Long-distance travel can be a pain. Packing, scheduling, trying to sleep in cramped, awkward positions on an airplane … never mind canceled flights or lost luggage. And yet, if you were flying to seal the business deal of the century, you would put up with it. You’d understand that it’s not the flying itself you are after, but the profit. The travels are all secondary.

While there may be a myriad of details we need to attend to each day, the goal behind it all is to make a dira bitachtonim—a dwelling place for G‑d on this earth—and to draw G‑dly light into this world.

How do we ensure that we keep sight of the goal throughout our hectic day? By beginning the day with prayer.

Prayer is the way we get into the right frame of mind to focus on our mission. We connect our hearts and minds to G‑d, meditating on His greatness and our purpose, dedicating ourselves to the goal of making a dirah bitachtonim.

And not only does prayer help you remember your mission, it also helps accomplish it. When you start the day with prayer, you can infuse all that spiritual energy into all the mitzvot that follow.

Prayer Is Like the Spinal Cord

Nerve signals travel through the spinal cord to the body’s individual limbs. That is an apt metaphor for prayer and why the sages compared prayer to the spinal cord. During prayer, you draw down G‑d’s light, and after prayer, you can then infuse that light in a more specific way into each individual mitzvah that you do, just like the nerve signal goes to each individual limb.

Prayer draws down a general light, and each spiritual limb gets its own energy from the general light already drawn down. That’s why we pray first thing in the morning—to ensure that we have the soul of the mitzvot to infuse all of the mitzvot throughout the day.

Drawing Down Holiness

When we do a mitzvah, we bless the One “Who has sanctified us with these commandments.” The act of the mitzvah is like a vessel, drawing down holiness and sanctity, but there needs to be light to draw into that vessel. The goal of a mitzvah is to draw down G‑dly light into this world, but it needs spiritual energy to fill that vessel.

Where does the energy come from? From prayer.

The blessing before the mitzvah includes baruch atah. Baruch means “to bless” but also means to “draw down.” We are tapping into the general light, drawn down through prayer, and infusing it into the individual mitzvah.

This explains why the obligation to pray is not clearly spelled out in the Torah, since it is the soul of them all. It is no coincidence that prayer is called “service” because praying is a fundamental part of serving G‑d and creating a dwelling place for Him in this world. And that is no secondary matter.

Soul Note: Prayer is our morning infusion that helps us focus on our “profit” and filling our mitzvot with light.

Source: The Maamar, lo hibit avon biyakov, in Likkutei Torah, as explained in Chassidut Mevueret, Chapter 3.