On checking yourself for benefits too much during prayer

It is best, therefore, to let the psychological conscience alone when we are at prayer. The less we tinker with it the better. The reason why so many religious people believe they cannot meditate is that they think meditation consists in having religious emotions, thoughts, or affections of which one is, oneself, acutely aware. As soon as they start to meditate, they begin to look into the psychological conscience to find out if they are experiencing anything worthwhile. They find little or nothing. They either strain themselves to produce some interior experience, or else they give up in disgust.

-Thomas Merton, No Man is an Island, Ch.3 Sec.6

I remember doing exactly this when I was in college. I would get up at some ungodly hour meet with the hard-core prayer warriors at the church several days a week. After pushing through this for about a month, I gave up in disgust. In hindsight now, my motives were whack from the start. It would have been better to stay in bed.