them? An acquaintance is someone you know on a superficial level, and it cannot be compared with the intimacy of knowing someone for real. Their essence. Their personality, their dreams, who they really are.

So what type of relationship do you desire with G‑d? You don’t want to relate to G‑d only on an external level. Oh, He knows how to create a world … that is a superficial “knowing” of G‑d.

Prayer is realizing that knowing that G‑d creates the world is like knowing which car your neighbor drives. It is a true fact, but it doesn’t describe His essence. Prayer is recognizing that you want to know G‑d Himself! To have an intimate relationship with Him. To learn about Him and know Him in a real way. It’s recognizing that the sun itself is a greater light than just a ray of light, and you want the sun itself.

Though you might be involved in the nitty-gritty of your business all day, the distance you experience makes you desire not just a superficial expression of G‑d but a connection with His essence, the deepest part of G‑d. Unlike in Heaven, where souls are satisfied with a ray of light, you hunger for the entirety of the sun, the real deal.

You begin to desire and love G‑d with a quality that is even greater than the love that the soul had when it hung out in the Garden of Eden and was satisfied with G‑d’s rays of light. Your prayer has brought you to a level where it’s not just about not wanting to be trapped by physicality. Your soul is now a blazing fire of love; it desires the real thing, a connection with G‑d’s essence!

The darkness itself is thus the cause of this great desire. It is called teshuvah, “returning.” Your soul returns to what it really wants, a connection with G‑d Himself.

This is why it says: “One hour of teshuvah (returning) and ma’asim tovim (good deeds) is greater than olam haba (heaven).”

Ironically, only down here in this world can you feel so far that you produce a love that feels so close.

So before you go out into the big world to make some money, pray and meditate until you create this explosive love.

For this, my friend, is the business deal of the century.

Source: Torah Ohr, Mayim Rabim, as explained in Chassidut Mevueret, Chapters 1-4.