When you sit to pray make sure you are sitting there! Make sure you are actually present. "Be sober" means to not be delusional, to not be asleep or intoxicated. Full intoxication is not an issue with me. The danger is the partial intoxication(s). they come from many sources but I trying to narrow it down to the issues that pertain to prayer.
- Faith in the wrong thing, or in a thing, full stop. Instead of a Person, The Person.
- Focus, or lack thereof.
- Patience, or lack thereof
- Hospitality, especially to myself by inviting myself to the prayer time
Wrong faith: in this case what do I trust? Do I trust my feelings – and so I respond to them with such priority? Do I trust my thoughts, and follow them around in many many circles? Do I trust my nervous system and spent a long time worrying about pain or discomfort? Do I trust my memories? Do I trust my knowledge of the "right" way of doing things? And so on?
I spend most of my time dealing with issues of faith in everything but God and Jesus Christ.
Wrong focus: I tend to focus on what I trust, and ignore what is untrustworthy. This is natural and probably healthy. If a caveman knows for a fact that a rustling in the bush is a saber-tooth tiger and take appropriate evasive action, they more likely survived and eventually these survivors begat me!
On the opposite end, if I am certain that these sounds in the back pew of the church are NOT ghostly presences, I do not get nervous and simply ignore them as "wood creaking" noises.
So I focus on what I trust, and I trust that which I have high (blind?) faith in.
Wrong patience: it amazes me how patient I am with my favorite sins. As my friend once told me, "The only sins you keep are those you enjoy." The word "enjoy" here is used in the slightly ironic sense of unhealthy enjoyment. I obviously try to curb my avarice, gluttony. I blush at my lust. I haughtily ignore my pride. I am saddened by my sadness. I fight my anger. I am certain I couldn’t care less about my acedia, since I am constantly sharing with others how far along I am in the path of self-discovery – and now am far above vainglory.
Wrong hospitality: instead of welcoming in the Holy Spirit and Jesus into my prayer, I spend a lot of time inviting tax collectors and sinners. I wish I could say I invited these characters of my own soul for the sake of their edification and healing. the ugly truth is that I invite them because I enjoy they taudry gaudiness. I enjoy their songs of lust and leisure more than I enjoy the psalter. So I throw a party and invite the murderer, the adulterer, the thief. hardly ever do I invite the Holy Spirit.
What is the solution?