Michelle Francl-Donnay on getting ready to pray:
In his “Spiritual Exercises,” St. Ignatius of Loyola recommends that we come to the threshold of prayer — literally, stop a few steps before the place where you will pray — and pause for a moment: “before all contemplations and meditations, there ought always to be made the preparatory prayer.” This suggested preparation of Ignatius sets a boundary and provides an orientation.
Before prayer, Ignatius directs, ask for God’s grace that your every intention and action be directed purely to the service and praise of His Divine Majesty. Know who you have come to meet in prayer; don’t drift in, blithely insensible of conditions. Know that this time of prayer depends not on you, but on God.
This preparation to pray, which so directly acknowledges our relationship to God, orients not only the time of prayer, but trains us up to be oriented to God in the same way in all our daily work.