St. Seraphim of Sarov Orthodox Church
872 N. 29th St. Boise, ID
an American parish of the Russian Orthodox Church
On Prayer - Elder Paisius (Olaru) of Sihla

From a talk Fr. Paisios had with a nun asking for spiritual advice.

Any prayer is a gift from God. And we, the weakest, have prayer of the lips. For the time being, we fulfill this, my dear. The well is deep, but the rope is short and bucket is small. In the morning read the Akathist to the Mother of God and in the evening read her Paraklesis, the Creed – unfailingly, at least once a day – and Psalm 50, two to three times a day. Of course, this rule is voluntary. “Our Father” – without number. “Lord Jesus” (i.e. the Jesus Prayer: Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.) – without number. Prostrations – without number. Each one does what he can, just as a bee does not take all the Nectar from a flower. But it’s very good if you do a little rule. I know this myself: if I get up and do a little of my rule, it seems as if I’m a different man all day long. But if you get up in the morning and you whirl around the house – because you have this and that to do – then your whole day goes poorly.  So, do a little of your rule every day, like the righteous Job, who offered sacrifice every day for his children in case they had sinned in their thoughts (Job 1:5).

Every day you should do as many prostrations to the Mother of God as you can – at least twelve prostrations – and at each prostration say this, like an old woman: “Mother of God, do not leave me … do not leave me, Sweet Mother of God.” Do not forget the Mother of God, my dear, do not forget her, because our dear Mother is so very good. So, my dear, don’t abandon prayer. Do one more prostration, read one more psalm, say another “Lord Jesus”. You must do a little bit of a rule, because a dirty shirt is not washed only with water – you must also have soap and something stronger to clean it. And if you say the Jesus prayer one hundred times, at least ten times out of the hundred it will be said with real meaning. When you talk with someone, you don’t speak without your mind. It should be even more so when you speak with God!