“Whatever our mind has been thinking of before the hour of prayer, is sure to occur to us while we are praying through the activity of the memory. Wherefore what we want to find ourselves like while we are praying, that we ought to prepare ourselves to be before the time for prayer.”
St John Cassian, First Conference of Abbot Isaac
Our mind wanders so much during prayer, doesn’t it? I know mine does. And so what St. John says here holds very true. If we are surrounding ourselves with heavenly things, then when it comes time for prayer, at the least, heavenly things will be in and on our mind. This will snowball -if you will permit my poor analogy- and build upon itself. Holiness begets holiness. As well, sin begets sin.
An Elder said: “If we are children of the Holy Apostles -as the Apostle Paul proclaims and tells us: ‘For in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the Gospel'(1Cor. 4:15) – then we are obligated, as children, to imitate our parents. And just as the Apostles experienced joy when they were beaten and remained unperturbed when they were slandered (since it was said by Gentile and Jew, alike, that they were turning the world upside down with their magic and potions), so should we also feel in similar circumstances. The APostles, in all of these and like things, not only were not grieved but, on the contrary, we taken away with joy. So it is that they said with satisfaction: ‘Being reviled, we bless…being defamed, we entreat’ (1Cor. 4:12-13), and other things. And this was all written that we might also imitate them. Therefore, when we suffer such things and hear bitter words, we should be joyful, as though we have gained a treasure, and share in the trials and tribulations of the Holy Apostles and Matryrs; and we should await yet greater things, showing that we are their true kinsman and gaining even more notably by becoming partakers of the unending glory of the heavens.” ~The Evergetinos, Book two
I simply cannot add to that.