Why are you getting snippy with me? You asked for my advice about prayer and I gave it to you. You cannot expect every tactic to work 100 percent of the time. In addition, I do not enjoy being blamed for your own failures. If you would rather not receive my correspondence, I will delete you from my address list. It’s quite easy to do these days on my tablet computer, which then removes information from all my electronic devices. The fact that I communicate with you in vastly more than 140 characters at a time should speak for itself.
To get back to tactics, the best advice is to prevent your patient from praying, period. But if she can’t be fully stopped, push her to keep her Bible by her bed, so that the only time she thinks about communicating with the Enemy is either when she is very sleepy in the evening or the morning – and laying down in bed. You want to maximize your chances she will doze off mid prayer. The last thing we want is for her to talk to Him while she is fully awake and able to have a lively and thoughtful conversation, therefore on-the-knees prayers are strictly verboten.
Second, push her to pray the Lord’s Prayer that she can recite by memory without thinking and/or recite lists of people who need help. Another tactic that works is to launch her into a daydream mid prayer so that she struggles to stay focused. You might even be able to make her think that the meandering is God-ordained since she is trying to be spiritual. The best is when you can start her thinking about whether she remembered to put the laundry in the dryer or to pay her heating bill by the due date mid-prayer. Not only will you stop the conversation with the Enemy, you will have introduced an element of anxiety into her state of mind that could keep her mind racing about things rather than doing them and interrupt sleep or other important duties during the day. Buddhists have tried very hard to teach people to clear their minds through reciting koans like, “What’s the sound of one hand clapping?” and practicing yoga, but they are equally bad as the church at preventing distractions. It’s much more fashionable to practice yoga than to pray, however, so you might want to suggest that as an alternative spiritual pastime for your patient.
The longer you can keep her from praying, however, the better, as the weight of accumulated sins will make her more anxious to bring them before the Enemy and more likely to feel so ashamed that she does not feel worthy of forgiveness.
Another thing: Don’t let her open up to the Enemy about herself, as that means she is reflecting on whether her actions live up to her beliefs. Our main goal, as I’ve mentioned countless times already, is to block the path of self-knowledge by distracting our patients.
On that note, make sure to prompt her to turn on the radio immediately upon entering the car and the television when she walks in the house. Those devices are extremely useful as blockers to anything but the most surface of thoughts. Prompt her to fill her bookmarks on her computer so that it is easy for her to check out of her work and focus on nonsense. It takes people a long time to refocus after a quick click onto a social networking or news or other extraneous site. Just think how easy it is to waste a whole day with just a few trenchant piques of fancy planted in her brain!
You cannot stop the Enemy from instilling a profound sense of peace in your patient at certain moments of pure outpouring of her soul. Neither can you prevent Him from answering prayers, because, unfortunately (and I hate to admit this) the Enemy is out of our control.
But you can minimize the number of times your patient practices prayer and make her question the authority and majesty of the Enemy. If she does not actually believe that the God to whom she prays can do the things she requests, we have won before the thought passes from her mind. You see, humans, being humans, do not have a full sense of Love (note: devils do not believe in this) and Power. They get glimpses of it in their relationships and in nature, but to the vast majority of people, God is either a loving father figure or a wooden statue hanging on a wall. This dumbing down of God helps us immeasurably as it subtly, often without their knowledge, allows humans to not take the Enemy seriously except in times of great stress. You know the saying, “There are no atheists in foxholes,” but there are plenty of agnostics on the subway on the ride to work.
Besides, most humans reject true vulnerability of their soul before the Enemy just as they rightly do in their human relationships. They know that no one can be trusted except themselves. All you have to do is make sure your patient’s heart stays shut – its natural position.
Your affectionate aunt,