Here are 5 points I want to remember (a "devil" wrote these, so read them in reverse).
- Keep him from seriously intending to pray at all, and if that fails, subtly misdirect his focus to himself or an object rather than a Person. I am brilliant at this; my prayers constantly turn into reflections on myself.
- Make good use of your patient’s series of troughs and peaks (i.e., “the law of undulation”), and beware that the Enemy relies on the troughs more than the peaks. I was just thinking yesterday how easy it is to think that my current emotional state is a true guide to reality.
- Don’t allow him to experience real pleasures because they are a touchstone of reality. This is why I go for walks, jog, laugh with a friend, enjoy God's good world...they puncture moods of anxiety and discouragement like nothing else.
- Make him live in the future rather than the present. I have a PhD in living in the future (and the past); I just prayed this morning that God will help me to hand this term over to him, and take it "one day at a time" in the grace and strength he provides.
- Convince him to use the pronoun “my” in the fully possessive sense of ownership (e.g., “my time,” “my boots,” “my wife,” and “my God”). Got home yesterday, walked in the door thinking, "Finally I can sit down and have some time to myself", when the phone rang and I had to pick up a sick child from school. The result? Grumpiness and self-pity. Better to trust God to give me what is truly best!