AWE AND DEVOTION. 19. Materialism, immorality and gluttony distort and corrupt the fear in a person’s heart. The remedy is to honor the Three Festivals and celebrate them in the proper way. This causes the fear that is latent in the heart to become manifest, and through it one can attain the experience of prophecy. This is the avenue to true prayer and healing (Likutey Moharan II, 1:1).
20.When a person falls into materialism, immorality and greed, God sits and cries out like a lion (ibid.).
21. A person’s devotions, his mitzvot and good deeds are his “children.” This is especially so of the tzaddikim. Before a woman gives birth she has to undergo contractions and birth pangs, and she cries and screams. It is literally the same when you serve God. When you want to carry out a particular devotion or return to God in truth, it inevitably takes a tremendous effort. You have to cry out and groan, bending and jerking in all directions. The hardest thing of all is the start. All beginnings are difficult. This is when you need to cry out and groan the most. Even after the start, things do not necessarily come easily, and it takes a lot of effort before you achieve something worthwhile. But don’t be discouraged by what you have to endure. According to the effort, so is the reward (ibid. II, 4:5).